“Time flies so fast after youth is past that we cannot accomplish one half the many things we have in mind or indeed one half our duties. The only safe and sensible plan is to make other things give way to the essentials, and the first of these is fly fishing.” ― Theodore Gordon
Choose your metaphor for time: it flies, it flows, it slips away. We spend it, waste it, savor it, or kill it. No matter how you can choose to do time, the best way is to do it in a river with family, friends, flies, and fish. Give way to the essentials.
The Big Wood
The Wood saw a good deal of pressure over the holidays. For the next month, seeing another angler should be rare. With the relatively low snow pack, access has been good, however, forecasters are calling for snow through the middle of the month, so access might become more difficult soon. In the meanwhile, if you go, no need to start early. The best fishing window is from noon till 3. Some winter midge are active, but it is mostly a nymphing scenario this time of year. Both small and large nymphs will work well. Focus your efforts on the slow deep water and generally were you find one fish there will be many others. Remember, winter trout need to be played and released quickly; please learn how to use a Ketchum Release tool.
If you plan on fishing the Creek, remember the Nature Conservancy portion is closed. However, the river downstream of Kilpatrick Bridge remains open. The long slow runs are ideal for swing a black or olive leech pattern or slow drifting nymphs. On warmer days, you might consider putting a tube in the pond, but only do this if you have the proper layers to stay warm. Also, on pleasant days you may see some fish surface feeding on midge.
South Fork of the Boise
January can be a bit slow down in the canyon, but February and March can be some of the best fishing of the winter season. Always take a four-wheel-drive vehicle with studded snow tires and chains and check the weather this time of year. While fishing, look for the deep, slow runs to find the best activity and have a variety of beaded and non-beaded midge. A persistent angler may even find some fish feeding on the surface during the prime fishing window.
The Lost Below Mackay
This is a great place to go if you don’t mind a bit of windshield time. It takes a little over 2 hours to make the trek from Ketchum to Mackay by way Craters of the Moon and Arco…but the fishing can be spectacular. Tactically speaking, fish this much like the Wood with small midge patterns and even some Baetis on snowy, cloudy days. Sometimes these tailwaters fish can be selective and often dropping down in tippet size can make all the difference. Try using light 6.5 Trouthunter fluorocarbon tippet to fool these wily trout.
South Fork of the Boise: Midge | Baetis | Iron Lotus | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Duracell Jig 12-18 | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | Tungsten Nemec Stone | 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