There are a lot of fresh tracks to be made up and down the winter white river corridor upon entering the new year. The fish are on the bite, the Midge hatch is growing daily, few anglers are on the water, and low pressure systems keep rolling through south central Idaho. The reports have been great from anglers taking advantage of the quietude on the Wood the past few weeks. With fish coming to the surface in the afternoon and taking a variety of nymphs sub surface.
While we begin 2007, the Midge hatches begin to increase in intensity. The variable, can be the extreme cold that we will experience in the next two months. Once we have established a pattern of warmer days, great dry fly fishing can be counted on. (by warm we mean in the 30 to 40 degree range for 3 or 4 days in a row.) Click on the current weather link on our website to check out the forecast. Check back frequently in coming weeks to find those prime days. This is not to say though, that you shouldnâ€™t go fishing on the days when you â€œcanâ€ go. Every day of winter fishing is a good day. Even on the most bitterly cold days fish will eat your flies. So fish whenever you can, just dress for the conditions.
Low pressure in this valley in the winter is great for fishing. It normally means the temperatures are warmer, hovering around the freezing mark and the clouds are sitting in thick. The Midge hatches are excellent, and the fish are brave in the low light about coming to the surface to eat insects from slow currents and eddies. Some of the winters best fishing can come in the midst of major winter snow storms. This condition can also make for some of the most memorable days of fishing.
Keep in mind the strength of the midge hatches are not always dictated by high or low pressure systems, but the hatches and the fish, do react to the pressure changes. This could mean the actual atmospheric pressure, or simply the difference between bright / cold skies, and cloudy / warmer skies. What is relatively indicative of this area though, is that the fishing is always excellent the day after a major change. This was in the report last winter, but a refresher cannot hurt. When we have days of clouds or sun, it is the second day of the new weather pattern that shouldnâ€™t be missed.
With fish sitting in large schools and eager to eat most winter days, the hardest part of fishing here in the winter time, may be finding a place to park. Many access points become buried in the snow, limiting anglers to the safer areas generally off of the highway. Then, there can be the trudge through a hundred yards of snow, just to reach the river. If this sounds terrible, keep this in mind â€“ If you are willing to work a little harder, spend a little more time, pack a few extra items like food, water and clothes, it is possible to find water that sees very few anglers between November and June. That is seven months for fish to sit healthy and happy and a time when they can be easy to hook up.
Our favorite flies for winter remain the same. Brassies and Zebra Midges in a variety of colors work great. Chamois Flies, Zug Bugs, Price Nymphs, and Black Backed Hares Ears are also great choices. â€œShow â€˜em something differentâ€ â€“ flies – are also a good way to go. On the occasional slow day when one needs to fish streamer patterns; Philo Beto, Black or Olive Buggers, Black or Olive Matukas, and small Zonker type streamers will work well to entice the rivers biggest fish. When the rivers Midge population comes to life and dry fly fishing is the game; Griffiths Gnats, Harropâ€™s Emerging Midge, and most emerging midge patterns will work great. Remember to fish them on 5X and 6X tippets and use a lot of dry shake type floatant. For a full winter primer remember to check out “Tips and Tactics” on our website.
Have fun, keep warm and dry and be safe out there!