Fishing Forecast 2/07 – 2/21

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Big wood river fly fishin

“Fly fishing surely gives meaning to my life,
but not nearly so much as life gives meaning to fly fishing.”
~Peter Kaminsky

It is February. The sun hangs in the sky a bit higher and longer; the alternating thaw and freeze is turning the snow to corn. There is a spring like awakening occurring within the river, the trout, and the angler. While winter seems to be retreating, it may be back any day. So, follow your instinct…go to the river and get meaning back into your life.

SILVER CREEK
Less than a month left to take advantage of this wonderful fishery for the season. While the Conservancy portion of the Creek remains closed until opening day the end of May of 2018, the river from Highway 20 bridge down through the Willows and the Point of Rocks will remain open until the end of February. Your best action will come on nymphs and streamers during the warmest part of the day. For nymphs, try a beaded or non-beaded pheasant tail, a Zebra Midge, or a WD40 in size 20 or 22.

Silver Creek Flies: Wooley Buggers | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive 16,18 | Pheasant Tails 16,18 | WD40

THE BIG WOOD
You want to ski and fish in the same day? Then the Wood is for you. Catch the 9 AM chair and then trade your skis or board and boots for waders and rod. With the longer days, the afternoon fishing is best until the sun leaves the water. Technique wise, be prepared to fish with deep nymphs, dry droppers, or just straight dry. When fishing deep, try a double rig with something ugly like a rubber leg stone followed by a smaller nymph like a Zebra Midge. When fishing shallow riffles and slow seams to fish that are actively feeding, use a high-vis parachute pattern with a size 18 Bishop’s Dynamite, Rainbow Warrior, or Zebra Midge trailing at the appropriate depth. If you like go head hunting, be sure to have light tippet in 6 or 6.5x and some Trailing Shuck Midge or Griffith’s Gnats in size 18, 20, and 22. Remember, with the warmer temps of late, the river access is good up and down the valley so spread out and have fun.

THE LOST BELOW MACKAY
The flows are slowly dropping. Currently they are at 180 CFS. In the afternoon, decent numbers of midge are hatching along with smattering of BWO. For flies, bring a good assortment of Zebra Midge, Brassies, and other attractor nymphs like Rainbow Warriors or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 to 22 and fish dry dropper style through the shallows and slow buckets. Euro nymphing the deeper runs and drops can also be effective. Trail Creek Pass is closed for the season, so you will need to go through Carey and over to Arco to get to Mackay…now that the days are longer, it is worth the trip.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
No changes here…The South Fork continues to hold steady at 302 CFS. As always, be prepared for dicey road conditions with a 4×4 and a set of chain, but at the moment the roads are good. As for the fishing expect your typical winter fare of midge and a few BWO. As the days get longer, this fishing is starting to really get good. Remember, this river, along with the Wood, closes the end of March.

Big Wood/Big Lost/South Fork Flies: Midge Adults 20 and 22 | Rubber Legged Golden Stones | Prince Nymphs | King Prince | Beaded Flashback Pheasant Tails 18 and 16 | Bishop’s Dynamite 18 and 16 | Rainbow Warrior | Iron Lotus 18 and 16 | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive 16,18

Big Lost

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Wood

Silver Creek

183 cfs

302 cfs

201 cfs

176 cfs

Fishing Forecast 1/24 – 2/07

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Forecast 1/24 - 2/7

 

“The stream keeps me from getting lost, and anytime I feel like being a fisherman again,
the trout are there, sages themselves, the wise roshi that caught me
by the way and taught me to love wildness.”
~Christopher Camuto

For those who have been hibernating, it is time to let February awaken the angler within. A wet weather pattern will continue to bring a series of storms to the Wood River Valley and there is nothing finer than snow falling and trout rising. So dust off your rod, replace your old leader, and patch your leaky waders; the best late winter, early spring fishing begins now.

