Photo Credit: Bob Knoebel
“To a river, as to any natural force, an obstruction is merely an opportunity. For the river’s nature is to flow”
– Wendell Berry
Last week’s avalanches in Hailey, which temporarily blocked flows on the Wood, served as a reminder of the power of nature and taught a lesson in persistence. As temperatures rise and the stored water releases from the valley floor and mountain tops, the river will again teach; this time it will be the lesson of transformation.
With warmer days in the forecast, you might consider putting a tube in Kilpatrick Pond or snowshoeing along the Creek at Point of Rocks. Drifting small nymphs or slow swinging a leech can be effective. Pleasant spring days may bring some fish to the surface to feed on midge and a smattering of Baetis, so bring your typical Creek arsenal. Remember, the Nature Conservancy is closed; however, the river downstream of Kilpatrick Bridge through Point of Rocks will remain open until the end of March and then close for two months until opening day in May.
March has been a wet month depositing ample new snow in the mountains and the valleys. Be leary of fishing beneath steep slopes along the river, as the avalanche danger is high. Also, keep your eyes on the USGS Water Flows page; the Wood will rise and fall as we move into spring. Look for the fish to be concentrated in the slower, winter holding water, and typically if you find one there will be others. 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, however, remains nymphing.
The Big Lost
Flows are holding steady at 110 CFS. While it is hard to predict, the flows typically remain wadable well into April. However, with the incredible snowpack in the Lost River Range and the low capacity of Mackay reservoir, flows may come up earlier than past years. Of course, 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. 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 are very productive.
South Fork of the Boise
Like the Wood and the Creek, the South Fork closes at the end of the month. The flows are currently around 275 CFS. March can be 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 you busy.
The Salmon River
Cold weather has delayed the steelhead fishing, but stay tuned as temperatures moderate and ice dams break, the fish will start to move.
Big Wood: Midge | Perdigons | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Silver Creek: Midge | Bullet French Nymph | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Pine Squirrel Leech
Big Lost Flies: Midge | Perdigons | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
South Fork of the Boise: Midge | Perdigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs
|Silver Creek||114 cfs|
|Big Wood||138 cfs|
|The Lost Below Mackay||110 cfs|
|South Fork of the Boise||270 cfs|