“Forecasters at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released the U.S. Winter Outlook… with La Niña potentially emerging for the second year in a row as the biggest wildcard in how this year’s winter will shape up.”
— NOAA Website
This is the time of year we pensively wait for significant snow to fill the mountains. The forecast is promising. La Niña typically means above average precipitation for the Valley. While waiting to see what winter cards we are dealt, might as well hit the river; the fishing is fantastic as we are still reaping the benefits of lasts year’s water boon.
The Conservancy portion of the Creek will be closing the last day of November; however, from the Fly Highway (Highway 20) bridge down through the Willows and the Point of Rocks the fishing will remain open until the end of February. If you focus on the warmest time of day, the late afternoon, the lower Creek will see some modest Midge activity on the surface. However, your best action will come on nymphs and streamers. For nymphs, try a beaded or non-beaded pheasant tail, a Zebra Midge, or a WD40 in size 20 or 22.
THE BIG WOOD
The river is going to be empty for the next few weeks leading up to the Christmas rush, the perfect place to go after a morning ski or a leisurely breakfast. The fish are in their classic winter holding water and the best fishing window is from noon ’til three in the afternoon. As a general rule, once the sun leaves the water, the fishing shuts down. This time of year you may find the occasional surface feeder, but nymphing is most productive. Try beaded red, black, or green Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warriors, or Bishop’s Dynamites in size 16 and 18. Larger nymphs will also work. Try Rubber Leg Stones in size 12, Beaded Pheasant Tails in size 14, or Prince Nymphs in size 12 or 14. Remember, winter fish hold in really slow water and takes are very subtle, so don’t waste time fishing water where there are no fish!
THE LOST BELOW MACKAY
Trail Creek Pass is closed for the season, so anglers heading to the Lost will need to go around through Carey and over to Arco to get to Mackay. The flows on the Lost have been as high as 400 CFS and as low as 150 CFS over the last few weeks. Right now they are up to 200 CFS. This is a perfect for easy wading; however, if you go it is best to check the current conditions on the USGS website in case it goes up again.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
With the winter flows holding steady at 306 CFS, the afternoon dry fly fishing can be decent on the South Fork. In preparation, have a good selection of midge and Baetis patterns in size 20 to 24 and fish long, light leaders down to 6 or 7X. There, nymphing also remains productive with Red San Juan Worms, Rubber Leg Stones, Caddis Larva as well as small Zebra Midge and Baetis Nymphs both before and after the hatch. If you go, remember it is that time of year when travel into the South Fork’s canyon requires a 4X4 with studded snow tires and chains.
South Fork of the Boise
The Big Wood