March in Sun Valley means spring snow in the mountains and in the valleys, great fly fishing.
Ah, March! This is truly one of my favorite times to fish. If you have been hibernating, now would be a good time to come out of your winter cave and go fly fishing. The rainbows this time of year begin to feed ravenously as they up their calorie intake in preparation for spawning. By design, this uptick in feeding activity on our local waters coincides with the peak of the Winter Midge activity. Like an August Trico spinner fall, you can find pods of fish feeding with abandon on Winter Midge. All signs are pointing to a great month of fishing. We have been getting regular snow storms, mixed with rain in the lower elevations and the extended forecast is calling for more of the same. These warmer storms have helped boost the river flows a bit and have provided perfect cloud cover with day time highs in the mid 40s. Perfect midge conditions.
The Big Wood
This a magical time on the Wood. There is great access on the river from Stanton Crossing all the way up to Lake Creek right now. It is still best to be on the water from about midday till 3 PM, but with the longer days the fishing is good earlier and later. Still, once the sun starts to drop behind the ridge, the fishing slows down considerably. Be careful along the edges on certain stretches of the river; the ice build up on the banks is still there and getting rotten. Nothing a good pair of studded wading boots and a wading staff can’t conquer. For flies and techniques, plan on encountering plenty of midges and carry a variety of midge patterns in sizes 16 to 24. Some of my favorites include the Trailing Shuck Midge, Griffiths Gnats, Parachute Adams, beaded Zebra Midge, non-beaded Brassies. When the surface action is on, try a double dry set up with an easy to see dry fly, trailed by a smaller midge imitation. Once the fish seem to wise up, try switching the small fly in this tandem rig to the non beaded brassie, which will ride just below the surface film. The right tippet can also make a huge difference. I like Trouthunter tippet in size 6 or 6.5 X. If you can’t find any surface activity try a dry dropper rig with a beaded zebra midge, Rainbow Warrior, or a Bishop’s Dynamite. Going deep in the right bucket with a double rig and an indicator or Euro Nymphing might be worth a try. I like Rubber Leg Stones, large beaded Prince or Pheasant Tail nymphs in sizes 8-14 followed by a smaller fly.
The Creek is now closed until May 24th, the Saturday before Memorial Day Weekend. The “earthwork” phase of the restoration project is complete in both the Purdy’s and Nature Conservancy portions of Kilpatrick’s Pond and the pond will be full by opening day. You can keep up with the Silver Creek Restoration Project by visiting the savesilvercreek.org web site, the Savesilvercreek Facebook page, as well as our blog.
Lower Big Lost River
At just over 80 CFS you can really get a sense of how many fish are in this river. Keep in mind, the rainbow trout in the Lost seem to start their spawn earlier than the other rivers in the area, so if you go don’t be surprised to see fish staged in the shallows. The mild, wet weather has made for some great hatch activity of both Baetis and Midge. The fish in the shallows can be down right tough to fool, and once you spook one, you start a domino effect. I like to focus my attention around the deeper buckets. Whether the fish are on top or feeding just below the surface, it is always a visual feast for anglers who like to sight fish. For flies, I recommend small Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamites, Zebra Midge, or a small Pheasant Tail in size 16-20 fished below a small indicator or high visibility dry. For double nymph rigs fished in the deeper runs use San Juan Worms, Large Stone Flies, or Prince nymphs trailed by a small nymph. For dries have a good supply of small midge and Baetis and use Trouthunter 6.5X to deceive these tailwater trout.
South Fork of the Boise
The recent rain has intermittently muddied the water last month and more rain is in the forecast. After last fall’s fires, this area has become extremely sensitive to rain. So if you go, always go with 4WD, chains, and supplies to survive winter conditions in case you get trapped by a mudslide. As for the fishing, the dry fly action should get better with the potential for both Baetis and midge. If you don’t see any surface activity, Euro nymphing will produce in the shallow riffles and along the seams. If you want to catch a river monster, try swinging a streamer and see if any big Bull Trout are on the prowl.
Not much new to report in this department; however, the action should pick up as the days get longer and we get into March and April. There is no time like the present to get ready, so come on in and let us help you get set up. We have a complete selection of steelhead flies and Scandi and Skagit style lines.
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“If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.” – Zane Grey