“Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”
– Bruce Lee
In fishing, as in life, failures make for epic stories. And reasons to return for another glorious attempt. The only crime is not to fish.
There is not a lot of snow on the valley floor making access to the river easy. The unseasonably warm weather has allowed anglers to fish up and down the Wood without much concern about ice build up. Because of this, it is easy to spread out and find solitude. However, more wet weather is in the forecast, hopefully in the form of snow. Still, don’t bother hitting the water until around noon and dress with layers so you can adjust to the changing air temps and conditions. You will notice the fishing begins to slow down around three, and by five it can completely shut down. Fly choice this time of year is simple. When probing classic winter water, use small (16 or 18) beaded nymphs in tandem with a larger stonefly nymph or caddis larva pattern. Many fish this time of year will be feeding just beneath the surface. You might try a non-beaded nymph trailed behind a high-vis dry with 6x or 6.5x for these picky feeders.
Silver Creek below Kilpatrick Bridge remains open until the end of March. There is very little ice on the edges of the Creek and access is easy. Some brave anglers are even floating in the Pond. Swinging streamers or dead-drifting small midge patterns will be your best options for success.
The Lost Below Mackay
February on the lower Lost can be fantastic. It takes a bit of windshield time (two hours) through Arco and up to Mackay, but it is worth the drive. Approach this water with the same tactics as you would use on the Wood. With the water levels as low as they are, you will find concentrations of fish in classic winter water.
South Fork of the Boise
Midge and Baetis hatches can be decent this time of year, and 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 will find fish looking up. Standard Baetis and adult midge patterns on fine tippet 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.
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
|The Lost Below Mackay
|South Fork of the Boise