“When I’m fishing and hunting with the right attitude, I reenter the woods and river with a moment-by-moment sense of the glories of creation, of the natural world as a living fabric of existence, so that I’m both young again but also 70,000 years old.”
—Jim Harrison from Field & Stream, 2003
Thank you Mr. Harrison for your inspirational life and words. You remind us of the importance of staying connected to the woods and the river. Even with the Big Wood and South Fork of the Boise closing the end of March until the end of May, our fishing opportunities are not done. There are still plenty of angling options available, if you are willing to head out of town. The ice is coming off many of our local reservoirs and the Steelhead are in the upper Salmon River. And of course, the Big Lost is open year round. There is no time like the present to get outside and experience the glories of creation.
THE SALMON RIVER
To date, 671 Steelhead have made it to the Sawtooth Hatchery and they are sporadically spread through out the entire river from above Stanley on down to Clayton. Thanks to some cool evening temps, the river is low and clear; however, this can change quickly. It is always best to check with us before you commit to driving over the summit. In the smaller, upper part of the river, sight fishing with a single handed rod works well and on the lower river in the classic wide steelhead runs it is fun to swing flies with a Switch or Spey rod. Either way, now is the time to go, as this fishery only stays open till the end of April. It also happens that the Salmon around Stanley is a good rainbow, cutthroat, bull, and whitefish fishery. You can target these fish for a change of pace.
BIG LOST BELOW MACKAY
With the Big Wood closing for two months, the Lost is your best option for trout. The flows are holding steady at 96 CFS and should remain there until the end of April. Both midge and Baetis will be present with midge dominating the early action and then transitioning into BWO later in the day. For midge patterns, have a good selection of Griffith’s Gnats in size 18 to 22 as well as Trailing Shuck Midge in the same size. For Baetis, try Harrop’s Parachute Baetis and a simple High Vis Parachute Baetis for when the light goes flat in size 18 and 20. Before the hatch starts try small Rainbow Warriors, Bishop’s Dynamites, Zebra Midge, or Pheasant Tail nymphs in size 16-20 fished below a small indicator or high visibility dry. You might also try a double nymph rig fished Euro Style through the deeper runs. San Juan Worms, Large Stone Flies, or Prince nymphs trailed by a small nymph can be effective.
The Creek is closed for the season. Opening day is May 28th.
THE BIG WOOD
The Big Wood is now closed for the season, but will reopen, along with Silver Creek, on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend (5/28).
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
The South Fork of the Boise is now closed for the season, but will reopen, along with Silver Creek, on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend (5/28).
The ice is off Magic and float tubing or bank fishing around Myrtle Point can be productive for trout, bass, and perch. When heading to Magic keep in mind, the Fairfield cutoff is still closed, but all other roads are open. Another option is the Duck Valley Indian Reservation which opens to fishing on the 1st of April. This fishery is managed by the Shoshone-Paiute Tribes and has three different reservoirs to pick from: Mountain View, Lake Billy Shaw, and Sheep Creek. For a small fee, you can fish all three and camping facilities are available as well. As for techniques in both locations, try pulling a team of small leech patterns in black, brown or olive on an intermediate or type 3 sinking line. Often spring trout are feeding on Daphnia, aka fresh water plankton, and a leech is a welcome meal. I also like to use Sheep Creek Specials in Duck Valley, or perch colored patterns at Magic. Also, suspending a series of nymphs at the right depth can also be effective at both locations. Come on by the shop and we can set you up.
South Fork of the Boise