“When we fish, we are awake. We are attuned to the environment, to the world, to the reverence and wonder of life.” -Dan Baughman
‘Tis the season for making resolutions. This year make a resolution to fish more. For it is in the pursuit, the act of angling, that we find humility.
Remember, this time of year The Nature Conservancy portion of Silver Creek to the Highway 20 bridge is closed. If you would like to experience the tranquility of the Creek in winter, head to the BLM stretch as it remains open until the end of February. 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. These fish are as selective and spooky as they are in summer, so you will need to employ the typical down and across approach with a long and fine leader and small midge patterns. Your winter fly selection is simple; try a size 24-16 Pheasant Tail nymph, olive and red Zebra Midge, or black and olive leech patterns.
Parking access along the Wood is still good, as most of the snow of late has been above 6,000 feet. And as a general rule, the best opportunities for fishing in the winter on the Wood are downstream of the Warm Springs confluence to the East Fork Bridge.
Look for deep, slow winter holding water and you are sure to find good numbers of fish. This time of year, nymphing is most productive and the key to success is detecting the subtle winter takes. Start with a good high vis dry if you are dry dropper fishing or try Euro Nymphing. this technique allows an angler to stay in direct contact with the flies while drifting. Either way, a simple pause of the fly or the line could be the indication of a take. For nymphs try Rubber Leg Stones, King Prince Nymphs, Zebra Midge, Bishop’s Dynamite, Egan’s Frenchy, the Red Dart, or the Iron Lotus.
THE BIG LOST BELOW MACKAY
Trail Creek Pass is closed. If you want to make a day of it, take the drive from Ketchum through Arco and up to Mackay to fish the Lost. This drive takes about 2 hours and goes through the incredible landscape of the Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve, a beautiful sight in winter. The water is low and clear and there are decent midge hatches all winter long. For flies, bring a good assortment of Zebra Midge, Brassies, and other attractor nymphs like Rainbow Warriors or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 to 22. Fish with stealth and fine tippet dry dropper or Euro style and you are sure to have a grand day.
THE SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
Chains and 4X4 are required if you head down into the canyon as we have received just enough snow to make this road very slick. In the afternoon, there is still a window of hatch activity and persistent dry fly anglers will find a smattering of Baetis and midge fluttering about. The rest of the time, nymphing dry dropper or Euro Style will produce fish in the seams and tailouts. Try small Baetis nymph patterns (18-20), Zebra Midge (18-22), Caddis Larva (12-14), Stone Fly patterns (10-12), or San Juan Worms. For dries have a few Baetis (20-22) and an assortment of midge adults and emergers (20-24).
WATER FLOWS – DECEMBER 29TH
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise