“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others.
Unfold your own myth.” – Rumi
Opening day on Silver Creek and the Big Wood is May 26th…the best season yet begins to unfold! While the Valley is still reaping the benefits of last year’s abundant water supply, this winter’s average snow pack means we again will have plenty of water to take us through the summer into fall. We have a lot to look forward to as we anticipate the bugs of early summer: Brown Drakes on the Creek, Green Drakes on the Wood, and Stoneflies on the Boise and Salmon rivers. We have so many great stories yet to be told; the only thing missing is you.
While all the local freestones are currently high and off color, the Creek is going to be perfect for the opener. It may be crowded on Saturday through Monday, so have fun engaging in some fly fishing comradery. On Tuesday the Creek will be quiet again. For hatches on opening day, expect to see some PMDs in size 16 with a smattering of Baetis in size 18 and 20. On warm days the hatch will occur mid-morning into the early afternoon. On cooler days, don’t expect to see bugs until the late afternoon or not at all. Of course, the early season fish can be very gullible as compared to July and August, and many different techniques will fool these trout. Using streamers can be very effective as well as nymph fishing with pheasant tails and hares ears in size 12 -18, beaded or non-beaded. You might even consider using beetles and ant patterns if no bugs are present and a good spring wind blows. Of course, the Brown Drake watch has begun. We typically expect to see Brown Drakes in the lower part of the Creek the end of May into the first week of June. The air and water temps will determine the timing on this hatch.
The Wood is currently flowing just below 2,000 CFS and may go even higher as daytime temperatures rise into the 70s and the afternoon thunderstorms persist. Looking beyond opening weekend, we can expect high water on the Wood for the next few weeks. Flows should start to drop and clear towards the middle of June. Once this occurs, side channels will become fishable, but wading will still be dangerous. By the end of June into the first week of July, the Wood should be at a fishable level with limited wading opportunities just in time for the Green Drake hatch. Also, keep your eyes on the flows on Warm Springs as this is typically the first tributary to drop and become fishable several weeks before the Wood is ready.
Upper Big Lost
Trail Creek Pass is open! However, the water is very high at just under 1,800 CFS on the main stem of the Upper Lost. While it is a beautiful place for a Memorial Day family picnic, the river is not ready for fishing just yet. The flows follow a very similar pattern to the Wood, so as we witness the flows start to drop in the Valley, then perhaps the higher elevation portions of the Lost will be ready to explore.
The Lost Below Mackay
While technically open to fishing, the flows are over 1,000 CFS on the Lost and may continue to go up. It is best to wait until late summer when the flows drop below 350 CFS before fishing here again.
The stretch of river around the hatchery, 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-June, and really come into its prime around the first week of July. Stay tuned!
South Fork of the Boise
Flows are holding steady at 2,700 CFS. While high, this is a floatable level; be sure to scout the river first to identify any new obstacles. The fish may be finishing up their spawn, so if you find fish on beds, let them alone. The large Salmon fly hatch is coming in late June, so running large rubber legged stones on or near the bottom can be very effective.
Gavers Lagoon, Penny, and Lake Creek ponds should all be stocked for the opener and would make a great location for a family picnic. Come on by the shop for all your family fishing needs!
With the rivers high or crowded, our local reservoirs are a good option. If you go, pay close attention to the weather as wind can make fishing a reservoir treacherous. And as always, be prepared with a life preserver and a sound making device in accordance with Idaho law. Both Magic and Little Wood reservoir fish well this time of year and can be accessed either from the bank, a float tube, or a boat. Another option, would be to check out Mormon or Little Camas reservoirs. Both are smaller reservoirs and will have hold over fish from last year as well as a fresh load of stocked fish. 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 addition fee. As for techniques in all locations, try pulling a team of small leech patterns in black, brown or olive on an intermediate or type 3 sinking line. Often spring trout are feeding on Daphnia, aka fresh water plankton, and a leech is a welcome meal. Also, suspending a series of nymphs at the right depth can be effective. Come on by the shop and we can set you up with the right flies and driving directions.
Silver Creek Flies: PMD’s 16 | Beatis 18 | Callibeatis 16 | Damsel Nymphs | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive 16,18 | Pheasant Tails 16,18
Big Wood, Warm Springs, Big Lost, Salmon River Flies: Stimulators | Chubby Chernobyl | Rubber Legged Stones | Caddis Larva | King Prince | Streamers
South Fork of the Boise Flies: Rubber Legged Stones | Zebra Midge | Caddis Larva | Flash Back Pheasant tails | King Prince | Streamers
Stillwater Flies: Pops Buggers | Standard Olive, Black, and Brown Wooley Buggers | Stayner’s Ducktail | Sheep Creek Special | Bouface Leech | Seal Buggers | Squirrel Leech | Chironomids | Olive Scuds | Perch Imitations
Upper Big Lost
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise