“I fish because I love to; because I love the environs where fish are found, which are invariably beautiful…and, finally not because I regard fishing as being so terribly important but because I suspect that so many of the other concerns of men are equally important—and not nearly so much fun.” – Robert Traver
Chief amid the concerns of anglers should be protecting the environs where fish are found for future generations. Do this, and all the other “not so fun” concerns will take care of themselves.
The Big Wood
February is spectacular on the Wood. With the longer days and the mild January temperatures, much of the Wood is fishable from Lake Creek north of Ketchum all the way down south to Hailey and Bellevue. Typically, the winter midge hatch really gets rolling this time of year. To be prepared, have a good assortment of midge patterns spanning every stage of this abundant insect’s life: trailing shuck midge, Griffiths Gnats, and high vis parachute midge patterns in size 18- 24. If no surface activity can be found, be prepared to fish dry dropper or Euro-style. This is also a good time to swing black, olive, or brown Woolly Buggers to imitate the Big Wood Sculpin.
If you plan on fishing the Creek, remember the Nature Conservancy portion is closed. However, the river downstream of Kilpatrick Bridge remains open. The fishing has been fair around the Point of Rocks and Willows access. Focus on the long slow runs with a black or olive leech pattern or slow drift nymphs through likely holding water. On warmer days, you might consider putting a tube in Kilpatrick Pond, but only do this if you have the proper layers to stay warm. Also, on pleasant days you may bring some fish to the surface feeding on midge.
South Fork of the Boise
The daytime highs this January were above average which dissipated much of the ice in the South Fork Canyon; however, this left the side roads muddy. The snow line could drop with any passing storm, so be ready with chains and a 4-wheel drive if you go. The river is holding steady at 299 CFS and will remain at this level until April or May. Remember, the South Fork closes the end of March until opening day in May. The next two months can be fantastic! Dries can be hit or miss but those willing to dead drift a nymph or swing a streamer will be rewarded.
The Lost Below Mackay
The flows are up a tad to 177 CFS and the fishing is very good. Since this is a tailwater, these fish tend to spawn earlier than the fish on the Wood; while we are not seeing any redds at the moment (and won’t until March) these fish are feeding with abandon. Midge, along with a few BWO, can be found during mild afternoons. For flies, bring a good assortment of midge, Baetis, and other attractor nymphs.
South Fork of the Boise: Midge | Baetis | Iron Lotus | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Duracell Jig 12-18 | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Stone Daddy 8 | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince
Silver Creek: Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Iron Lotus | Leech Patterns | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Big Lost, Big Wood and Tributaries: Beatis | Midge | Golden Stone | Buggers | Bishop’s Dynamite | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Jake’s Perdigon | Rainbow Warrior | King Prince Nymph | DB Zebra Midge | Quildigons | Frenchie
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise