“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” ~ Loren Eiseley
As another steelhead season comes to a close, fly fisherman tend to look toward future fishing opportunities. The prevailing question is always the same: What will the water be like? Predicting streamflows is not an exact science. For example, no one could have predicted the rain that inundated the Ketchum area last August. Still, with the snowpack up Galena Summit at around 79% of average and the entire Big Wood drainage at around 60%, flows are going to be lower than normal throughout the season. The same is true for the the Salmon, Little Wood, Big Lost, and Silver Creek. In the meanwhile, there are still some very good options for anglers eager to wet a line before the season opener May 23rd.
BIG LOST BELOW THE MACKAY RESERVOIR
This is the best option for anglers looking to spend a day on the water in our area. The midge and Baetis action remains outstanding. For flies, have a good assortment of tailwater midge like brassies, and Zebra Midge as well as Griffiths Gnats and Trailing Shuck Midge in sizes 18 to 22. The Baetis are large and can be matched with size 18 or 20 parachutes. Harrop’s Baetis is a good option. To match the Baetis nymphs, try WD40s or small PTs is size 20-16. The flows are still holding steady at about 96 CFS. Typically the flows start to come up around the middle of May and eventually the demand for irrigation water down stream will bring this river up. Remember that anything above 350 to 400 CFS below the dam is tough to wade. Check the Idaho River Flows page before making the trek.
The Little Wood River below the town of Carey and just down from the Silver Creek confluence, is still open this time of year as well. The flows are typically high and muddy by now, but with the minimal low altitude snowpack it should remain clear. This would be a great place to work a streamer along the banks or nymph the deep buckets. This water is loaded with little fish and the occasional monster brown.
If you can find a day when the wind is not howling, chasing monster trout on a local Stillwater is a great diversion. Magic, the Little Wood, Mackay, or Duck Valley, are some of my favorite haunts this time of year. Try pulling a multi fly rig with Seal buggers and Pops buggers in black or olive off of a sinking line, like a type 3 or 5. Or try suspending a team of nymphs like Prince nymphs, Copper Johns, or classic Chironomids with a floating line and an indicator. We have a great selection of Stillwater patterns, so come on by and we will hook you up!
The steelhead season on the Salmon closes the end of April.
THE BIG WOOD / SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE / SILVER CREEK
These waters are closed until May 23rd.
WATER FLOWS – April 29th
The Big Lost