“Never make predictions, especially about the future.” ~ Casey Stengel
The Big Wood Basin snow water equivalent is at 70% of normal as of March
16th. For those already looking ahead to summer, all signs are pointing
to an early and moderate run off and a good early fishing season on our
local waters. In the meanwhile, the steelhead are already in and some of
the best pre runoff fishing of the year on our local tailwaters is
happening right now.
THE SALMON RIVER
The steelhead are early this year! Don’t wait until late April to head up
to Stanley as the fish are about three weeks ahead of schedule. After
their 1000 mile journey from the Pacific Ocean to the Upper Salmon River,
more than 100 fish have already made their way to the Sawtooth Hatchery
with more than a 1,000 at the Pahsimerori hatchery and new waves of fish
moving up river each day. The rain and mild over night lows have caused
the river below Stanley to turn off color, so focus on the upper river at
this time. Nymphing is the most effective method, but traditional
spey/swinging methods are catching fish as well. Here is a list of the
best flies no matter what technique you fish: 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. Come on by the shop
for the latest on fish counts and water clarity and check out our
fantastic fly selection.
Mild weather and a touch of rain has doubled the flows on the Wood over
the last week causing the river to go off color. If the over night temps
drop back to normal, we should see the river return to its typical March
glory. There are only two weeks until this river closes and if it doesn’t
clear, we will need to wait until end of May to fish. Please check with
us for the latest on the flows.
THE BIG LOST BELOW MACKAY
Trail Creek Pass is still closed, but it may open sometime in April. In
the meanwhile, it is a two hour tour through Craters of the Moon, to
Arco, and up to Mackay. Expect a mix of Baetis and Midge; it is best to
start the day fishing subsurface, and as the day warms up the fish will
start feeding on top. For flies, bring the same assortment of midge and
Baetis dries and nymphs you might use on the Creek or the Wood. Dry
dropper rigs with a trailing Zebra Midge, Brassies, or an attractor
nymphs like Rainbow Warriors or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 to 22 are
very effective. Many fish are already spawning in the shallow water.
Please leave these fish alone and watch your step.
THE SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
There is only two weeks left to take advantage of this great tailwater.
The best fishing is during the afternoon hours with a decent mix of
Baetis and midge especially during the cloudy, mild days. You will find
good numbers of surface feeding fish in the seams and slow glides and you
will need to be on your game with long, light leaders and the right
imitations. Dry dropper or Euro Style nymphing will produce good numbers
of fish as well. For dries, standard Baetis, adult midge, and midge
emergers 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.
The Creek is closed and will reopen May 23rd.
WATER FLOWS – March 19TH
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise