“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” ― Benjamin Franklin
In the new year, may your knots always be true, your presentations always drag free, and your boots always be wet. And above all, may you always fish with friends that compel you to be a better angler. This year make a resolution you can keep; resolve yourself to fish more.
The Big Wood
The Wood is the place to go if you want to ski the morning and fish during the afternoon. Access is decent with most of the usual parking access clear of snow; however, you may need to have a car with clearance and four-wheel drive. This time of year, nymphing is the name of the game; we are about a month away from the consistent surface winter midge activity. In the winter, you can simplify your gear. Dry dropper rigs or double nymphs with an indicator will let you cover all depths of water. Remember the winter trout don’t like fast water, so concentrate your efforts on the slow water at the tail end of runs or in the slow seams. Also, winter trout need to be played and released quickly; please learn how to use a Ketchum Release tool. This also provides the bonus of keeping your hands dry.
If you plan on fishing the Creek, remember the Nature Conservancy portion is closed. However, the river downstream of Kilpatrick Bridge remains open. The long slow runs are ideal for swing a black or olive leech pattern or slow drifting nymphs. On warmer days, you might consider putting a tube in the pond, but only do this if you have the proper layers to stay warm. Also, on pleasant days you may see some fish surface feeding on midge.
South Fork of the Boise
This is a great winter outing with plenty of trout and whitefish to be found about 90 minutes’ drive from Ketchum. If you go, take a four-wheel drive vehicle with studded snow tires and chains. The road down into the canyon can be horrendous this time of year. The fishing window is short deep in the South Fork canyon; look for runs in the sun to find the best activity. You will find fish in the classic winter water.
The Lost Below Mackay
This is a great option if you are looking for a longer fishing excursion. Of course, Trail Creek Pass is closed; it takes about two hours to make the trip through Craters of the Moon, Arco, and up to the town of Mackay. Still, the fishing is fun this time of year and with the low flows you will find plenty of fish in the slow buckets. Often delicate presentations, small flies, and light 6.5 or 7X Trouthunter fluorocarbon is required to fool these trout.
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
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise