“Perhaps I should not have been a fisherman, he thought. But that was the thing that I was born for.”— Ernest Hemingway from The Old Man and the Sea

Born to fish? Don’t despair. There are still a few days left to enjoy the steelhead run on the Upper Salmon or make a pilgrimage over to the Big Lost before the flows become unfishable. Also, late April and May can be the best times to find large, eager trout on a local reservoir. While waiting for the season to open in late May, now is a good time to do an inventory of your gear: trade-in or patch leaky waders, replace worn-out wading boots, clean dirty lines, and organize overstuffed fly boxes. There will be plenty more days to come to do the thing that you were born to do.
The Big Wood, Silver Creek and the South Fork of the Boise
These rivers, and all their tributaries are now closed, but will reopen on May 25th. The Big Wood has peaked once at 900 CFS already this spring, but with the snowpack sitting at 137% of average, we can expect higher flows to come in peaks and valleys over the next couple months. As it stands, there will be plenty of water heading into summer.
The Lost Below Mackay
Trail Creek Pass will remain closed until late May or June. Plan on a two-hour drive through Craters of the Moon, to Arco, and up to Mackay to get to the Lower Lost. The flows are currently just below 300 CFS; much higher and wading becomes difficult. With the Big Lost Basin snowpack at 136% of average, you can expect the flows to increase any day. In the meanwhile, the fishing has been very good with a mix of Baetis and Midge hatching throughout the day. It is best to start fishing subsurface, and as the day warms up the fish will start feeding on top.

 

The Salmon 
There are a limited number of days left, as the steelhead season closes the end of April.  The latest update from the Sawtooth Hatchery reported that 970 steelhead have been trapped, down considerably from past years. Much of the remaining fish are between Valley Creek and the Hatchery and the water should remain clear. Below the Pahsimeroi, the river is already high and off color. The conditions can change rapidly with the recent rain and warmer temperatures in the forecast, so please check with us before you go.

 

Stillwater Options
Mormon, Magic, or the Little Wood are decent options if you are dying to wet a line for a few hours relatively close to home.  If you have a day or two, another great stillwater option 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. As for techniques, 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 (fresh water plankton) and a leech is a welcome meal.  You might try suspending a series of nymphs or chironomids at the right depth too.

 

Salmon River Steelhead Flies: Hot Head Marabou Jig size 2 | Duddle’s Steelhead Candy size 4 | Tungsten Pheasant Tail Flashback size 6 and 8 | Tungsten Peck’s Flashback size 6 and 8 | Starlite Leech size 2 | Low Water Green Butt Skunk size 6 | Undertaker size 6.
Big Lost: Trailing Shuck Midge | Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Iron Lotus | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Duracell Jig 12-18 | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | Tungsten Nemec Stone | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Stone Daddy 8 | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince
Silver Creek
Big Wood
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise
Salmon River
151 cfs
683 cfs
283 cfs
609 cfs
1650 cfs