“Hope is the thing with feathers/ That perches in the soul/ And sings the tune without the words/ And never stops at all.”
– Emily Dickinson
Emily is right and our fly bins are full of hope. We look forward to fishing with friends old and new in the year to come!
The Nature Conservancy is closed but fishing is still open from Kilpatrick Bridge down through the Willows, Point of Rocks, and Priest Rapids until the end of March. With the cold temperatures, ice has formed along the sides of the river making access difficult. It would be best to wait until it warms a bit before fishing down here. When it does, try nymphing dry dropper style or with an indicator. Swinging black and olive leech patterns deep and slow can also be productive.
Access is limited with all the snow on the valley floor and more snow is in the forecast. Either get a friend to shuttle you or plan on walking to get to a public access point. Also, during these cold days, the river can get choked with ice above the Warm Springs confluence and below East Fork. Keep in mind, the best days to fish are when the snow is falling, as this can trigger fantastic winter midge activity. As for fishing, streamline your gear and keep it simple. Dry dropper rigs or double nymphs with an indicator will let you cover all depths of water. For flies, carry an assortment of midge imitations both dry and wet as well as some junk flies. Remember, winter trout don’t like fast water, so concentrate your efforts on the slow water 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 added bonus of keeping your hands dry, which is essential in the winter.
The Lost Below Mackay
Remember, Trail Creek Pass is closed and it takes over two hours to make the trip through Craters of the Moon, Arco, and up to the town of Mackay. Still, fishing can be productive this time of year and with the low flows (65 CFS) you will find plenty of fish in the slow buckets.
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, be prepared: four wheel drive vehicle, studded snow tires, chains, extra food, sleeping bag. The road down into the canyon can be slippery. When fishing, look for runs warmed by the sun. There will be a short window of surface activity, otherwise prepare to nymph.
Silver Creek flies: Midge | Zebra Midge | Quilldigon | Streamers
Big Wood flies: Midge | Bullet French Nymph | Roza Perdigons | Sexy Walts | Quilldigon | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Streamers
Big Lost flies: Baetis | Midge | Sexy Walts | Bullet French Nymph | Lite Brite Perdigons | Pheasant Tail | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Pat’s Rubber Legs
South Fork of the Boise flies: Baetis | Midge | Sexy Walts | Bullet French Nymph | Lite Brite Perdigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
|Silver Creek||98.3 cfs|
|Big Wood||94.4 cfs|
|The Big Lost||65 cfs|
|Salmon River||871 cfs|
|South Fork of the Boise||299 cfs|