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“The river is everywhere.”

– Herman Hesse, Siddhartha

What will become the river this spring, summer, and fall now blankets the mountains. And despite the extended dry period, the snowpack remains just above 100% of average in the Big Wood, Big Lost, and Little Wood drainages. Still, much of what the river will be depends on March, April, and May.

Silver Creek
While the Nature Conservancy remains closed until opening day, the lower Creek from Kilpatrick Bridge down is open until the end of March. If you go, know that there will be a brief window of surface activity during the warmest part of the day, but the most effective methods will be a slow drifted zebra midge or swinging leech patterns with a slow retrieve. Tubing in Kilpatrick Pond on warm days may be an option for those willing to brave the cold water temperatures.

Big Wood
We are heading for a cold spell to end February, but daytime highs should moderate as March rolls in. Hopefully, March will bring more snow as well. The daily midge activity should pick up with the warmer temperatures in the forecast. Fish during the most pleasant time of day and be sure to have a good supply of midge patterns in sizes 16 to 24: Trailing Shuck Midge, Griffiths Gnats, Parachute Adams, beaded Zebra Midge, non-beaded midge patterns. If you find surface activity, try a double dry setup with an easy-to-see dry trailed by a smaller midge imitation. This is a great option in low light conditions and on overcast days. Another option is to switch the small dry in the aforementioned tandem rig to the non-beaded midge, which will ride just below the surface film and fool picky trout. Also, using a wispy thin 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 or Euro-style.

The Lost Below Mackay
With Trail Creek Pass closed, it takes over two hours to make the trip through Craters of the Moon, Arco, and up to the town of Mackay. With the days getting longer, this is a good option. The fishing can be productive this time of year and with the low flows (70 CFS) you will find plenty of fish in the slow buckets. Midge can be prolific on overcast days. Keep in mind that the rainbows and cutbows tend to spawn early on this river, so please wade carefully.

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 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.

The Salmon
Not much to report in this department yet; however, the fish do tend to show up towards the end of March. Stay tuned.

Silver Creek flies: Adult Midge | Zebra Midge | Quilldigon | Streamers

Big Wood flies: Midge | Bullet French Nymph | Roza Perdigons | Sexy Walts | Quilldigon | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Streamers

Big Lost flies: Baetis | Midge | Sexy Walts | Bullet French Nymph | Lite Brite Perdigons | Pheasant Tail | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Pat’s Rubber Legs

South Fork of the Boise flies: Baetis | Midge | Sexy Walts | Bullet French Nymph | Lite Brite Perdigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive



Silver Creek 93.2 cfs
Big Wood 131 cfs
The Big Lost 71.7 cfs
Salmon River 845 cfs
South Fork of the Boise 308 cfs