“What makes a river so restful to people is that it doesn’t have any doubt—it is sure to get where it is going, and it doesn’t want to go anywhere else.”
– Hal Boyle
Winter anglers get to know a river in its most restful state. A privilege reserved for those who have no doubt how they wish to spend a winter day.
The Nature Conservancy portion of Silver Creek is closed for the season. However, from Kilpatrick Bridge down, the Creek is still open. The water is very cold this time of year but with some scouting you are bound to find some fish feeding on a smattering of midge. Leeches can also take fish this time of year.
This is a winter fishing gem. However, with the recent snow, access can be tricky. The best strategy is to find a plowed parking area, and then go for a stroll to your favorite public access point. Or better yet, have someone drop you off and then pick you up before the sun goes down. Then head to Grumpy’s for some a·près-fishing. Winter fishing can be really rewarding, if you dress properly. And stormy days can be the best. The bugs this time of year are simple; have a variety of midge wets and drys. Your standard rig is running a dry dropper with a beaded Zebra midge in red or black, a Rainbow Warrior or a Bishop’s Dynamite in size 18 or 20. On cloudy days, look for heads in the slow runs where the fish like to concentrate in the winter and fish small beadless midge or emerger patterns. As always, handle winter trout with care. In fact, the best method is to not handle the fish at all, but to release them quickly with a Ketchum Release tool.
The Big Lost
If you are willing to make the trip through Arco to Mackay, the Lost fishes very well this time of year. The flows are low and the fish will be concentrated in the prime lies. Fish it much the same way you would approach the Wood.
South Fork of the Boise
This is another great winter fishery for anglers willing to travel a bit. Of course, be sure to have the appropriate vehicle to make it down and back out of the canyon now that winter weather has taken its hold. Again, 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.
Big Wood: Midge | Duracell | Bullet French Nymph | Rain Drop Jigs | Maktima UV Jig | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Silver Creek: Midge | Bullet French Nymph | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Pine Squirrel Leech
Big Lost Flies: Midge | Duracell | Bullet French Nymph | Rain Drop Jigs | Maktima UV Jig | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
South Fork of the Boise: Midge | Deep Cleaner | Duracell | Bullet French Nymph | Rain Drop Jigs | Maktima UV Jig | Pat’s Rubber Legs
|Silver Creek||103 cfs|
|Big Wood||138 cfs|
|The Lost Below Mackay||84 cfs|
|South Fork of the Boise||304 cfs|