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“The whole notion of fly-fishing would not be so romantic if the trout did not win, too.” – Mark Rauschenberger

There is more to fly fishing than wins and losses. It is the trout, the places trout live, and the people who pursue trout that make the notion of fly-fishing so romantic.  In the presence of so much mystery, beauty, and joy one cannot help but be humbled.

Silver Creek
The Nature Conservancy portion of Silver Creek to Kilpatrick Bridge is officially closed; however, downstream of Kilpatrick Bridge and through the BLM stretch of the Creek remains open until the end of March. Fishing this time of year is best done with streamers and nymphs fished dead drift or on a swing. On mild days, you may even find a few fish rising to midge adults and emergers.

The Big Wood
Parking access along the Wood is still good, as the valley floor has yet to be inundated with snow. And, as a general rule, the best opportunities for fishing in the winter on the Wood are downstream of the Warm Springs confluence. Look for deep, slow winter holding water and you are sure to find concentrations of trout. This time of year, nymphing is most productive and the key to success is detecting subtle winter takes. Start with a good high vis dry if you are dry dropper fishing or small pinch-on indicator for the really slow water. For water with more movement, you might try Euro Nymphing; this technique allows an angler to stay in direct contact with the flies while drifting. For either technique, a simple pause of the fly or the line could be the indication of a take.

South Fork of the Boise
The mild winter days we have been having of late are producing a light Baetis hatch along with midge in the afternoon. If you are persistent you will find fish rising or willing to take a well-presented dry fly. Still, nymphing is the most productive technique. Either technique you choose, be sure to find the right water; the seams and deep buckets at the end of a slow, dancing riffle are best. As always, be sure to take a standard winter survival kit in the car including chains, a sleeping bag, and plenty of water and food.

The Lost Below Mackay
Since Trail Creek Pass is now closed, if you want to fish this terrific tailwater, you will need to drive from Ketchum through Arco and up to Mackay. This journey takes about 2 hours. If you desire a full day of fishing, it is certainly worth the drive. This time of year, it’s all about midge; bring a good assortment of adult and subsurface midge imitations, as well as attractor nymphs in size 16 to 22. With the low water conditions of winter and the high numbers of easily spooked fish in each bucket, it is best to fish a long, fine leader and approach the holes with stealth.

South Fork of the Boise: Midge | Baetis | 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:Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Iron Lotus | Leech Patterns | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive

Big Lost, Big Wood and Tributaries: Beatis | Midge | Golden Stone | Buggers |  Bishop’s Dynamite | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Jake’s Perdigon | Rainbow Warrior | King Prince Nymph | DB Zebra Midge | Quildigons | Frenchie


Silver Creek
Big Wood
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise
Salmon River
126 cfs
161 cfs
108 cfs
295 cfs
1070 cfs