“There will be days when the fishing is better than one’s most optimistic forecast, others when it is far worse. Either is a gain over just staying home.” ~Roderick Haig-Brown
In less than a month, the Wood and Silver Creek will reopen and the outlook is optimistic. Certainly, all the freestone rivers will continue to be swollen as the mountains still have an above average snowpack. How long the high flows will last is contingent upon on how quickly the season transitions from spring into summertime temperatures. Of course, Silver Creek flows will be good on opening day and throughout the summer. Forecast aside, most die-hard anglers tend to go fishing no matter the weather or the water flows as “either is a gain over just staying home.”
The Big Wood, Silver Creek and the South Fork of the Boise
These rivers and all their tributaries are now closed but will reopen on May 25th. The Big Wood has peaked once at nearly 2000 CFS this spring, but with the snowpack sitting at 116% of average, we can expect higher flows to continue over the next couple months.
The Lost Below Mackay
The flows dropped to under 150CFS last week but are back up 300 CFS; this could mean flows are going to continue to rise. Keep in mind, if the flows exceed 300 CFS, the wading becomes difficult. The Big Lost Basin snowpack is still above average for this time of year at 108%, and the reservoir is over two thirds full. Trail Creek Pass will remain closed until late May or June, so plan on a two-hour drive through Craters of the Moon, to Arco, and up to Mackay to get to the Lower Lost. The fishing has been decent with a mix of Baetis and Midge hatching throughout the day. It is best to start fishing subsurface, and as the day warms up the fish will start feeding on top.
The steelhead season is closed. According to the Sawtooth Hatchery Facebook page, “As of Friday, April 26th the Pahsimeroi Hatchery has trapped 2,232 hatchery steelhead, and as of Thursday, April 25th the Sawtooth Hatchery has trapped 1,649 hatchery steelhead.” These numbers are roughly on par with last years numbers for the Sawtooth Hatchery; however, the Pahsimeroi Hatchery is down about 1,000 fish from this same time last year.
Unfortunately, the reports from Mormon Reservoir have been poor. If you are looking for some local still waters to fish, Magic and Little Wood Reservoirs have been fair. But, if you have a day or two, the Duck Valley Indian Reservation is fishing very well. 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. You might try suspending a series of nymphs or chironomids at the right depth too.
Stillwater Flies: Seal Buggars | Balanced Leeches | Bouface Leech | Snowcone Chironomids | Egg Patterns | Prince Nymph | Squirmy Worms
Big Lost: Trailing Shuck Midge | Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Iron Lotus | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Duracell Jig 12-18 | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | Tungsten Nemec Stone | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Stone Daddy 8 | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise