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“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”

– Hal Borland

At year’s end, the fishing season goes on…and the truly wise remember to renew their license.

Big Wood
The river will see an increase in pressure during the holidays, so look for access points that have not been as pressured and be willing to cover water. With the low snowpack and the mild weather, the access to the river is easy, just be leary of ice along the edges. It is best to take a wading staff along to ensure you stay upright. While the quality of the fish is good, the numbers are still down. You can expect a fish or two from classic winter holding water, but if you don’t find any, move on to a new bucket. As a general rule, seek water that is slow and deep, as trout in winter prefer to conserve energy. Keep in mind, while you may find some surface midge activity, nymphing with small midge patterns is most productive. Streamers can also be productive.

Silver Creek
The Nature Conservancy portion of Silver Creek to Kilpatrick Bridge is closed for the season. If you wish to experience the serenity of the Creek in winter, head to the Pond or farther down to the BLM stretch. If you go tubing, be sure to use old school 5 MM neoprene waders.  Fish the slow, deep water with streamers and nymphs either with a dead drift or on a slow swing. Some days you may even find a fish or two rising to midge adults and emergers.

The Lost Below Mackay
If you want to escape the Valley and make a day of it, take the drive from Ketchum through Arco and up to Mackay to fish the Lost. This drive takes a little over 2 hours and goes through the incredible landscape of the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve. The water is low and the dam construction seems to be complete. The flows are bouncing around a bit but are currently at 52 CFS. There are decent midge, along with a few Baetis, that hatch all winter long. Fishing in these conditions requires a stealthy approach.

South Fork of the Boise
The road down to Anderson Dam tends to be on the shady side and can be very slick.  Chains and 4X4 are required if you head to the South Fork in winter. In the afternoon, there is a short window of midge activity and persistent dry fly anglers will find a smattering of trout rising. The rest of the time, nymphing dry dropper or Euro Style will produce trout and whitefish in the seams and tailouts.

Silver Creek: Beatis Nymphs | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Small Pheasant Tails | Streamers

Big Wood and Warm Springs: Adult Midge | Small Perdigons | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive

Big Lost: Baetis | Midge | Streamers

South Fork of the Boise: Baetis | Midge | Duracell | Bullet French Nymph | Perdigons | San Juan Worm | Pat’s Rubber Leg Stone




Silver Creek 151 cfs
Big Wood 188 cfs
The Lost Below Mackay 51.9 cfs
Salmon 477 cfs
South Fork of the Boise 291 cfs