“I fish in spring to feel the…planetary tilt resurrect every creature and joy that autumn killed.”
~ David James Duncan
As the seasons change, anglers hold their collective breaths for a beat of time in anticipation of the next. Spring precipitation has blessed our mountains and the Big Wood and Big Lost drainages are right where they should be in terms of snowpack. The summer fishing season is setting up just right with ample water to take us into the fall. For those who can’t wait until May 26th, there are still plenty of great fishing opportunities a short drive away.
The steelhead season on the Salmon is coming to a close the end of the month. As of April 16th, the Sawtooth Hatchery is reporting that 1,300 steelhead have been trapped. At this late stage, most of the remaining fish and fisherman are between Valley Creek and the Hatchery. The river remains clear above Challis, but flows are higher than average and murky downstream. The conditions can change rapidly with rain and warmer temperatures in the forecast, so please check with us before you go.
THE BIG LOST BELOW MACKAY
The Lost remains open; however, the flows can be unpredictable this time of year. They are currently at 300 CFS but as run-off begins with warmer weather in the forecast, the flows could go up any moment. Always check the flows before you go, and be prepared for flows to increase while fishing. Trail Creek Summit remains closed, so you will need to drive to Mackay via Craters of the Moon and Arco. That said, the fishing has been very good…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. With the higher flows, the dry fly fishing has been poor. Still, it is worth trying a small Rainbow Warrior, Bishop’s Dynamite, Zebra Midge, or a small Pheasant Tail in size 16-20 below a small indicator or high visibility dry in shallow water. In the deeper runs try a double nymph rig fished Euro Style. San Juan Worms, Large Stone Flies, or Prince nymphs trailed by a small nymph are effective.
Spring is a great time to fish our local reservoirs. Both Magic and Little Wood reservoir are good options this time of year and can be fished either from the bank or a float tube. 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. 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
These rivers are closed for the season, but will reopen with the Idaho general fishing season on May 26, 2018. We can expect high water on both the Wood and South Fork, but the Creek should be in perfect condition for the opening weekend!
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