“There is a right time to ask for a raise, to propose marriage,
to go cross-country skiing, and there is a right time to fish.”
~ Peter Kaminsky
Good news…the snow water equivalent for the Wood River Basin went form 67% in January to 87% in March and there is more precipitation in the extended forecast. This bodes well for our rivers! While it is too early to predict the exact time our rivers will come into prime this summer, one thing is certain, now is the right time to fish. The Wood, the Lower Lost, and the South Fork fish well this time of year as the rainbows seem predisposed to feed with abandon in anticipation of the spring spawn. And soon, steelhead will grace the Upper Salmon. Put aside your obligations and treat yourself to fly fishing in March.
THE BIG WOOD
This can be one of the better dry fly months on the Wood, with the possibility for incredible midge activity. Of course, much depends on the weather this time of year, but if you hit the right conditions, it can be spectacular. And as always, if the dry fly fishing is off, the nymphing is always good. If you do find rising fish in the afternoon be sure to have a good selection of trailing shuck midge or a Griffith’s Gnat from size18 to 22 and use light tippet in 6 or 6.5X. These fish can get selective, especially in those areas where they get some pressure. When fishing deep, I like to use a double rig with something ugly like a Rubber Leg Stone or a large Prince Nymph followed by a smaller nymph like a Zebra midge, Bishop’s Dynamite, or Rainbow Warrior. A simple rig with a high-vis dry and a trailing small nymph is very effective as well when fishing seams and shallow riffles.
THE LOST BELOW MACKAY
Flows are perfect at 124 CFS. This river can be delightful in March as the increased daylight triggers amazing afternoon hatches of both the Midge and Baetis. When nymphing, try small Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamites and Zebra Midge in size 16-20 and a small indicator or high visibility dry. For deeper runs, a double nymph rig with a larger fly like a San Juan Worm, Golden Stone, or Prince nymph trailed by a small nymph is effective. For dries, have a good supply of small midge and Baetis in size 2 to 18. Keep in mind these fish tend to spawn early, so please be aware of where you walk.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The snow levels have been low lately which can make the canyon road rather treacherous. If you go, bring your 4X4 and chains to avoid getting stuck. It is no secret, March can be some of the best fishing of the year on this tailwater fishery. Plan on nymphing the seams and tail-outs, with the chance of finding surface feeders once the sun has warms the water enough to get the midge and Baetis active. If you are having trouble finding trout, the whitefish should keep you entertained.
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.
It won’t be long before steelhead will begin to arrive in the Upper Salmon, so come on in and let us help you get ready. We have a complete selection of steelhead flies as well as Scandi and Skagit style lines.
The Creek is closed for the season. Opening day is May 26th.
South Fork of the Boise
The Big Wood