“It is spring again. The earth is like a child that knows poems by heart.”
– Rainer Maria Rilke
The ode of the river beckons the angler to apprehend the flowing stanzas of riffles, pools, and runs. And the trout dance to the measured rhythm of the midge. An angler with an open heart and eyes will find poetry everywhere.
The Big Wood
March has been dry. The flows are up a bit as the low altitude snow is starting to melt. Despite the spring-like weather, the fish are still concentrated in the slower, winter holding water. The upside of the warm weather, the Winter Midge has been strong. If you find a concentration of midge hatching, you will find rising fish starting in the 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 Golden Stone nymph followed by a smaller nymph like a Zebra midge. A simple rig with a high-vis dry or small indicator with a trailing small nymph is very effective.
With warmer days in the forecast, you might consider putting a tube in Kilpatrick Pond or walking 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.
The Big Lost Below Mackay
Flows are steady at 108 CFS. Remember, the Lost, unlike the Wood, Creek, and the South Fork, is open year-round. While it is hard to predict, the flows typically remain wadable into April and sometimes May depending on run-off. Since Trail Creek Summit is closed, you will still need to drive to Mackay via Craters of the Moon and Arco, 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 surface feeding trout. For flies, bring the same assortment of midge as well as Baetis dries and nymphs you might use on the Creek or Wood.
South Fork of the Boise
Like the Wood, the South Fork closes at the end of the month. The flows remain steady at 305 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.
Upper Salmon Steelhead
The Sawtooth Fish Hatchery is not reporting any hatchery returns; however, the Pahsimeroi Fish Hatchery has recorded 32 returns as of the 15th of March. If you would like to book a guide for the chance to catch a steelhead this spring, do so sooner than later. The steelhead season ends April 30th and the upper Salmon can easily blow out with spring run off as early as mid April.
Big Wood: Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Bullet French Nymph | Lite Brite Perdigons | Mayhem Midge | Perdichigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Silver Creek: Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Bullet French Nymph | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Pine Squirrel Leech
Big Lost: High Vis Adams | Griffiths Gnats | Mayhem Midge | Perdichigons | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Duracell Jig | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
South Fork of the Boise: Gulper Special Olive | High Vis Adams | Mayhem Midge | Perdichigons | Bullet French Nymph | Lite Brite Perdigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
|Silver Creek||176 cfs|
|Big Wood||134 cfs|
|The Big Lost||108 cfs|
|South Fork of the Boise||304 cfs|
|Salmon River||1070 cfs|