“We hear nothing so clearly as what comes out of silence.”
– David James Duncan
Fresh snow absorbs noise, rendering a canvas of silence along the river. Add to the composition the crunch of vibram soles, the brush of frosty Gore-tex, the crackle of frozen water, and the swish of rhythmic graphite. In the moment before the take… a symphony of profound stillness comes out of the silence.
The Big Wood
The flows have bumped a bit but remain about 25 CFS below the normal flows for this time of year. Hopefully, the mountains will continue to see snow accumulate, as we are holding at 85% of average at the moment. The challenge on the Wood right now is finding a stretch of river that has not been recently fished due to the limited access along the river. If you are willing to walk away from the beaten path, you are sure to find decent fishing. February and March are typically excellent winter dry fly months as the winter sun hangs a bit longer in the sky each day. The winter midge activity on the Wood can be spectacular especially on cloudy, snowy days. No matter what the day gives you, go with a good supply of midge patterns in sizes 16 to 24. 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. Sometimes switching the small dry in this tandem rig to the non-beaded brassie, which will ride just below the surface film, will fool finicky trout. Also, using light tippet in size 6 or 6.5 X is a good choice for problem fish. Of course, for those times when nothing is happening on the surface, a dry dropper rig with a small, beaded nymph of your choice is effective. Deep nymphing will also produce with a double rig and an indicator or Euro-style.
Silver Creek below Kilpatrick Bridge remains open until the end of March. Snowmelt has brought the river up and flows are normal for this time of year. There may be some surface activity during the warmest part of the day. Still, slow drifting suspended nymph or swinging a lightly weighted bugger off the bank, over the shallow shelves, and through the buckets is the best approach.
The Big Lost Below Mackay
With the longer days, an excursion to the Lost for some outstanding spring fishing is a must. The flows are steady at 100 CFS, making for easy wading. You should see midday midge hatch with a few Baetis as well. The fish are feeding aggressively in preparation for the spring spawn. For flies, bring a good assortment of midge and Baetis dries and nymphs. Dry dropper rigs or Euro-style will catch fish all day.
South Fork of the Boise
The river is holding steady at 300 CFS and typically remains at this level until the river closes at the end of March. This area has seen significant snowfall over the last week and travel in and out of the canyon should be done with caution. Be sure to have chains and emergency supplies. More snow and rain are in the forecast. The fishing is fantastic in late February and March, and this area is definitely worth the drive for a full day of fishing. Surface activity can be unpredictable, but those willing to dead drift a nymph or swing a streamer will be rewarded.
Big Wood: Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Bullet French Nymph | Lite Brite Perdigons | Mayhem Midge | Perdichigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Silver Creek: Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Bullet French Nymph | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Pine Squirrel Leech
Big Lost: High Vis Adams | Griffiths Gnats | Mayhem Midge | Perdichigons | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Duracell Jig | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
South Fork of the Boise: Gulper Special Olive | High Vis Adams | Mayhem Midge | Perdichigons | Bullet French Nymph | Lite Brite Perdigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
|Silver Creek||139 cfs|
|Big Wood||119 cfs|
|The Big Lost||100 cfs|
|South Fork of the Boise||304 cfs|
|Salmon River||1080 cfs|