The Big Wood and the South Fork of the Boise are now closed for the season, but will reopen, along with Silver Creek, on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. All three of these fisheries will be interesting to monitor during the off season. On Silver Creek, the Restoration Project will be completed and Kilpatrick Pond will be refilled. How this will impact the fishery remains to be seen, but certainly the adage, “If you build it, they will come” applies here for the insects, the fish, and the fishermen. On the Wood, when runoff begins, much of the soot, which washed into the river last fall, should get redistributed and potentially more will come down when the Warm Springs and Baker Creek drainages flush. And on the South Fork, how the high water of spring alters the areas of the river impacted by mudslides will determine how and where we will fish this river from drift boats this summer. Change is inevitable, and I am sure these rivers will all be better for it in the long run. In the meanwhile, if you wish to wet a line there are still plenty of options available, that is, if you are willing to travel out of the Valley. The ice is coming off many of our reservoirs and the Steelhead are making their annual trek to their spawning grounds in the upper Salmon River. And of course the Big Lost is really good this time of year.
Lower Big Lost River
With the Wood closed for two months, the Lost is your best option to find fish feeding actively on the surface. The flows are holding steady at 88 CFS making moving around the river very easy. It should be no problem to locate surface feeding fish during the warmest part of the day. Both midge and Baetis will be fluttering about with midge dominating the early action and then transitioning into BWO later in the day. For midge, have a good selection of Griffith’s Gnats in size 18 to 22 as well as Trailing Shuck Midge patterns in the same size. For Baetis, I really like Harrop’s Parachute Baetis and a simple High Vis Parachute Baetis for when the light goes flat in size 18 and 20. Before the hatch starts try small Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamites, Zebra Midge, or a small Pheasant Tail in size 16-20 fished below a small indicator or high visibility dry. You might also try a double nymph rig fished Euro Style through the deeper runs. San Juan Worms, Large Stone Flies, or Prince nymphs trailed by a small nymph are always a good bet.
The ice is mostly off Magic and float tubing or bank fishing around Myrtle Point can be productive. When heading to Magic keep in mind, the Fairfield cutoff is still closed, but all other roads are open. 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 steelhead are spread through out the entire river from above Stanley on down and fish continue to move up in waves. The river at the moment is low and clear thanks to the cold nights of late; however, this can change quickly this time of year so it is always best to check with us before you commit. In the smaller upper part of the river it is best to sight fish with a single handed rod and lower on the river in the classic wide steelhead runs it is fun to swing flies with a Switch or Spey rod. Either way you like to fish, now is the time to go, as this fishery only stays open till the end of the month.
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“If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.” – Zane Grey