“Our life is March weather, savage and serene in one hour.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
March is often personified by sentimental poets, and for good reason; like life, it is unpredictable. But one thing is certain. At March’s end, the Big Wood and South Fork will close for the season. So even if the weather turns savage, then serene, then savage again, dress for the conditions with lots of layers and get to the river for some of the best fishing of the year.
The Creek is closed for the season. Opening day is May 28th.
THE BIG WOOD
The first half of March has been wet depositing a ton of new snow in the mountains and sometimes rain to the Valley floor. The recent cooler temps have brought the snow levels down and, as a result, the Wood is dropping from the peak flows of 330 CFS to where is is currently holding at 270 CFS. It should continue to drop as we head into a drier and cooler weather pattern this week. When looking for places to wet your line, keep in mind the fish are still concentrated in the slower, winter holding water. The Winter Midge has been sporadic, but you may find some rising fish in the late afternoon so be sure to have a good selection of trailing shuck midge or a Griffith’s Gnat from size18 to 22 and use light tippet in 6 or 6.5X. The most productive method remains nymphing. When fishing deep, use a double rig with a Rubber Leg Stone or a large Prince Nymph followed by a smaller nymph like a Zebra midge, Bishop’s Dynamite, or Rainbow Warrior. A simple rig with a high-vis dry or small indicator with a trailing small nymph is very effective as well when fishing seams and tailouts.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
Like the Wood, the South Fork closes the end of the month. Most locals know, March is the best fishing of the year on this tailwater fishery. Nymphing the seams and tailouts is your best chance of success, with the chance of finding surface feeders once the sun has warmed the water enough to get the midge and Baetis active. If you are having trouble with the trout, the whitefish will keep your rod bent all day.
BIG LOST BELOW MACKAY
The Lost, unlike the Wood an the South Fork, is open year round and the flows should remain around 96 CFS well into April and even May. Since Trail Creek Summit is closed, you will still need to drive to Mackay via Craters of the Moon, but it is worth the trip. March on the Lower Lost can be spectacular. There will be a mix of Baetis and Midge, and like the Wood, it is best to start the day fishing subsurface, and as the day warms up start looking for heads. For flies, bring the same assortment of midge and Baetis dries and nymphs you might use on the Creek or the Wood. Dry dropper rigs with a trailing Zebra Midge, Brassies, or an attractor nymphs like Rainbow Warriors or Bishop’s Dynamite in size 16 to 22 is very effective.
THE SALMON RIVER
A few steelhead have been spotted around the Stanley area, but the best opportunities at the moment will come between Clayton and Challis. The cooler weather in the forecast should slow down the early run off caused by last weeks rain and stabilize the flows making the conditions perfect. Still, before you make the trip over the hill, drop on by the shop and we can give you the latest information on the water and the fish locations. Also, we have a complete selection of steelhead flies, single handed, switch and Spey casting rods, as well as both Scandi and Skagit style lines.
South Fork of the Boise