fbpx

“The more you look, the more you see.”
― Robert M. Pirsig

A glance only sees the grey, cold reflection of sky and mountains. A close inspection reveals contours of river bottom and subtle changes in flow. But, through the eyes of a seasoned angler, the interplay of light and shadows reveals life both above and below. The more you see, the more you look.

The Big Wood
At the moment, the best fishing is close to town and down from the Warm Springs confluence as much of the river north and down south can be chockablock with ice. The best days on the Wood are cloudy with snowflakes falling and fortunately, there are plenty of these days in the forecast. The key is to find stretches of river that have not been overly pressured; those willing to park and walk will find better fishing. Safety tip: while walking the river, use Vibram soled wading boots with studs rather than felt to avoid ice build-up underfoot and carry a wading staff to catch yourself if you slip on the ice along the edges. As for the fishing, the best window is from noon until the sun leaves the water, so it is easy to get some morning skiing in before heading to the river. Bug wise, keep it simple. While you may find the occasional surface feeder, nymphing with small midge patterns is the most productive this time of year.

Silver Creek
The Conservancy is closed for the season and will not reopen until the end of May; however, from Kilpatrick bridge down through the Willows and the Point of Rocks the fishing will remain open until the end of March. This time of year, there can be ice built up along the banks, so be careful. Find a good run with deep slow water and try suspending and slow drifting small nymphs or swing an olive or black bugger with a slow twitch.

The Big Lost Below Mackay
The flows are up a tad to around 77 CFS, and the fish are concentrated in the deeper buckets. It is a trek through Craters of the Moon and up to Mackay since Trail Creek is closed, but you should find plenty of fish and solitude if you decide to make the drive. As for bugs, you may find some Baetis and midge hatching in the late afternoons. Still, nymphing will produce the most consistent action. Try small beaded nymphs below a dry or small foam indicator and watch for the subtle winter takes. Once you catch a fish, rest the hole for a few minutes and get back after it.

South Fork of the Boise
The flows appear to be holding at 300 CFS. The stormy weather in the forecast may make travel into the canyon dicey. If you go, take a 4X4 with studded snow tires and chains, and be well stocked with food and blankets. While the hatch of midge and Baetis is sporadic, big fish can still be found during the warmest times of the day either rising or holding in classic winter water willing to rise. The nymphing remains most productive.

Big Wood & Warm Springs: Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | High Vis Adams | Iron Lotus | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | Bullet Quill | Hot Rib Hare’s Ear | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Duracell Jig | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince

Silver Creek: Harrop’s Baetis | Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Iron Lotus | Bullet French Nymph | Quilldigon | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Pine Squirrel Leech

Big Lost: Harrop’s Baetis | Gulper Special Olive | High Vis Adams | Griffiths Gnats | Iron Lotus | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | Bullet Quill | Hot Rib Hare’s Ear | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Duracell Jig | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince | Mops

South Fork of the Boise: Harrop’s Baetis | Gulper Special Olive | High Vis Adams | Elk Hair Caddis | Chubby Chernobyl | Ant CFO Black | Iron Lotus | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | Bullet Quill | Hot Rib Hare’s Ear | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Duracell Jig | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince | Mops

 

Silver Creek
Big Wood
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise
Salmon River
105 cfs
120 cfs
77.4 cfs
308 cfs
992 cfs