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Image: Ed Northen

“We need the sweet pain of anticipation to tell us we are really alive.”

– Albert Camus

Opening weekend is here, and it looks to be a good one! The cool weather has opened up some angling possibilities that are worth exploring and, of course, the Creek abides. So get out and enjoy the long weekend, but remember: be fully present while doing the thing for which you have been waiting; otherwise, the sweet pain of anticipation is wasted.

Silver Creek
After two solid winters, the Creek is looking good. There is already weed growth in the upper river and fish are spread throughout the entire system. Opening weekend (May 25th) should be fantastic! Remember, the Nature Conservancy will be hosting their annual Opening Day Celebrations on Saturday from 11 to 3 and has done amazing work on fishing access throughout the Preserve. This is always a fun event for fisherman, bird watchers, and wildflower enthusiasts alike. The weather is going to be cool and possibly wet on Saturday, but conditions should improve by Monday. As for the fishing, expect PMDs, Callibaetis, and midge in the afternoon. No Brown Drakes yet, but once the temperatures rise again, be on the lookout.  So, if you go, expect to have a fun, social time celebrating the sport we love.

Big Wood
The Wood is dropping with this recent cold snap. Flows peaked at just over 1,600 CFS and may get down to around 1,000 CFS come Saturday. This may give anglers a window to fish some side channels, but wade fishing should be done with extreme caution. The river will go up again, as there is still plenty of snow on the peaks yet to come down. If you do decide to poke around on the Wood, try big bugs both dry and wet, maybe even a streamer. For those looking ahead, the river is going to remain very high for much of June, but should be in great shape come July.

South Fork of the Boise
Come the opener, the flows should still be at 1600 CFS. With Anderson Reservoir nearly full and a majority of the high altitude snow resting in the hills, high flows will be the story on this tailwater for much of June. At these flows, the river is very accessible to drift boaters, and you can expect there to be quite a few anglers out enjoying the river. Typically, there are very few bugs hatching in the frigid spring water, but fishing large stonefly nymphs or streamers can be effective.  By mid to late June, Salmon flies will be in the air. Please be aware that many trout will still be spawning in the side channels. Leave these fish to do their business.

The Lost Below Mackay
The flows have jumped up to 470 CFS and are dropping as of the writing of this report. If you head this way, check the flows as they are going to go up or down depending on irrigation demands. In general, at 350 CFS strong waders can make their way around the river; however, at around 500 CFS fishing access is limited. Hatch wise, you can expect to find Baetis, PMDs, midge, and maybe some Yellow Sallies and Golden Stones.

Upper Big Lost
Trail Creek Pass is slated to open Friday. This is a beautiful place for a Memorial Day family picnic, and you might even be able to find a place to wet a line. However, the water is very high at around 750 CFS on the main stem of the Upper Lost. To put this in perspective, this is the same level it was mid July last season. The flows follow a very similar pattern to the Wood, so as temperatures rise we will see these flows increase again.

The Salmon
The stretch of river upstream of Redfish Lake Creek, while high, can stay relatively clear this time of year and has decent numbers of whitefish and a few trout. Try deep nymphing with rubber legged stones or streamers. We expect the lower river to become floatable in mid to late June. Stay tuned!

Spring is a great time to fish our local stillwaters. Magic, Mackay, and the Little Wood reservoir are good options this time of year and can be fished either from the bank, a float tube, or a boat. Of course, always be leery of spring winds if you choose to boat or tube.  Another option, and a bit farther down the road, is the Duck Valley Indian Reservation. 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.

Silver Creek: PMDs | Beatis | Callibeatis | Damsel Nymphs | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Small Pheasant Tails

Big Wood, Warm Springs, Big Lost, Salmon River: Stimulators | Chubby Chernobyl | Rubber Legged Stones | Caddis Larva | King Prince | Streamers

South Fork of the Boise: Rubber Legged Stones | Zebra Midge | Caddis Larva | Flashback Pheasant Tails | King Prince | Streamers 

Stillwater Flies: Pops Buggers | Standard Olive, Black and Brown | Wooly Buggers | Stayner’s Ducktail | Sheep Creek Special | Bougace Leech | Seal Buggers | Squirrel Leech | Chironomids | Olive Scuds | Perch Imitations




Silver Creek 137 cfs
Big Wood 1150 cfs
The Lost Below Mackay 458 cfs
Salmon 2350 cfs
South Fork of the Boise 1630 cfs