“…Ignorance is one of the most crucial pieces of equipment any fly fisher will ever own.” ~David James Duncan
While it is a good idea to head to the river equipped with knowledge of the current conditions (the very reason one might read this report), it is also wise to cast preconceptions aside. Fishing with established expectations often leaves an angler unsatisfied. Instead, take with you the Zen Buddhist notion of Shoshin, a “beginner’s mind.” Being open to all the possibilities of the day is the most crucial piece of equipment an angler can own.
Good news for anglers! Effective January 1, the catch-and-release season will be lengthened to March 31 on two sections (between Highway 93 upstream to bridge near milepost 187.2 on Highway 20) and implement a catch-and-release season from December 1 through March 31 on one section (bridge near milepost 187.2 on Highway 20 upstream to Kilpatrick Bridge). The Creek in winter will have a brief window of surface activity during the warmest part of the day, but slow drifted zebra midge or leech patterns pulled with a slow retrieve will be most productive.
As we head into February, the Winter Midge hatch will continue to strengthen, especially on cloudy days. This time of year, the trout tend to feed voraciously when the midge are out in anticipation of the spring spawn. January has been warmer than average and much of the ice that choked up portions of the river at the turn of the new year has dissipated; nevertheless, anglers should still focus their fishing efforts below the Warm Springs confluence to just below the Catch and Release Bridge south of town. Look for classic winter holding water during the afternoon hours and you are sure to find fish feeding on all stages of Winter Midge. For dries, have a selection of 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.
The Lost Below Mackay
As the days get longer, a road trip to this amazing tailwater is time well spent. The flows are holding steady at 137 CFS. In the afternoon, good numbers of midge are hatching. For flies, bring a good assortment of Zebra Midge, Brassies, and other attractor nymphs like Rainbow Warriors or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 to 22.
South Fork of the Boise
Hatches are sporadic at the moment, but should get more consistent as the days get longer. It is no secret that some of the best angling days of the year on this magnificent tailwater are in February and March. Seek out deeper runs with ample structure or seams along dancing water and you will find fish looking up. Standard Baetis and adult midge patterns work well. For nymph fishermen, try dry dropper or Euro Style rigs in the seams and tail outs. If this doesn’t get you into some trout, you will certainly be able to find a decent number of whitefish to keep you busy.
Back on Dec. 7th, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission came to an agreement to keep the steelhead season open after several environmental groups threatened to sue. The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was slated to approve Idaho’s steelhead fisheries plan under the Endangered Species Act and had until March 15th to do so. However, the application to correct the expired permit is in limbo due to the government shutdown. At the moment, the season will remain open until the March 15th cutoff, but after that…we will keep you posted.
Silver Creek Flies: Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Pheasant Tails | Baetis Nymphs | Leech Patterns | Streamers
Big Wood, Big Lost: Rubber Legged Stones | Iron Lotus | Pheasant Tails | Bishop’s Dynamite |Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince | Streamers
South Fork of the Boise Flies: Baetis | Adult Midge | Rubber Legged Stones | Zebra Midge | Caddis Larva | Flash Back Pheasant tails | King Prince | Streamers
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise