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Image: Ed Northen

“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”

– Hal Borland

Knowing rivers, we can accept that change is inevitable. The Salmon, Big Wood, and Big Lost drainages are right where they should be in terms of snowpack. And as the snow melts and the rivers swell over the next few months, change will come. Rest assured, the summer angling season will have plenty of water to take us into the fall.

Big Wood/Silver Creek/South Fork of the Boise
All three of these fisheries are closed until Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.

The Lost Below Mackay
The Lost is open year-round and is a great option for fantastic spring angling. At the moment, the flows are at around 95 CFS and should remain at these levels for a while as Mackay reservoir refills after last year’s repairs.  Bugwise, be prepared for prolific midge activity with a few Baetis in the mix. You can expect to find plenty of dry fly opportunities as the day warms. Keep in mind that the rainbows and cutbows tend to spawn early on this river, so please wade carefully and avoid redds.

The Salmon
As of April 9th, the Sawtooth Hatchery is reporting that 2,262 steelhead have been trapped. At this stage, there are good numbers of fish and fisherman between Valley Creek and the Hatchery. The conditions can change rapidly with rain and warmer temperatures in the forecast, so please check with us before you go. Remember, the steelhead season on the Salmon is coming to a close at the end of the month.

The Little Wood
The lower Little Wood in the Taylor “Bear Tracks” Williams State Recreation Area is open year round, but it will go off color as the low altitude snow melts. Keep your eyes on the flows, and if you see that they have dropped this might be a good option to explore. This area has quite a few small trout with the occasional lunker.

Spring is a great time to fish our local stillwaters. Mormon, Magic, Mackay and the Little Wood reservoir are good options this time of year and can be fished either from the bank, a float tube, or a boat. Of course, always be leery of spring winds if you choose to boat or 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 additional fee.

Big Lost: Adult Midge | Miller’s +1 | Blowtorch | Bishop’s Dynamite | Mops and Mini Mopcicles | Red Neck Midge | DD Midge | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Streamers

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




Silver Creek 159 cfs
Big Wood 379 cfs
The Lost Below Mackay 95.5 cfs
Salmon 750 cfs
South Fork of the Boise 1640 cfs