“The irreducible constant of fishing is water.”
– Ted Leeson
Opening day for the Big Wood, Silver Creek, and the South Fork of the Boise is Saturday, May 28th. Time to gather and prepare the ingredients for a successful day of angling: patch waders, replace laces, organize fly boxes, check tippet, rebuild leaders, clean lines, fill float tube, call a friend, drop by the shop. And when the time is right…just add water.
The new Visitor Center is done and the Nature Conservancy is holding an opening day celebration BBQ at 11:30 AM – 2:30 PM. The facility is beautiful and is worth a visit. If you go to fish, expect to see very low water in the upper Preserve. The weeds are slow to grow this spring and there is not a lot of cover for the trout. As a result, the fish have retreated to deeper water. Don’t expect to see much of a hatch, but if you do see some bugs it will likely be a mixture of baetis, PMDs, callibaetis, or caddis.
The flows on the Wood on opening day are going to be up. The heat in the middle of May brought the flows to over 1,000 CFS in Hailey, but with cooler weather in the forecast for the next two weeks the flows may drop a tad and clear. More than likely fishing side channels or from the bank will be the best option on the opener, and wading the river will be dangerous. It is a bit early for hatches, but there will be some stoneflies crawling around. This is a good time of year for big bugs.
The Upper Lost
Trail Creek Pass should be open and ready for travel come May 28th, but check with the shop before you go. The Upper Lost follows the same pattern as the Wood. If the cooler weather prevails the water may be clear and fishing from the bank may be possible. At the very least you can escape the crowds of opening day on the Creek and see some lovely country.
The Lost Below Mackay
Currently the flows are holding at around 84 CFS, but typically the flows increase as demands for irrigation grow. Any day now we should see the flows jump up to between 300 and 500 CFS. So before you go, check the flows. The fishing can be very good this time of year. Bugwise, be prepared for midge activity with some baetis and caddis in the mix.
South Fork of the Boise
Historically this river has flows ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 CFS in late May. With the cool, wet spring, irrigation demands have been light. As a result, don’t be surprised if the opening day flows are still at 300 CFS; good for wade fishing, but best to leave the drift boat at home. Nevertheless, the flows will be coming up soon, so keep your eyes on the flows. The early season fishing is typically a nymphing game with big stonefly nymphs, caddis larva, or midge. Keep in mind, the rainbows in this river are late to spawn because the water is so cold. If you see fish on redds, leave them alone.
It is time to take the family to Lake Creek, Penny Lake, or Gaver’s Lagoon. All the ponds will be stocked for the opener and will receive regular stockings throughout the summer season.
Mackay, Magic, and Duck Valley can all be fished either from the bank, a boat, or a float tube. If you do decide to tube or boat, please be aware that the spring winds have been strong. As for fishing, 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 feed on Daphnia, aka freshwater plankton, and a leech is a welcome meal. Also, suspending a series of nymphs or chironomids at the right depth can be effective.
Big Wood: Chubby Chernobyl | Stimulators | Bullet French Nymph | Lite Brite Perdigons | Sexy Walts | Perdichigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Silver Creek: PMDs | Baetis | Green Drakes | Brown Drakes | Bullet French Nymph | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Pine Squirrel Leech
Big Lost Flies: Golden Stones | PMDs | Sexy Walts | Bullet French Nymph | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite | Perdigons | Duracell Jig | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
South Fork of the Boise: Chubby Chernobyl | Caddis | Sexy Walts | Bullet French Nymph | Lite Brite Perdigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Stillwater Flies: Balance Leeches | Sheep Creek Special | Woolly Buggers | Seal Buggers | Chironomids | Damsel Nymphs | Prince Nymphs
|Silver Creek||79.6 cfs|
|Big Wood||949 cfs|
|The Lost Below Mackay||86.2 cfs|
|South Fork of the Boise||308 cfs|