April showers brought more snow to our mountains and boosted our snow pack to 99% of average. This is astounding if you consider that three months ago the snow pack was at a meager 50% of average. This is great news for the summer water supply, the fish, and the fisherman. While it is difficult to predict, on average snow pack years our freestone fisheries really begin to get good in the first weeks of July and typically become completely wadable by the middle of July. The season opener for Silver Creek and the Wood is set for May 24th. In the meanwhile, this is a good time to overhaul your fly selection, fix leaky waders, replace the laces on your wading boots, clean your lines, or replace any old gear that is simply worn out. Still if you want to fish right now there are still several options if you are willing to travel outside the Valley.
The restoration project is mostly done and the pond is full again. It will take some time for the areas around the project to revegetate but the fishing should be good right from opening day. The weather over the next month will determine the timing on the Brown Drake hatch. If it is hot and dry, the hatch may happen as soon as the last week of May. If if is cold and wet, it could push the hatch to the middle of June or even later. Either way, be ready to go by being the first to come pick through our Brown Drake patterns at the shop.
The steelhead season has come to a close, but the river is still open for trout and white fish. Up stream of Basin Creek the water is still free of runoff since the high altitude snow has yet to really start coming down. So as long as the river is low and clear, this would be a worthwhile diversion. Try nymphing the buckets below the riffles with Rubber Leg Stones, Prince Nymphs, and Beaded Pheasant Tail nymphs in sizes 10 to 14 under an indicator.
THE LOWER BIG LOST
Flows are still holding at 88 CFS but this could change any day. Once the flows turn on, the Lost is difficult to fish until late August when the flows start coming down again. If you decide to go, check the flows using link to the USGS water data site on our the website. Expect to see both midge and Baetis in good numbers during the warmest part of the day. For midge, have a good selection of Griffith’s Gnats as well as Trailing Shuck Midge patterns in size 18-24. For Baetis, 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.
Below the town of Carey is the Taylor Bear Tracks Area on the Little Wood, just down from the Silver Creek confluence. This can be a fun diversion while waiting for the Creek to open. While it is currently clear, typically this water is susceptible to early runoff. We have very little low altitude snow, so it may stay clear longer than normal. This would be a great place to work a streamer along the banks or nymph the deep buckets.
Lakes and reservoirs are a great option this time of year while many of our streams flow high and muddy. The only problem is the spring winds. If you go in a tube or a boat, be sure and take all the required safety precautions incase a stiff breeze blows you off course. Your best options are Magic Reservoir and Duck Valley. Magic is easily accessed through West Magic. I like the area around Myrtle Point. The Duck Valley Indian Reservation 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.
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“If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago.” – Zane Grey