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“To crave the result but not the process, is to guarantee disappointment.”

– James Clear

In winter, leaky waders can end the day. The wrong traction can cause a slip. Wading boots that are too tight can lead to cold toes. Icey guides can break a rod. Too many layers and you sweat. Too few layers and you shiver. Cold fingers and you struggle to tie on a fly. To guarantee success, winter angler’s must crave the process.

Silver Creek
The Nature Conservancy portion of Silver Creek is closed; however, the Creek from Kilpatrick Bridge down through Point of Rocks will remain open until the end of March. On mild days, layer up and put on your 4 mm neoprene waders for some float tubing in the pond. During the most pleasant time of day a midge hatch will occur and bring trout to the surface. Otherwise, try slow swinging leeches or dead drifting small midge patterns.

Big Wood
The Wood really begins to shine this time of year. As we approach March, the winter midge action can be fantastic. The recent warming trend (relative to January’s freeze) has opened up the river and most of the ice has melted away allowing anglers to spread out both above and below the confluence of Warm Springs. Of course, you should still be wary of the ice along the edges. In the right spots, you may find a brief window of intense surface feeding during the warmest time of the day. For these trout, tiny trailing shuck midge patterns tied to 6 or 6.5 tippet is a good approach. Sometimes a non-beaded midge tied on a short dropper off a high vis dry can work as well. Depending on the water type, a simple dry dropper rig with a beaded midge might be best. If the water is deep, rigging an indicator and running a double nymph rig can be productive.

The Big Lost
If you have time for a full day of fishing make the trek through Arco and up to the town of Mackay to the Lower Lost. With the low, cold water, the trout will congregate in the deeper runs. Depending on the day, a strong midge hatch should occur in the late afternoon and bring fish up. However, nymphing with small flies and light tippet is most productive.

South Fork of the Boise
The sun is hanging a tad longer each day over the canyon rim triggering a decent midge hatch. Seek the slow deep runs and scan the seams for subtle surface feeders. For tackle, try small midge imitations and fine tippet to fool these selective trout. There are plenty of white fish willing to eat a beaded nymph as well. As always, don’t go without the proper vehicle and winter accessories: a 4-wheel drive, chains, sleeping bag, extra food and water.

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 89.8 cfs
Big Wood 135 cfs
The Lost Below Mackay 116 cfs
Salmon 398 cfs
South Fork of the Boise 295 cfs