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Photo Credit: Bob Knoebel

“There are two kinds of forecasters: those who don’t know, and those who don’t know they don’t know.”

– John Kenneth Galbraith

And then there are the kind of forecasters who know they don’t know, but try anyway.

Let’s start with what we do know. This winter has been relentless. It started cold and wet, stayed cold and wet, and those who know (NOAA) are predicting cooler, wet weather for the month of April. After an incredible March, the snow water equivalent percent of normal in our surrounding drainage is between 150% to 175% of average. To put this in perspective, the winter of 2017 (fondly referred to as “Snowmageddon”) saw averages well above 200%. We may get there yet.

Without a doubt, the region will have well above normal streamflow during spring and well into summer.The best case scenario would be that the low altitude snow melts gradually followed by a steady runoff from the mountains. According to the USDA’s “Idaho Water Supply Outlook Report April 1, 2023,” Magic Reservoir will fill with the runoff from Camas Creek alone which is at 489% of normal. Clearly, the above average snowpack brings much needed drought relief to the region; however; the potential for severe spring flooding is very real if the snow melts too abruptly.

As for fishing, June and much of July will be challenging months for local anglers and guides on our freestone streams. Looking at comparable winters from 1983 and 2017, flows on the Wood did not drop below 1,000 CFS until the end of July making wading impossible and access limited.

Silver Creek, which opens on May 27th, is a big beneficiary of wet winters as the low altitude snow melt combined with a prolonged runoff will recharge the aquifer that feeds it. Come opening day, it should be clear and ready to go! Do expect angler pressure to increase, however, as all the other options will be too high well into July.

In the meanwhile, stay tuned to this forecast or call the store anytime for the latest information. We are committed to providing the best information we can to help you plan your future fishing in and around Sun Valley.

Big Wood / Silver Creek / South Fork of the Boise
Opening Day: Saturday, May 27th

Big Lost
Unlike the Wood, the South Fork, and the Creek, the Lost is open year round. However, as of the 10th of April, flows have started to rise. At the moment it is around 230 CFS and sure to keep going up. With the uncertain flows, it is best to wait until they drop again in late July or early August before visiting this river.

The Salmon River
As of April 10th, the Pahsimeroi Fish Hatchery has trapped 529 steelhead, and the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery has approximately 10 to 20 returns, although no official number has been posted. The fish are about two weeks late, but starting to move. Last week’s warming trend muddied the river a tad, but cooler weather is in the forecast. Remember, the steelhead season closes April 30th on the upper Salmon.

The ice is slow to come off our local reservoirs. When the ice does dissipate, they may go off color due to the rapid influx of water from low altitude snow melt. Another great Stillwater option to keep your eyes on is the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. If you have a day or two, this is definitely worth the trip, especially as our local waters run high and muddy. 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.

Salmon River: Egg Patterns | Streamers | Pat’s Rubber Leg Stone | Prince Nymphs | Squirmy Worm

Stillwater: Balance Leeches | Sheep Creek Special | Woolly Buggers | Seal Buggers | Chironomids | Damsel Nymphs | Prince Nymphs




Silver Creek 258 cfs
Big Wood 289 cfs
The Lost Below Mackay 232 cfs
Salmon 785 cfs
South Fork of the Boise 1040 cfs