“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
– John Steinbeck
Thank you seasons for reminding us to be grateful for both the deep cold of winter and the sweet heat of summer. Either way, the fishing is good.
While the Nature Conservancy portion of Silver Creek is closed, the Creek from Kilpatrick Bridge down through Point of Rocks remains open until the end of March. If we get some mild days, layer up and put on your 4 mm neoprene waders for some float tubing in the pond. During the pleasant time of day a modest midge hatch will occur and a few trout will feed on the surface. Otherwise, try slow swinging leeches or dead drifting small midge patterns.
When bitter cold temperatures settle in the Valley, it is best to focus your fishing from the confluence of Warm Springs downriver to just above the East Fork confluence. Milder weather is in the forecast and it won’t take long for more water to open up as we head into February. In the meanwhile, don’t bother hitting the river until around noon and be done once the sun disappears behind the mountain. Keep your fly choice simple; carry a collection of small beaded midge patterns and midge dries. The fish also like a big meal this time of year so you might try a stonefly nymph or a streamer. When you find rising trout, closely observe their feeding behavior. Many fish this time of year will be feeding just beneath the surface. Try a non beaded midge trailed behind a high vis dry with 6x or 6.5x for these fickle feeders.
The Big Lost
With the days getting noticeably longer, the Lower Lost River is a good option. Since trail Creek Pass is closed, it takes about two hours to make the trip through Arco and up to the town of Mackay. With the low winter flows the trout congregate in the deep runs below dancing water. You will find a few midge hatching late in the day, but nymphing with small flies and light tippet is most productive.
South Fork of the Boise
The South Fork in February is fantastic. Pick a mild day and make the hour and a half trek. It is advisable to have a 4-wheel drive and chains to make it down and back out of the canyon as the road can be slick. While fishing, seek the slow deep runs and scan the seams for subtle rises before the sun dips below the canyon rim. If you can find surface feeders, try small midge imitations matched with a stonefly nymph beneath an indicator. There are plenty of white fish to keep you entertained.
Big Wood: Midge | Perdigons | 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 | Perdigons | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
South Fork of the Boise: Midge | Perdigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs
|Silver Creek||171 cfs|
|Big Wood||133 cfs|
|The Lost Below Mackay||113 cfs|
|South Fork of the Boise||304 cfs|