Spring is beautiful in the Valley. The arrowleaf balsamroot, the first flower of spring, is in full bloom, the hills are green, the Boulder and Pioneer Mountains are still capped with snow, and the Brown Drakes are hatching on the Creek! The freestone rivers, like the Upper Lost, the Big Wood and the Salmon, are high and muddy and flows should continue to rise for the next couple of weeks. Towards the middle into the end of June, these rivers should start their steady drop and begin to clear. In the meanwhile, Silver Creek is open if you wish to cast a fly on moving water. This is also a great time to hone your stillwater skills on one of our local reservoirs
In fact, for those looking to try fly fishing for the first time, we are offering our Early Season Fly Fishing 101 class every weekend in June starting May 31st. This is a two day class which covers the basics including casting, knot tying, safe wading, and entomology. The cost has been reduced to $150 per angler. Includes a lunch and all necessary equipment will be provided.
It is Brown Drake time! This is much earlier than expected and perhaps the recent warm weather and the lower than average flows have contributed to this early emergence. We have some great new patterns in the shop: Duns, Spinners, and Emergers. So come on in and get the latest updates and pick up some flies. The latest USGS readings at the Sportman’s Access near Picabo are at 88 CFS and they are typically around 120 CFS. The water in the lower Preserve has a little color to it and it will remain this way until the Chara and the weeds take root. The area where the restoration work was done has plenty of deep water and the fish seem to have taken to it nicely. The hatches are sporadic this time or year, but you can expect to see a few PMDs in size 16 mixed with Baetis size 18-20 and some Caddis in the evenings. For flies, Harrop’s Parachute PMDs and Harrop’s Baetis Emergers, Duns, and Spinners are all very effective. When the fish are down, try a dry dropper with a small Zebra Midge, Pheasant Tail, or Iron Lotus in sizes 16-20. Also, leech patterns trailed by a small nymph fished on a slow swing can be effective.
THE LOWER BIG LOST
The flows have gone up even more on the Lower Lost and the Upper Lost has also begun to flow really heavy as well. Trail Creek Pass is open if you want to take a picnic up and watch the water, but fishing is out of the question for a while. In a few weeks, we might be able to toss a fly in and around the headwaters, so stay tuned.
The Wood is high and muddy right now and with the added silt from the fires last year, this river might stay muddy longer than normal. But once the flows start to come down, the side channels will start to clear and become fishable. Patience.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE
I expect the flows to come up any day now. When they do come up, they are not expected to exceed 1,200 CFS, which is a good level for floating. However, there is a lot of new debris and hazards in the river as a result of the mud slides last year, so anyone attempting to float the river should take extra precautions. The Salmon Flies are going off on the SBF! For bugs, have a good supply of Salmon Flies, Rubber Legged Stones, Caddis Larva, and some small stuff like zebra midge. Also, ripping large streamers can be productive.
Magic, Mackay, Anderson, Duck Valley…these are all go to options this time of year. From the bank or from a boat, stillwaters in the spring offer great fishing opportunities. Come on into the shop and we will make sure you have the right lines and the right flies to be successful.
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“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope.” – John Buchan