“There is a certain something in angling that tends to produce a serenity of the mind.”- Washington Irving
Life seems to accelerate during the holidays. It is easy to be overwhelmed while balancing work, travel, shopping, and cheer. I have a remedy: notch out a chunk of time, grab some warm fly fishing garb, hire a guide, and head to the river. Time slows down while on the water allowing space to find that certain something that may be lost during the holiday rush. Serenity awaits.
The Nature Conservancy portion of Silver Creek to the Highway 21 bridge is closed; however, the BLM stretch of the Creek will remain open until the end of February.
Fishing this stretch is best done with streamers and nymphs fished dead drift or on a swing. On mild days, you may even find a few fish rising to midge adults and emergers. For flies, try size 24-16 Pheasant Tails nymphs, olive and red Zebra Midge, or black and olive leech patterns.
Parking access along the Wood is still good, as most of the snow of late has been above 6,000 feet. And as a general rule, the best opportunities for fishing in the winter on the Wood are downstream of the Warm Springs confluence to the East Fork Bridge.
Look for deep, slow winter holding water and you are sure to find good numbers of fish. This time of year, nymphing is most productive and the key to success is detecting the subtle winter takes. Start with a good high vis dry if you are dry dropper fishing or try Euro Nymphing. this technique allows an angler to stay in direct contact with the flies while drifting. Either way, a simple pause of the fly or the line could be the indication of a take. 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
Trail Creek Pass is closed. If you want to fish this terrific tailwater, the drive from Ketchum through Arco and up to Mackay takes about 2 hours. If you decide to make a full day of fishing, it is certainly worth the drive. This time of year, it’s all about midge; bring a good assortment of Zebra Midge, Brassies, and other attractor nymphs like Rainbow Warriors or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 to 22. With the low water conditions of winter and the high numbers of easily spooked fish in every bucket, it is best to fish a long and fine leader and approach the holes with caution. After each fish is hooked and landed, rest the hole a bit and then give it another go.
THE SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The mild winter days we have been having of late are still producing a light Baetis hatch along with the midge during a short window in the afternoon. If you are persistent you will find fish rising or willing to take a well presented dry fly. Still, nymphing is productive before and after this window. Either way, be sure to find the right water. I prefer the seams and deep buckets at the end of a slow, dancing riffle. While nymphing dry dropper or Euro Style, try small Baetis nymph patterns (18-20), Zebra Midge (18-22), Caddis Larva (12-14), Stone Fly patterns (10-12), or San Juan Worms. For dries have a few Baetis (20-22) and an assortment of midge adults and emergers (20-24). And as always, if you head to the South Fork be sure to take a standard winter survival kit in the car including chains, a sleeping bag, and plenty of water and food.
WATER FLOWS – December 10TH
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise