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Image: Ed Northen

“Trying to understand is like straining through muddy water. Have the patience to wait! Be still and allow the mud to settle.”

– Lao Tzu

Streamflow forecasting is rife with uncertainty. Looking to the past and comparing years with similar snowpack helps, but so much depends on May and June. The safe bet…June will see high water, and early to mid July the flows will drop.  Anglers know how to be still and allow the mud to settle. But for those who can’t wait, there is always somewhere to wet a line.
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
With the flows holding steady at 95 CFS, the Lost is a great option for fantastic spring angling.  The reservoir is at 67% of capacity, so these flows should remain steady for the foreseeable future.  If you go, be prepared for abundant midge activity and a few Baetis as well. There should be good dry fly opportunities as the day warms, and the nymphing and streamer action should be red hot. 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 18th, the Sawtooth Hatchery is reporting that nearly 4,000 steelhead have been trapped. At this stage, there are still good numbers of  fish between Valley Creek and the Hatchery. The flows have jumped up with the recent warming trend and warm temperatures persist 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 April.
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. The flows spiked in early April, but seem to be stabilizing. If you see that they continue to drop, this might be a good option to explore.
Spring is a great time to fish our local stillwaters. 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 143 cfs
Big Wood 797 cfs
The Lost Below Mackay 95.5 cfs
Salmon 1580 cfs
South Fork of the Boise 2023 cfs