“Water is the driving force in nature.” – Leonardo da Vinci
The current snow water equivalent for the Big Wood, Little Wood, and Big Lost rivers is at around 170% of average. Simple translation: there is a lot of water in the mountains yet to come down over the next few months. The initial flooding reports are a result of the rapid melting of the low altitude snow. At Magic Reservoir, for example, water started tumbling over the spillway on March 29th and as of April 1st, the residents of West Magic were cut off due to flooding across West Magic Road. Silver Creek also experienced record flows during March cresting at over 420 CFS. While Silver Creek will be in perfect condition for opening day May 27th, the rest of our waters will still be very high. In the meanwhile, the Salmon and the Lower Lost are the best local options; otherwise, it might be a good time to try for carp down at CJ Strike or one of the trophy lakes at Duck Valley.
As of April 3rd, 1,051 steelhead have made their way to the Sawtooth Hatchery. At the moment the river is clear down to the Pahsimeroi, but very high. Both Valley Creek and the Yankee Fork are flowing 3 to 4 times higher than average for this time of year. The conditions can change rapidly with rain and warmer temperatures in the forecast, so please check with us before you go.
THE BIG LOST – MACKAY
The flows are currently at 400 CFS; at this level wading is very difficult, but not impossible. The flows typically go up even higher this time of year, but for now we have a window while the fishing can actually be quite good. If you go, check the flows and be prepared to nymph with heavy flies. Also, be sure to tighten your wading belt and use a wading staff.
While the roads to West Magic are closed, access to East Magic and Hot Springs Landing are open. The ice is mostly melted, but the water is off-color from the sudden influx of runoff. This would be a place to go if you are dying to wet a line for a few hours. However, a bit farther down the road, is the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. If you have a day or two, this is definitely worth the trip.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 additional 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 or 5 sinking line. Often spring trout are feeding on Daphnia, aka fresh water plankton, and a leech is a welcome meal. Sheep Creek Specials always seem to work in Duck Valley. Also, suspending a series of nymphs or chironomids 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 • SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
These rivers are now closed until opening day May 27th.
South Fork of the Boise
The Big Wood