The fly fishing equivalent of March Madness has begun…Midge Madness. The Spring Midge are hatching with consistency due to the recent warming trend and the trout are in a full court press intercepting these bugs in every stage. And with the Wood and the South Fork closing at the end of the month, this means it is time to get off the bench and into the game. It is also time to consider booking a trip over Galena to search for steelhead. These fantastic fish will be completing their 900 mile journey over the next several weeks and the weather and water conditions should be perfect. So if you are thinking about spending spring break in the Valley, be sure to take a shot at one of the fantastic fishing opportunities March has to offer before (only one more b-ball reference I promise) the final buzzer.
Big Wood River
The last day to fish the Wood is Sunday, March 31st. But instead of counting the days, make them count by booking a guide or extending your lunch break from work and take advantage of the fantastic opportunities the Wood has to offer this time of year. The fish and the midge usually get active by midday the peak activity is from 2 to 3 in the afternoon, so there is no hurry to hit the water early. This is still your best option if you want to ski the morning and fish all afternoon, and then Facebook or Tweet your friends and brag about it. If you go, cover the likely water with a dry dropper rig or a straight nymph set up. Remember the water is still cold and the fish are concentrated in the slower water and side seams. Plan on fishing nymphs like the a zebra midge, Rainbow Warrior, or Bishops’ Dynamite in size 18 or 20 off a hi vis dry. Or try a double nymph rig tied off a suspending indicator with flies like a tungsten beaded prince or rubber leg stone with a small midge trailing behind. When you find some feeders, be prepared to switch to a more stealthy approach with a long leader down to 6x and some trailing shuck midge and some non-beaded brassies fished in the top 3 to 6 inches of the water.
The Big Lost
This is definitely worth the four hours of windshield time (from Ketchum and back) if you want to make a full day commitment to fishing. The hatches on the Lost this time of year are a combination of midge and Baetis and on the right day they can be spectacular. You will need a good selection of midge in sizes 18-22 and Baetis in size 16-18 both dry and wet. Some fish are all ready spawning in the shallow riffles so please wade with caution and leave them alone.
I have been hearing some favorable reports about fly fishermen getting into some fish around Clayton. We have a full selection of steelhead flies stocked and ready to go so come by the shop and we will give you the latest report.
South Fork of the Boise
This river also closes on the last day of March. You will find midge and a smattering of Baetis during the warmest part of the day and some nice heads scattered about feeding. This river is beautiful this time of year and worth the trip. Take your traditional tailwaters midge and Baetis patterns if you go head hunting or nymph the riffles with stone flies and beaded midge patterns. A streamer might produce a bull trout as well.
Many men go fishing their entire lives without knowing it is not fish they are after.~ Henry David Thoreau
photo by Bryan Huskey