“Fish come and go, but it is the memory of the afternoons on the stream that endure.” ~ E. Donnall Thomas
The season opener has arrived! Come join us Friday, May 27th as we celebrate with the Sage on the Water crew at the shop. There will be drinks, finger food, and casting games. Then on Saturday and Sunday, the Sage on the Water team will be on location at the Nature Conservancy Cabin on Silver Creek with beer, BBQ, and rod demos. We know the fishing is going to be good and it will be made even better with the opportunity to try a new Sage Rod, line, and reel. Certainly nothing is gained by just saying home!
While all the local freestones are high and off color, the Creek is the best option. It will be crowded on Saturday through Monday, so have some fun seeing old friends or making new ones while fishing this weekend. Come Tuesday you will have the river to yourself. You can expect to see some PMDs in size 16 with a smattering of Baetis in size 18 and 20. On warm days the hatch will occur mid morning into the early afternoon. On cooler days, don’t expect to see them until the late afternoon or not at all. Of course, the early season fish can be very gullible as compared to July and August, and many different techniques will fool these trout. Using streamers can be very effective as well as nymph fishing with pheasant tails and hares ears in size 12 -18, beaded or non beaded. You might even consider using beetles and ant patterns if no bugs are present and a good spring wind blows. Of course, the Brown Drake watch has begun. We typically expect to see Brown Drakes in the lower part of the Creek the first or second week of June. The air and water temps will determine the timing on this hatch, so stay tuned.
The flows are temporarily dropping and there is even some clarity to the water north of Warm Springs. Anglers willing to hole hop from side channel to side channel will find some fish this opening weekend. Still the water is high (1,080 CFS) and will jump up again once the warm weather returns. There is still a good amount of snow yet to come down and the peak fishing on the Wood will happen towards the end of June. For now, it is best to not wade at these flows and simply fish the water you can reach from the bank. Nymphing with large rubber leg stone flies and other standard patterns will be the most productive.
SF OF THE BOISE
The flows are high (2690 CFS). This is best fished from a drift boat at these levels. Still the water is extremely cold and many fish will still be on redds, especially in the side channels. This fishery will start to get good later in June and July once the Salmon flies get active. In the meanwhile, fish this river with caution.
The stretch of river around the hatchery, while high, can stay relatively clear this time of year and has decent numbers of whitefish and a few trout. Try deep nymphing with rubber legged stones or streamers. It might be worth the trip to fish for a few hours and check out the remodeled bakery in Stanley.
Flows have dropped to 380 CFS from a peak of 600 CFS earlier this spring. Mackay Reservoir is nearly full, so it is likely this flows will go up again any day. Expect flows to stay high through June and July. Once the flows drop below 350 CFS in August, this river will be ready to fish again.
UPPER BIG LOST
Trail Creek Pass is open, but the rivers are too high to make this worth while trip; however, the wild flowers are spectacular.
STILLWATERS & LOCAL WATERS
Gavers Lagoon, Penny, and Lakecreek ponds should all be stocked for the opener and would make a great location for a family picnic. Also Magic, Mackay, and Little Wood reservoirs are good options with a float tube, pontoon, our fish from a boat. Be sure to always have a safety whistle and a life jacket. And watch out for those high winds which can blow this time of year. In May and June, 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. Whatever you decide to do, come on by the shop and we will hook you up with the best flies for your situation.
South Fork of the Boise