SILVER CREEK
The Conservancy portion of the Creek remains closed until opening day the end of May of 2018; however, from the Highway 20 bridge down through the Willows and the Point of Rocks the fishing will remain open until the end of February. Your best action will come on nymphs and streamers during the warmest part of the day. For nymphs, try a beaded or non-beaded pheasant tail, a Zebra Midge, or a WD40 in size 20 or 22.

Silver Creek Flies: Wooley Buggers | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive 16,18 | Pheasant Tails 16,18 | WD40

THE BIG WOOD
The Winter Midge continue to gain momentum, and should get stronger as we head into February. This time of year, the trout begin to feed voraciously as they fatten up for the spring spawn. Look for classic winter holding water during the afternoon hours and you are sure to find fish feeding on all stages of Winter Midge. Your fly selection can be very simple this time of year. For dries, have a selection of trailing shuck midge, Griffiths Gnats, and high vis parachute midge patterns in size 18- 24. For nymphs, try Rubber Leg Stones, King Prince Nymphs, Zebra Midge, Bishop’s Dynamite, Egan’s Frenchy, the Red Dart, or the Iron Lotus. If no surface activity can be found, be prepared to fish dry dropper, Euro style, or with an indicator.

THE LOST BELOW MACKAY
The flows are holding steady at 200 CFS and should remain at this level into March. During the warmest part of the day, good numbers of midge are hatching along with some BWO. For flies, bring a good assortment of Zebra Midge, Brassies, and other attractor nymphs like Rainbow Warriors or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 to 22 and fish dry dropper style through the shallows and slow buckets. Euro nymphing the deeper runs can also be effective. Remember, Trail Creek Pass in closed for the season, so anglers heading to the Lost will need to go through Carey and over to Arco to get to Mackay.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The South Fork continues to hold steady at 306 CFS. The road in and out can be tricky this time of year. The canyon rim has received a rain snow mix all week.  Be prepared for slick conditions, and always go with a 4×4 and a set of chains. As for the fishing, the window is short down in the canyon, but you can expect your typical winter fare of midge and a smattering of BWO. As the days get longer in February and March this fishery really gets good.

Big Wood/Big Lost/South Fork Flies: Midge Adults 20 and 22 | Rubber Legged Golden Stones | Prince Nymphs | King Prince | Beaded Flashback Pheasant Tails 18 and 16 | Bishop’s Dynamite 18 and 16 | Rainbow Warrior | Iron Lotus 18 and 16 | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive 16,18

Big Lost

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Wood

Silver Creek

204 cfs

302 cfs

150 cfs

146 cfs

Fishing Forecast 1/10 – 1/24

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“A warm January, a cold May.”
— Welsh Proverb

To date, January has been warm, and what May will yield has yet to be seen. While proverbs portend general truths based on common experience, the weather has been everything but common of late. Another proverbial truth: the only certainty in forecasts is that they are uncertain. With the Big Wood drainage sitting at 67% of average, rest assured that there is a lot of winter yet to come before we can prognosticate about water flows in May. And at the moment, the fishing is fantastic. With the holiday season behind us, solitude on the river is easy to find.

SILVER CREEK
The Conservancy portion of the Creek is closed until opening day the end of May of 2018; however, from the Highway 20 bridge down through the Willows and the Point of Rocks the fishing will remain open until the end of February. Your best action will come on nymphs and streamers during the warmest part of the day. For nymphs, try a beaded or non-beaded pheasant tail, a Zebra Midge, or a WD40 in size 20 or 22.

THE BIG WOOD
One positive outcome of the recent flood is that it has provided excellent habitat for midge larvae and other insects on all the newly downed trees deposited throughout the river. In the winter, midges make up a majority of a trout’s diet and already there are decent numbers of adult midge clustering on the surface. This is a phenomenon typically only seen in late February and March. This bodes well for what is to come as the days get longer and the rainbow population begins to feed with abandon in preparation of the spring spawn. In the meanwhile, be sure to take plenty of midge dries in addition to the usual subsurface midge patterns for winter angling. For dries, have a selection of trailing shuck midges, Griffiths Gnats, and high-vis parachute midge patterns in size 18-24. Also be prepared to fish dry dropper or Euro style. For nymphs, try Rubber Leg Stones, King Prince Nymphs, Zebra Midge, Bishop’s Dynamite, Egan’s Frenchy, the Red Dart, or the Iron Lotus.

THE LOST BELOW MACKAY
Trail Creek Pass is closed for the season, so anglers heading to the Lost will need to go through Carey and over to Arco to get to Mackay. The flows on the Lost continue to come down and are now holding at 200 CFS. This is a good flow for wading and if you are looking for a full day of fishing on a fantastic tailwater this is the place. Nymphing the slow buckets and tailouts will be the most productive with small Zebra Midge and Beatis patterns.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The South Fork is holding steady at 306 CFS. Look for a short window of dry fly activity once the sun hits the water. Have a good selection of midge and Baetis patterns in size 20 to 24 and fish long, light leaders down to 6 or 7X. Nymphing remains most productive with Red San Juan Worms, Rubber Leg Stones, Caddis Larva as well as small Zebra Midge and Baetis Nymphs. As always, be prepared for winter travel; a vehicle with four wheel drive, studded snow tires, and chains is advisable.

Big Lost

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Wood

Silver Creek

204 cfs

305 cfs

219 cfs

149 cfs

Fishing Forecast 12/27 – 1/1

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“Resolve to perform what you ought;
perform without fail what you resolve.”
— Benjamin Franklin

Make a resolution you can keep this new year. Resolve yourself to spend more time fly fishing with family, friends, or on your own. There is no better way to make memories for a lifetime. Start this resolution off by coming down to the shop on the first of the year and renewing you fishing license.

SILVER CREEK
The Conservancy portion of the Creek is closed until opening day the end of May of 2018; however, from the Highway 20 bridge down through the Willows and the Point of Rocks the fishing will remain open until the end of February. Be careful, as ice has formed along the edges of the Creek making access tricky. Your best action will come on nymphs and streamers during the warmest part of the day. For nymphs, try a beaded or non-beaded pheasant tail, a Zebra Midge, or a WD40 in size 20 or 22.

THE BIG WOOD
The Wood is perfect right now. There has been a bit of new snow on the Valley floor, but access remains good. Remember, winter trout don’t hold in fast water, so concentrate on the slow, deep water at the tail end of runs or in the slow seams and you will find fish. Also, focus your attention on the river below the Warm Springs confluence and during the warmest part of the day for the best success. Keep in mind, it is mostly a nymphing game, but you may find some surface activity; we are still about a month away from the good winter midge activity. Nevertheless, you can really streamline your flies and keep it simple. Dry dropper rigs or double nymphs with an indicator will let you cover all depths of water. For flies, try beaded red, black, or green Zebra Midge in size 14-20, Rainbow Warriors, or Bishop’s Dynamites in size 16 and 18. Larger nymphs will also work; try Rubber Leg Stones in size 12, Beaded Pheasant Tails in size 14, or Prince Nymphs in size 12 or 14. One final note: winter trout need to be played and released as quickly as possible. The best thing you can do is learn how to use a Ketchum Release tool. This has the added benefit of allowing you to keep your hands dry and warm, which is essential to winter fishing success.

THE LOST BELOW MACKAY
Trail Creek Pass in closed for the season, so anglers heading to the Lost will need to go through Carey and over to Arco to get to Mackay. The flows on the Lost have finally come down and are holding at 250 CFS. This is a decent flow for wading and if you are looking for a full day of fishing on a fantastic tailwater this is a good place to go. Nymphing the slow buckets and tailouts will be the most productive with small Zebra Midge and Beatis patterns.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
Flows are holding steady at 306 CFS. Look for a short window of dry fly activity once the sun hits the water. Have a good selection of midge and Baetis patterns in size 20 to 24 and fish long, light leaders down to 6 or 7X. Nymphing remains most productive with Red San Juan Worms, Rubber Leg Stones, Caddis Larva as well as small Zebra Midge and Baetis Nymphs. As always, be prepared for winter travel travel; a vehicle with four wheel drive, studded snow tires, and chains is advisable.

