“It is the constant–or inconstant–change, the infinite variety in fly-fishing that binds us fast. It is impossible to grow weary of a sport that is never the same on any two days of the year. ” –Theodore Gordan
The Winter Midge activity keeps gaining momentum and surface feeding trout can be found throughout all our rivers. And with each passing day, the sun hangs in the sky just a little longer. This time of year, no two days are the same because each day is better than the last.
Mild weather has opened up the entire river North and South with the best fishing between Ketchum and Hailey. The Wood is famous for its Winter Midge hatch and now is the time to take advantage of it. The midge range in size from a 22 to a size 16. When the hatch really gets going in the early afternoon, the fish tend to key on the emergers just below the surface or hatching midge stuck in the surface film. To match this hatch, have a good assortment of midge patterns spanning every stage of this prolific insects life: trailing shuck midge, Griffiths Gnats, and high vis parachute midge patterns in size 18- 24. Early in the day when no surface activity can be found, 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 BIG LOST BELOW MACKAY
With the longer days, an excursion to the Lost for some outstanding spring fishing is a must. The prolific midday midge hatch is interspersed with a decent BWO emergence. The fish are feeding aggressively in preparation for spawning. In fact, with the unusually warm weather, a few redds have already been spotted. For flies, bring a good assortment of midge and Baetis dries and nymphs. Dry dropper rigs with a trailing Zebra Midge, Brassies, and other attractor nymphs like Rainbow Warriors or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 to 22 will catch fish all day.
THE SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
Cool nights and warm days make for great fishing conditions down in the canyon. Expect a mixed bag of midge and Baetis, with more of the latter on cloudy days. With a keen eye, you can find fish on top and target them. Of course, if action is what you seek, fishing a dry dropper rig or Euro style in the seams and the dancing water will produced plenty of white fish and some fine trout. For dries, standard Baetis and adult midge patterns work well. For nymphs, try small Baetis nymph patterns (18-20), Zebra Midge (18-22), Caddis Larva (12-14), Stone Fly patterns (10-12), or San Juan Worms.
There is only a couple weeks left to enjoy the Creek. The BLM stretch will remain open until the end of February and, of course, the Nature Conservancy to HWY 21 is already closed and will reopen the end of May. As for fishing strategies, during the most pleasant time of day, walk the bank and search for fish sipping midges. Also, the deeper buckets and cut banks are a good place to drift a suspended nymph or swing a streamer.
WATER FLOWS – JANUARY 7TH
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise