“There is a faith, called fishing. It is a form of waiting, some say, for that which has never really been seen.
I say, whether I’ve seen him or not, I love him. And gladly go on waiting.”
~ David James Duncan
For some, the off season is a time to return to the vice and prepare for future adventures. For others, it is time to travel afield and search for steelhead. Either way, the angler must maintain faith and practice patience. Waiting has its own rewards.
As we move into the first week of April, the Pahsimeroi Hatchery has trapped 1,325 hatchery adult steelhead, and the Sawtooth Hatchery approximately 250. The steelhead are spread throughout the river from above Stanley to Challis and fish continue to move up in waves. The river is clear thanks to the cold nights of late; however, this can change quickly this time of year so it is always best to check with us before you commit. In the smaller upper part of the river it is best to sight fish with a single-handed rod and lower on the river in the classic wide steelhead runs it is fun to swing flies with a Switch or Spey rod. Either way you like to fish, now is the time to go, as this fishery only stays open till the end of the month.
THE BIG LOST BELOW MACKAY
The Lost, unlike the Wood and the South Fork, is open year-round. However, the flows can be unpredictable this time of year. Last week they jumped to just under 300 CFS and then dropped to 120 CFS as of April 3rd. The lesson: always check the flows before you go. Also remember, Trail Creek Summit is closed, so you will need to drive to Mackay via Craters of the Moon and Arco. While fishing, look for both midge and Baetis to be fluttering about with midge dominating the early action and then transitioning to Baetis late in the day. For midge, have a good selection of Griffith’s Gnats in size 18 to 22 as well as Trailing Shuck Midge patterns in the same size. For Baetis, try Harrop’s Parachute Baetis and a simple High Vis Parachute Baetis for when the light goes flat in size 18 and 20. Before the hatch starts, try small Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamites, Zebra Midge, or a small Pheasant Tail in size 16-20 fished below a small indicator or high visibility dry. You might also try a double nymph rig fished Euro Style through the deeper runs. San Juan Worms, Large Stone Flies, or Prince nymphs trailed by a small nymph are always a good bet.
The ice is mostly off Magic and float tubing or bank fishing around Myrtle Point can be productive. Another option, and a bit farther down the road, is the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. This fishery is managed by the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes and has three different reservoirs to pick from: Mountain View, Lake Billy Shaw, and Sheep Creek. For a small fee, you can fish all three and camping facilities are available for an addition fee. Be sure to check the website for updates as to when the lakes de-ice. At the moment, only Mountain View is open. As for techniques in both locations, try pulling a team of small leech patterns in black, brown or olive on an intermediate or type 3 sinking line. Often spring trout are feeding on Daphnia, aka fresh water plankton, and a leech is a welcome meal. I also like to use Sheep Creek Specials in Duck Valley, or perch colored patterns at Magic. Also, suspending a series of nymphs at the right depth can also be effective at both locations. Come on by the shop and we can set you up.
THE BIG WOOD, SILVER CREEK, and THE SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
All closed for the season. Opening day is May 26th.
BIG LOST: 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
STILLWATER: Pops Buggers |Olive, Black, and Brown Leeches |Chironomids |Sheep Creek Specials
STEELHEAD: Double Beaded Stones | Large Prince Nymphs | String Leeches (all colors) | Egg Sucking Leeches | Skunks
The Big Lost