“But pleasures are like poppies spread, You seize the flower, its bloom is shed; Or like the snow falls in the river, A moment white then melts forever.” ~ Robert Burns
The run-off started early this year since March came in like a lamb. However, April has come in like a lion, and we we have received some more high altitude snow and valley rain. Still, our snowpack is 64% of normal in the Wood River drainage. All indications are pointing to a great early season for the Brown Drakes on the Creek and Green Drakes on the Wood. Unless May and June are unusually wet and cold, expect these hatches to be early. Be sure and plan ahead if you wish to “seize the flower.”
THE SALMON RIVER
The cold weather of late has cleared the river below Valley and Basin Creek. Since the steelhead run started early this year, it seems to be finishing ahead of schedule as well. Still, there are two weeks left to take advantage of this fishery. Be aware that many of the fish are already on redds or are done spawning. Sight fishing with a single handed rod is going to be your best option in the upper river. Rather than targeting fish on redds, look for the fish still staging in the deeper runs or pocket water. We still have a great selection of flies and would be happy to help you with the latest information about the flows and fish count. Here is a list of the most productive flies: Hot Head Marabou Jig size 2, Duddle’s Steelhead Candy size 4, Tungsten Pheasant Tail Flashback size 6 and 8, Tungsten Peck’s Flashback size 6 and 8, Starlite Leech size 2, Low Water Green Butt Skunk size 6, Undertaker size 6.
BIG LOST BELOW MACKAY
With a bit of windshield time you can have some of the best spring fishing in the state. Right through the town of Mackay, flows a tailwater gem, The Big Lost. The flows should hold steady at around 90 CFS until the middle or end of May, so if you want to pursue trout in a river setting before the opener, this is your best bet. The hatches on the Lost this time of year are a combination of midge and Baetis and on the right day they can be spectacular. You will need a good selection of midge in sizes 18-22 and Baetis in size 16-18 both dry and wet. Fish are spawning in the shallow riffles, so please wade with caution and leave them alone.
You should be able to find some great Stillwater fishing this time of year. Just be prepared to contend with wind. Always have a whistle, a PDF if fishing from a tube or a boat, and fish with a friend. Whether you choose to go to Magic, the Little Wood, Mackay, or Duck Valley, you are sure to find good action. In the spring, I like to pull Seal buggers and Pops buggers in black or olive off of a sinking line like a type 3 or 5 or suspend a team of nymphs off an indicator like Prince nymphs, Copper Johns, or classic Chironomids with a floating line. We have a great selection of Stillwater patterns, so come on by and we will hook you up!
THE BIG WOOD / SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE / SILVER CREEK
These waters are closed until May 23rd.
Another option this time of year is the Little Wood River below the town of Carey. Here you will find the Taylor Bear Tracks Recreation Area just down from the Silver Creek confluence. This can be a fun diversion while waiting for the Creek to open and if you are on your way to the Lost or on your way back. While it is currently clear, typically this water is susceptible to early runoff, but we have very little low altitude snow, so it may stay clear longer than normal. This would be a great place to work a streamer along the banks or nymph the deep buckets.
WATER FLOWS – April 16th
The Big Lost