What is it that gets you into the Christmas spirit? For us, it is sharing the blessing of our beautiful valley with you. There is no better way to experience the serenity and magic of the winter than fly fishing on the Wood. Come on by the shop and we will help outfit you for an afternoon on the river. We can help you make your Christmas “white.”
If you plan on fishing the Creek, remember it is closed from the highway 20 bridge up stream through the Double R and into the Conservancy. However, the river down stream remains open. The long slow runs are ideal for swing a black or olive leech pattern or slow drift nymphs through the deeper buckets. On warmer days, you might see some fish surface feeding on midge.
THE BIG WOOD
The Wood is postcard perfect right now, although access can be tricky with all the snow. Many of the typical pullouts are inaccessible, so you may need to be creative to get into your favorite stretches of the river. And if you are the first one in, you will need to wade through the deep snow to get to the water. This is a good problem to have! Once in the water, you will find it is mostly a nymphing game. You may find some surface activity, but we are about a month away from the good winter midge activity. Nevertheless, you can really streamline your flies and keep it simple. Dry dropper rigs or double nymphs with an indicator will let you cover all depths of water. For flies, try beaded red, black, or green Zebra Midge in size 14-20, Rainbow Warriors, or Bishop’s Dynamites in size 16 and 18. Larger nymphs will also work; I like Rubber Leg Stones in size 12, Beaded Pheasant Tails in size 14, or Prince Nymphs in size 12 or 14. Remember the winter trout don’t hold in fast water, so concentrate on the slow, deep water at the tail end of runs or in the slow seams. Please keep in mind, winter trout need to be played and released as quickly as possible. The best thing you can do is learn how to use a Ketchum Release tool. This has the added benefit of allowing you to keep your hands dry and warm, which is essential to winter fishing success.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The flows are holding steady at just over 300 CFS. About 90 minutes drive from Ketchum, this is another winter fishing gem if you are looking for an all day outing and there are plenty of large rainbow trout and whitefish to be found. If you go, be sure take a four wheel drive vehicle with studded snow tires and chains. The road down into the canyon can be treacherous this time of year. Keep in mind, the fishing window is short deep in the South Fork canyon, so look for runs in the sun to find the best activity. If you hunt around you will find surface activity in the classic winter water. If you can’t find any fish up, have a good selection of beaded and non-beaded midge patterns as well as caddis larva, stoneflies, and San Juan Worms.
BIG LOST BELOW MACKAY
If you are looking for a longer fishing excursion, the Lost is a good choice. With Trail Creek Pass closed, it takes about two hours to make the trip through Craters of the Moon, Arco, and up to the town of Mackay. This is a beautiful drive in the winter and the fishing is fun this time of year. With the low flows, you will find plenty of willing fish in the slow buckets. Try small Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamites and Zebra Midge and a small indicator in the shallow water or a double nymph rig in the deeper runs. I like using light 6.5 Trouthunter fluorocarbon tippet to fool these trout and help get the flies down quickly.
South Fork of the Boise