It’s been cold out on the river lately, but the fish are rising good in the afternoon time frames. Midge hatches are becoming more and more regular and the consistency of the hatching midge has sparked angler interest. There are still many, many places and angler can make fresh tracks through the snow and find fish that haven’t seen much pressure since last fall. The fishery is better left for the afternoon on these cold days, but as we move toward spring, expect the hatches to begin earlier and earlier. Keep an eye on the morning temperatures to gauge the most productive hours. Fish that aren’t rising are still very ready to take nymphs and streamers.
Only two weeks left to get your licks in on Silver Creeks winter fishing season. Steamers are the fly of choice this time of year. With colder temperatures the river will begin to ice up again so if possible try to keep your fishing hours to the late afternoon. If you find ice in the Point of Rocks area, try moving upstream toward the highway where the water is generally more open. If necessary start at the Highway 20 bridge and work downstream into the Willows access. Fish streamers on a tight line swing, unweighted and be sure to keep that rod tip on the water so you will feel the slightest bump at the fly. If you miss a fish, just keep stripping as these winter feeders will almost always attack the fly more than once if they miss it the first time!
Big Wood River
The Wood is finally starting to see good dry fly activity when the Midge hatches get big. The cooler temperatures in the next few weeks could knock this back a bit, but in the late afternoon in a windless stretch of river you are almost sure to find some risers. The key in the coming week, may not be the temperature or the barometer as much as the wind speed in the afternoon, so if you are going to keep tabs on something, make it the wind speed. When fish are rising, a long leader (10 â€“ 12 feet) may be necessary to catch them. Taper the tippet to 6X and then play the war of attrition with the fish. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t take right away, as the nature of Midge hatches means they will have plenty of real bugs to choose from, but rest assured they will eventually choose yours.
With March approaching be ready for the emergence of the Little Black Stonefly. You will see these bigger bugs in winged and non-winged varieties. They generally draw fish closer to the banks, even though you will not see them on the water much. A.P. Nymphs are a good choice to imitate this bug underwater, and a small black bodied Elk Hair Caddis or a size 16 Stimulator can take fish that are already rising to Midge activity. Fish won’t really take a dry in the winter time that is being used as a searching pattern, it is important to show dry fly presentations to fish that are already actively feeding on the surface. If you want to search the water use a nymph or streamer pattern.
WATER CONDITIONS Basin Precip. Averages
Salmon – 125%
Big Wood – 143%
Little Wood – 154%
Big Lost – 140%
Henry’s Fork – 135%