“Fishing is a condition of the mind wherein one cannot possibly have a bad time.” ~Zane Grey
To the outside observer, the motionless angler standing still as a rock, midriver seemed miserable. They could see the snow covering the mountain down to the bank and the steel gray glare on the water’s surface. They felt a sympathetic chill. What they did not see where the midge hovering over the surface and the dimple of noses. Nor did they see the contentment on the angler’s countenance. To be an angler in winter is to be misunderstood.
If you have not heard, the Creek has new regulations. Effective January 1, the catch-and-release season will be lengthened to March 31 on two sections (between Highway 93 upstream to the 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.
After the mild fishing pressure of the holidays, seeing another angler on the Wood for the rest of January should be rare. Forecasters are calling for more snow and warmer than average temperatures for the duration of the month; perfect fishing weather. The best fishing window is still from noon till 3 and some winter midge are getting active. However, nymphing is most productive this time of year. Try small flies like beaded red, black, or green DB Zebra Midge in size 16-22, Rainbow Warriors, or Bishop’s Dynamites in size 16 and 18. Surprisingly, large nymphs will also work. Try Rubber Leg Stones in size 12, Beaded Pheasant Tails in size 14, or Prince Nymphs in size 12 or 14. Focus your efforts on the slow deep water and generally where you find one fish there will be many others.
The Lost Below Mackay
It takes a little over 2 hours to make the road trip from Ketchum to Mackay by way Craters of the Moon and Arco…but the fishing is well worth it. Technique wise, fish this much like the Wood with small midge patterns and even some Baetis on snowy, cloudy days. Try small Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamites and DB Zebra Midge along with a small indicator in the shallow water or a double nymph rig Euro Style in the deeper runs.
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. As always, take a four-wheel drive vehicle with studded snow tires and chains and check the weather before you go. When fishing, look for the deep, slow runs to find the best activity and have a variety of beaded and non-beaded midge patterns as well as caddis larva, stoneflies, and San Juan Worms. A persistent angler may even find some fish feeding on the surface during the prime fishing window between 1 and 3.
While slow presently, the steelhead action should pick up as the days get longer and we get closer to March and April. In the meanwhile, come on in and let us help you get set up. We have a great selection of steelhead flies, lines, and two-hand rods.
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