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“February is the border between winter and spring.”

– Terri Guillemets

January is the August of winter: long, stagnant, dry. That makes February like September. Fishing is always better during the border months.

Silver Creek
Once the inversion breaks it would be worth a look at the Creek. The stretch below Kilpatrick Bridge remains open until the end of March. Try nymphing through the slow deep buckets. You might find swinging black and olive leech patterns deep and slow to be productive.

Big Wood
The cold, inverted temperatures in the Valley have much of the river choked with ice. To find open water, focus your attention below the confluence of Warm Springs and above the East Fork. The inversion should break come February and it won’t take long for more water to open up. In the meanwhile, don’t bother hitting the river until around noon and be done once the sun disappears behind the mountain. Fly choice this time of year is simple. When probing the classic winter water, try small beaded midge patterns. The fish also like a big meal this time of year so you might try a stonefly nymph or a streamer. When you find rising trout, closely observe their feeding behavior. Many fish this time of year will be feeding just beneath the surface. Try a non beaded midge trailed behind a high vis dry with 6x or 6.5x for these picky feeders. If they are on the surface, a Griffiths Gnat or a Trailing Shuck Midge are a good choice. Try fishing these hard-to-see flies behind a larger dry to help with visibility.

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 certainly 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.

South Fork of the Boise
Hatches can be hit or miss this time of year, but should become more consistent as the sun hangs above the canyon rim a little longer each day. Seek out deeper runs with ample structure or seams along dancing water and you may 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 tailouts. If this doesn’t get you into some trout, you will certainly be able to find a multitude of whitefish to keep your rod bent. As always, travel with a winter survival kit including a sleeping bag, chains, extra food, water and whiskey when venturing into this canyon.

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 98.3 cfs
Big Wood 110 cfs
The Big Lost 71.1 cfs
Salmon River 862 cfs
South Fork of the Boise 291 cfs