“Rivers and the inhabitants of the watery elements are made for wise men to contemplate and for fools to pass by without consideration.” – Izaak Walton
Come the season opener on May 23rd, if you plan to contemplate the rivers and the inhabitants of the watery elements, please recreate responsibly.
NOTE to non-resident anglers: The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has suspended nonresident license sales until further notice. If you purchased a license before the rule went into effect you are allowed to fish. The Fish and Game Commission will meet on Thursday, May 14, 2020; however, this rule is not on the agenda. Idaho has a four phase eight week plan to reopen the economy. There is currently a 14-day self-quarantine period required for people traveling to Idaho from out of state through May 29th. Starting Sunday, May 30th as long as we don’t see an increase in COVID cases, the self-quarantine rule will expire as we begin phase three. We expect and hope that non-resident license sales will resume then. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.Read More About the Rule
The Creek should fish well over the opening weekend and you can expect a decent number of local anglers, bird watchers, and floaters out recreating; please be kind and respectful of each other and of the wildlife. Cool and wet weather is in the forecast, so be prepared with lots of layers and rain gear. For your safety, the visitor center will be closed. You will, however, still be required to sign in. The Nature Conservancy has initiated an electronic sign-in utilizing the QR Reader function of your cell phone. There will be plenty of posted information at each access point to let you know how to sign in via your phone with the QR code. Also, the traditional opening day barbeque has regrettably been canceled. As for fishing, the three prominent hatching mayflies this time of year are PMDs, Baetis, and Callibaetis. Still, a variety of bugs and techniques will take fish during the opener…so have fun, stay warm, and remain flexible.
The Big Wood
The Big Wood has been hovering around 650 CFS and may go higher over the next ten days as we move into a cool, wet weather pattern for the rest of May. Run off has been light this spring and the snowpack in the drainage is sitting at 40% of average. You can expect the Wood to be fishable on the opener mainly in the side channels, around the easy access points, and anywhere you can find some slower water. Still, wading will be extremely limited and crossing the river will be out of the question. For techniques, nymphing with an indicator or Euro Style will be most effective; however, you may find a fish hugging the bank willing to eat a large dry. We are still expecting the flows to drop quickly and wadable flows should coincide with the Green Drake Hatch by mid-June.
South Fork of the Boise
The flows on the South Fork of the Boise have come up to 1800 CFS. This is too high to wade, but a good level for drift boats. You can expect the put-ins and take-outs to be a tad crowded, so be patient. The best fishing will mostly be done in the side channels with heavy nymphs and streamers. We are a few weeks away from seeing the Salmon Fly hatch.
The Lost Below Mackay
The flows are up to 230 CFS and may go even higher. If the flows surpass 300 CFS it will be best to wait until they come down before heading to the Lost. However, if the flows hold at the current level, this may be a good place to escape the crowds of Silver Creek for opening weekend. You can expect the nymphing to be fantastic with limited dry opportunities. Also, Trail Creek Pass is not quite clear of snow and may or may not be passable come May 23rd.
Magic, Mackay, and the Little Wood reservoirs can be fished either from shore or from a float tube; however, please be aware of the spring winds that can make boating/ tubing unsafe. As for techniques in all these reservoirs, try pulling a team of small leech patterns in black, brown or olive on an intermediate or type 3 sinking line. Also, suspending a series of nymphs or chironomids at the right depth can also be effective.
Big Wood, Big Lost, and South Fork of the Boise: Chubby Chernobyl | Iron Lotus | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Duracell Jig 12-18 | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | Tungsten Nemec Stone | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Stone Daddy | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince
Silver Creek: PMD | Callibaetis | Baetis | Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Iron Lotus | SRS Bullet | French Nymph | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Stillwater Flies: Seal Buggars | Balanced Leeches | Bouface Leech | Snowcone Chironomids | Egg Patterns | Prince Nymph | Squirmy Worms
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise