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“Do you know why the Indian rain dances always worked? Because the Indians would keep dancing until it rained.”

– Sherman Alexie

Despite a strong December and early January, the snow water equivalent around the region is between 60 and 80% of normal. While precipitation in April and May might help matters, it is very likely that we will be faced with a short spring runoff and low water conditions. The early season fishing in June and early July can be excellent as a result, but once the water levels drop to base flows, the quality of the fishing in late July, August, and September will depend on water temperatures. If you plan on coming to the Valley and fish this summer, either with our guides or on your own, please remain flexible as we head into another season of extreme drought conditions. In the meantime, keep on dancing.

Big Wood / Silver Creek / South Fork of the Boise
Closed until opening day, Saturday, May 28th.

The Lost Below Mackay
This is a great spring fishery and unlike the Wood, the South Fork, and the Creek, it is open year round. With flows at around 70 CFS it is an easy river to wade, but you need to be careful how you approach the shallow runs; if you spook one fish, you spook them all. While the fish in the shallows can provide a good challenge, the more catchable fish are in and around the deeper buckets. Of course, this time of year it is not unusual to see fish on redds, so watch your step and leave these fish alone. Bugwise, be prepared for prolific midge activity with a few Baetis in the mix.

The Salmon
According to the most recent update on the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery Facebook page, the Pahsimeroi Hatchery has trapped 1,134, and the Sawtooth Hatchery has trapped 361 adipose-clipped steelhead. With another warming trend in the forecast, quickly followed by a cool down, the fish should continue to migrate up river and water clarity should be decent. Remember, the Steelhead season on the Upper Salmon closes on April 30th.

The ice is thawing on many of the local reservoirs and they will be worth a visit over the next few weeks. Mackay, the Little Wood, and Magic should all be on your radar. All can be fished either from the bank or from a float tube. If you do decide to tube, please be aware that spring winds can be fierce. 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 feed on Daphnia, aka freshwater plankton, and a leech is a welcome meal. Also, suspending a series of nymphs or chironomids at the right depth can also be effective. Come on by the shop and we can set you up.

Big Lost Flies: Baetis | Midge | Sexy Walts | Bullet French Nymph | Lite Brite Perdigons | Pheasant Tail | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Pat’s Rubber Legs

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

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


The Big Lost 71.7 cfs
Salmon River 1290 cfs