“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ~ Charles Dickens
This time of year, the temperature can swing 20 to 30 degrees from sun up to sun down. The key to staying comfortable on the water: layering. Since the water is still frigid, wear a double layer of socks and size up on your wading boots to keep your toes comfortable. Under your waders wear a pair of SIMMS lightweight long underwear and a pair of fleece pants. The top layering is critical as this is where you can add or shed when needed throughout the day. On the bottom, wear a SIMMS lightweight long underwear top and a mid-weight fleece. Top it off with a Windstopper fleece jacket or a Patagonia Down-sweater. And don’t forget a hat; regulating your heat as you move around the river can be as simple as taking off your hat.
The fishing below the Highway 20 bridge will close the end of February, so get out while you can. For access, go to the Point of Rocks or Willows and fish a leech pattern on the swing or slow drift a Zebra Midge or other beaded nymph pattern suspended beneath an indicator through the deeper buckets. The entire Creek will reopen the end of May.
THE BIG WOOD
The recent warming trend has brought flows on the Wood up, but the water is still running clear. Keep your eyes on the flows as we are experiencing some unseasonable warm weather at the moment. The warmer temps can make for some very comfortable fishing in the afternoon, but it could also start to turn the water off color. The Winter Midge activity should also pick up with the warmer temperatures in the forecast. Hit the water with a good supply of midge patterns in sizes 16 to 24; Trailing Shuck Midge, Griffiths Gnats, Parachute Adams, beaded Zebra Midge, non-beaded Brassies all work well. If you find surface activity, try a double dry set up with an easy to see dry trailed by a smaller midge imitation. This is a great option in low light conditions. Another option is to switch the small dry in the aforementioned tandem rig to the non beaded brassie, which will ride just below the surface film and fool picky trout. Also, using light Trouthunter tippet in size 6 or 6.5 X is a good choice for selective trout. Of course, for those times when nothing is happening on the surface, try a dry dropper rig with a beaded zebra midge, Rainbow Warrior, or a Bishop’s Dynamite. Deep nymphing will also produce with a double rig and an indicator or Euro Nymphing. For an anchor fly, use a Rubber Leg Stone, a large beaded Prince or Pheasant Tail in sizes 8-14.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
February and March on this tailwater fishery can be some of the best fishing of the season. The flows are holding steady right at 300 CFS and should remain there through the end of March when the river closes for the season. Plan on nymphing the seams and tail outs, with the chance of finding some surface feeders once the sun has warmed the water enough to get the midge and Baetis active. If you are having trouble with the trout the white fish should keep you entertained. For nymphs, use a combo rig of a large Rubber Legged Stone, Caddis, or SanJuan Worm followed by a small Zebra Midge or Pheasant Tail in size 18 to 22. And for dries, Trailing Shuck Midge and Griffith’s Gnats in size 18, 20, and 22 as well as a few BWO duns and emergers in size 20 to 24 should be sufficient.
BIG LOST BELOW MACKAY
As spring approaches, the fishing window continues to increases making it worth the drive up to Mackay for a day of fly fishing. Both the Midge and Baetis hatches will pick up momentum as we head into March, and it is a good idea to be prepared for both bugs to be on the water. When nymphing, I recommend small Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamites and Zebra Midge in size 16-20 and a small indicator or high visibility dry. For deeper runs, try a double nymph rig with a larger fly like a San Juan Worm, Large Stone fly, or Prince nymph trailed by a small nymph. For dries have a good supply of small midge and Baetis and use Trouthunter 6.5X to deceive these selective trout.
South Fork of the Boise