Big Lost

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Wood

Silver Creek

247 cfs

309 cfs

172 cfs

143 cfs

Fishing Forecast 12/13 – 12/27

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“I really can’t stay (Baby it’s cold outside),
I’ve got to go away (Baby it’s cold outside)”
— Frank Loesser

Sitting by a fire or sliding down a slope are fine traditional winter activities. But, when it is cold outside, it is time to go fly fishing. Here are some tips for winter fishing success: The key to comfort on the river is dressing in layers. Under your waders, using two or even three layers to protect your legs from the cold water is wise. The same applies to top layers; this way you can remove or add as internal and external temperatures change. Your extremities are the first to get cold. For your feet, oversize your wading boots by a size to allow wiggle room for your toes with an extra sock for insulation. And carry pocket warmers for your hands as gloves can become cumbersome while handling line and fish. For flies, keep it simple; a trout’s winter diet is whittled down to just a few types of bugs. Look for winter fish to be concentrated in slow deep water conserving energy, and if you find one, there are bound to be more. And finally, if you want to maximize your time on the water, hire a guide.

SILVER CREEK
The Conservancy portion of the Creek is closed until opening day the end of May of 2018; however, from the Highway 20 bridge down through the Willows and the Point of Rocks the fishing will remain open until the end of February. Be careful, as ice has formed along the edges of the Creek making access tricky. But, if you focus on the warmest time of day, the late afternoon, the lower Creek will see some modest Midge activity on the surface. However, your best action will come on nymphs and streamers. For nymphs, try a beaded or non-beaded pheasant tail, a Zebra Midge, or a WD40 in size 20 or 22.

THE BIG WOOD
The best winter fishing on the Wood is close to town and down from the Warm Springs confluence. This makes getting in a morning of skiing and an afternoon of fishing a breeze. The best days, of course, are during a storm with snow flakes falling; hopefully there will be plenty of these days to come. The key to winter fishing success is finding fresh water. Since there is very little snow on the valley floor, access is good. Still, for safety purposes while walking the river, use Vibram-soled wading boots with studs rather than felt soles to avoid frozen slush from building up underfoot and carry a wading staff to catch yourself when you slip on the ice along the river. As for the fishing, the best window is from noon until the sun leaves the water. While you may find the occasional surface feeder, nymphing is the most productive this time of year. Try beaded red, black, or green Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warriors, or Bishop’s Dynamites in size 16 and 18. Larger nymphs will also work. Try Rubber Leg Stones in size 12, Beaded Pheasant Tails in size 14, or Prince Nymphs in size 12 or 14. Remember to focus your efforts where the fish live during the winter, on really slow water and the seams next to the deep moving water.

THE LOST BELOW MACKAY
Trail Creek Pass is closed for the season, so anglers heading to the Lost will need to go through Carey and over to Arco to get to Mackay. The flows on the Lost are holding at 400 CFS. It is best to stay on the Wood right now with the flows this high; however, check the current conditions on the USGS website in case they drop again.

SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
Not much has changed on the South Fork; flows are holding steady at 306 CFS. There can be a short window of decent dry fly activity, so have a good selection of midge and Baetis patterns in size 20 to 24 and fish long, light leaders down to 6 or 7X. There nymphing also remains productive with Red San Juan Worms, Rubber Leg Stones, Caddis Larva as well as small Zebra Midge and Baetis Nymphs. If you go, be prepared for winter travel. A vehicle with four-wheel drive, studded snow tires, and chains is advisable.

Big Lost

South Fork of the Boise

The Big Wood

Silver Creek

394 cfs

302 cfs

210 cfs

156 cfs