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“As the angler looks back, he thinks less of individual captures and days than of scenes in which he fished.” ~ Lord Edward Grey of Fallondon

As one year transitions to the next, ‘tis the season for reflection. But don’t spend too much time dwelling in nostalgia, as the river beckons; there are days of solace and individual captures to be had right now. ‘Tis also the season for making resolutions. This year make a resolution to fish more and create more scenes to be remembered..

Silver Creek

The Creek has some new regulations as we enter the new year. Effective January 1, the catch-and-release season will be lengthened to March 31 on two sections (between Highway 93 upstream to bridge near milepost 187.2 on Highway 20) and implement a catch-and-release season from December 1 through March 31 on one section (bridge near milepost 187.2 on Highway 20 upstream to Kilpatrick Bridge).

Big Wood 

Winter on the Wood is a special time, especially on cloudy, snowy days of which there are many in the forecast.  Winter midge are becoming more of a factor, so have a variety of midge wets and dries in your box. The most effective method is running a dry dropper with a beaded Zebra midge in olive, red, or black. Sometimes winter trout like a little flash; Rainbow Warriors or small Bishop’s Dynamite in size 18 or 20 will produce fish. And on blustery days, look for heads in the slow runs where the fish like to concentrate and fish small, light brassies beneath a midge cluster or high vis dry. As always, please handle winter trout with care and release them quickly with a Ketchum Release; the fish stay in the water and your hands stay dry.

The Lost Below Mackay

If you are looking to make a full day trip and escape the busy streets and slopes of Sun Valley, then the Big Lost is for you. It takes about 90 minutes to drive through Arco to Mackay to get to the river as Trail Creek Pass is closed this time of year. Since the Lost is a tailwater, you can expect good hatches of midge and some beatis all winter long. The flows are perfect for easy wading.  Fish it much the same way you would approach the Wood.

South Fork of the Boise

This is another good all day-trip for the adventurous angler. If you go, be sure to have the appropriate vehicle with 4X4, studded tires, or chains to make it down and back out of the canyon safely. This river is going to fish well with small midge imitations or large ugly bugs. If you hunt around you will find feeders on the surface during the prime time in the afternoons and you should be able to find plenty of white fish to fill the voids.


The December 7th closure on the steelhead season was suspended. According to Eric Barker of the Idaho Statesmen, “Members of the newly formed Idaho River Community Alliance, environmental groups and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game forged an agreement Friday [12/7] to stave off the closure and keep most of the state’s rivers open to steelhead fishing.” The rivers that remain closed include the Salmon River from Warren Creek to the Copper Mine Boat Ramp upstream of Riggins and the South Fork of the Clearwater River upstream of the Mount Idaho Bridge on State Highway 14. Good news for anglers, but a reminder that our native steelhead population is endangered.

Silver Creek Flies: Harrop’s Beatis | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive 16,18 | Pheasant Tails 16,18 | Baetis Nymphs | Streamers

Big Wood, Big Lost: Rubber Legged Stones |Iron Lotus | Pheasant Tails | Bishop’s Dynamite | King Prince | Streamers

South Fork of the Boise Flies: Baetis | Adult Midge | Rubber Legged Stones | Zebra Midge | Caddis Larva | Flash Back Pheasant tails | King Prince | Streamers

Silver Creek
Big Wood
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise
131 cfs
163 cfs
129 cfs
304 cfs