“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
– Bruce Lee
Like the water resting on the mountain peaks waiting to become rivers, the angler must exercise patience in the spring. The end of May will come…let it flow.
Silver Creek/ Big Wood/ South Fork of the Boise
These three rivers, and all their tributaries, are closed as of the 1st of April until Memorial weekend.
The Big Lost Below Mackay
With most of the moving water in the area closed for two months, the Lost is a good option. Definitely worth the two-hour drive from Ketchum, through Craters of the Moon, to Arco, and up to Mackay. The flows are steady at 108 CFS and should hold through April. You can expect decent hatches of both Baetis and Midge. The midge are the most prolific of the two bugs, hatching throughout the day with an insurgence of Baetis as the day warms up. 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 trailing nymphs or emmergers are very effective. Keep in mind, many fish are on redds spawning in the shallow water this time of year. Please leave these fish alone and watch your step.
Upper Salmon Steelhead
The Sawtooth Fish Hatchery is reporting 120 returns as of March 29th and the Pahsimeroi Fish Hatchery has recorded 580. The steelhead season ends April 30th and the upper Salmon can easily blow out with spring run off as early as mid-April.
The ice is thawing on many of the local reservoirs, and they will be worth a visit over the next few weeks. Morman, Mackay, the Little Wood, and Magic should all be on your radar. All can be fished either from the bank or from a float tube. Another option, a bit farther down the road, is the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. This fishery has been closed over the last year due to Covid but has opened this spring to accept visitors once again. If you have a day or two, this is definitely worth the trip. 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 for an additional fee. As for techniques, try pulling a team of small leech patterns in black, brown, or olive on an intermediate or type 3 or 5 sinking line. Often spring trout are feeding on Daphnia, aka freshwater plankton, and a leech is a welcome meal. Sheep Creek Specials always seem to work in Duck Valley. Also, suspending a series of nymphs or chironomids at the right depth can also be effective. Come on by the shop and we can set you up.
Big Lost: High Vis Adams | Griffiths Gnats | Midge Emerger | 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
Stillwater: Balance Leeches | Sheep Creek Special | Woolly Buggers | Seal Buggers | Chironomids | Damsel Nymphs | Prince Nymphs
|Silver Creek||158 cfs|
|Big Wood||156 cfs|
|The Big Lost||108 cfs|
|South Fork of the Boise||304 cfs|
|Salmon River||1100 cfs|