“It is utterly soothing to fly fish for trout. All other considerations or worries drift away and you couldn’t keep them close if you wanted. Perhaps it’s standing thigh deep in a river with the water passing at the exact but varying speed of life. You easily recognize this mortality and it dissipates into the landscape.”
– Jim Harrison
In the mind, heart, and imagination of the angler, one is always standing thigh deep in a river.
The Big Wood
March is a wonderful time on the Wood. With longer days and temperatures above freezing, the fishing can be spectacular. At the moment, there is good access on the river from Bellevue all the way up to Lake Creek. It is still best to be on the water from about midday till 4 PM; once the sun starts to drop behind the ridge, the fishing slows down considerably. For flies, carry a variety of midge patterns in sizes 16 to 24. When the surface action is on, try a double dry set up with an easy to see dry trailed by a smaller midge imitation. Once the fish seem to wise up, try switching the small fly in this tandem rig to the non-beaded brassie, which will ride just below the surface film. If you can’t find any surface activity try a dry dropper rig. Going deep in the right bucket with a double rig and an indicator or Euro Nymphing is worth a try.
While the Nature Conservancy is closed, anglers can find decent fishing from Kilpatrick Bridge down. 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.
The Big Lost Below Mackay
At 100 CFS you can really get a sense of how many fish are in this river. The deeper buckets are loaded with trout. You might even see some fish moving into shallow riffles to feed. Keep in mind, the bows in the Lost seem to start their spawn earlier than the other rivers in the area; leave these fish be, as there are plenty of other trout to pursue. The mild weather of late has made for some great hatch activity of both Baetis and Midge in the afternoon. The same assortment of flies you would use on the Wood will work here as well.
South Fork of the Boise
This fishery, along with the Wood and the Creek, closes on the last day of March, so get out while you can. You will find midge and some Baetis hatching during the warmest part of the day with some nice trout scattered about feeding. The South Fork is beautiful this time of year and worth the trip. Take your traditional tailwaters midge and Baetis patterns if you go head hunting or nymph the riffles with stoneflies and beaded midge patterns.
Upper Salmon Steelhead
The Sawtooth Fish Hatchery is not yet reporting, but the Pahsimeroi Fish Hatchery has recorded 1 return as of the 26th of February. Obviously, it is a tad early to go; however, it is not too early to get your tackle in order.
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||137 cfs|
|Big Wood||110 cfs|
|The Big Lost||103 cfs|
|South Fork of the Boise||304 cfs|
|Salmon River||1070 cfs|