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Image: Ed Northen

“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

It was the best of March weather, it was the worst of March weather. And all within ten minutes. While fishing, be sure to stack your layers wisely in preparation for the vicissitudes of the season.

Big Wood
We are heading for a round of wet weather to end February. Hopefully, March will bring more snow as well. The predictable daily midge activity should continue with the blustery days and mild temperatures in the forecast. March is typically a great month for dry fly enthusiasts on the Wood. Of course, fish during the most pleasant time of day, maybe after an early morning ski. Be sure to have a good supply of midge patterns in sizes 16 to 24: Trailing Shuck Midge, Griffiths Gnat, Parachute Adams, beaded Zebra Midge, as well as non-beaded midge patterns. 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 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 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 or Euro style rig.

Silver Creek
This is a great time to be on the Creek. Remember, the Nature Conservancy remains closed until opening day, but the lower Creek from Kilpatrick Bridge down is open until the end of March. If you go, watch for 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. For those willing to brave the cold water temperatures, tubing in Kilpatrick Pond is a good option.

The Lost Below Mackay
With the days getting longer, this is the place to be. Get an early start and spend the whole day fishing for a nice break from the slopes. It takes over two hours to make the trip through Craters of the Moon, Arco, and up to the town of Mackay. The fishing can be fantastic this time of year and with the low flows (88 CFS) you will find plenty of fish concentrated in the slow buckets and riffles. Midge can be prolific on overcast days. Remember, the rainbows and cutbows spawn early on this river, so please wade carefully and avoid redds.

South Fork of the Boise
March on this tailwater fishery can be some of the best fishing of the season. The flows are holding steady at 300 CFS at the moment. There is a distinct possibility that flows will go up towards the middle of March as Anderson is still quite full from last year. In short, be sure to check the flows before you go. Plan on nymphing 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
As of Monday, February 26th , the Pahsimeori Hatchery has trapped 30 hatchery steelhead and catch rates upstream of there are improving weekly. No fish have made it to the Sawtooth Hatchery yet, but this is a good start to the season. Come on by the shop for the latest updates and grab some flies.

Silver Creek: Beatis Nymphs | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Small Pheasant Tails | Streamers

Big Wood: Adult Midge | Miller’s +1 | Blowtorch | Bishop’s Dynamite | Mops and Mini Mopcicles | Red Neck Midge | DD Midge | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive

Big Lost: Adult Midge | Miller’s +1 | Blowtorch | Bishop’s Dynamite | Mops and Mini Mopcicles | Red Neck Midge | DD Midge | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Streamers

South Fork of the Boise: Baetis | Midge | Duracell | French Nymph | Perdigons | San Juan Worm | Pat’s Rubber Leg Stone




Silver Creek 170 cfs
Big Wood 166 cfs
The Lost Below Mackay 82 cfs
Salmon 418 cfs
South Fork of the Boise 304 cfs