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Image: Ed Northen

“Said the river: imagine everything you can imagine, then keep on going.”

– Mary Oliver

With opening day on the horizon (May 25th), it is time to imagine the season ahead. Currently, the high altitude snow pack throughout the region is right around average. While this may change throughout the months of May and June, at the moment we are heading into a typical Idaho water year. This means we can expect high flows through June, with rivers impacted by snowmelt coming into shape in early to mid-July. It is hard to imagine a better scenario. Stay tuned to this forecast or call the store anytime for the latest information regarding flows and fishing.  We are committed to providing the best information we can to help you plan your future fishing in and around Sun Valley.

Silver Creek
Unlike the freestone rivers in the Valley, the Creek will be ready for fishing on opening weekend (May 25th). 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, social event for fisherman, bird watchers, and wildflower enthusiasts. The weather is always unpredictable, so be ready for rain, snow, and sunshine. As for the fishing, the early season hatch typically consists of a mix of PMDs, Callibaetis, and midge with the best fishing happening in the afternoon. Since the fish are well rested, most techniques will produce.

Big Wood
Come opening weekend, we can expect the Wood and its tributaries to be high and off color. With the current cold snap, the flows have come down, but it is going to warm up significantly and the river will soar over 1,000 CFS. Another wave of cold weather may bring this down a tad, but don’t expect it to be ready on opening weekend. With much of the high altitude snow yet to come down, we can expect flows to remain high for much of June, but the river should be ready to explore in late June and the first half of July, just in time for the Green Drake hatch. Looking forward, the Wood should be in good shape heading into late July and August even with the warmer than average summer in the forecast.

South Fork of the Boise
With Anderson Reservoir at 94% 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. Come the opener, the flows will be somewhere between 1,500 and 3,000 CFS. At these flows, the river is very accessible to drift boaters; however, if it gets much higher than 3,000 CFS, it is best to wait for it to drop. 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.

The Lost Below Mackay
With the flows holding steady at 105 CFS, the Lost is a great option for fantastic spring angling right now!  The reservoir is currently at 80% of capacity, so these flows should remain steady for the next few weeks. As the reservoir fills and demands for irrigation increase, flows will go up in late May or early June. Unlike last year, we should be able to fish this area throughout the summer as flows should be manageable now that the gates are repaired.  If you go over the next few weeks, be prepared for abundant midge activity and a few Baetis. There should be good dry fly opportunities as the day warms, and the nymphing and streamer action should be red hot. Keep in mind that the rainbows and cutbows tend to spawn early on this river, so please wade carefully and avoid redds.

The Salmon
While the steelhead season is closed on the upper Salmon, the river is clear and some pre runoff fishing is possible around Stanley for whitefish and some wild trout. This will be short lived once warmer temperatures return. Looking ahead, with the Salmon River drainage at 92% of average, flows should be dropping a tad earlier than the Big Wood and Boise drainage. This means we can expect to be floating the lower river by mid to late June and July. For those who watch the flows, once the lower river drops to around 2500 CFS, it is game on!

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.

Big Lost: Adult Midge | Miller’s +1 | Blowtorch | Bishop’s Dynamite | Mops and Mini Mopcicles | Red Neck Midge | DD Midge | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Streamers

Stillwater: Pops Buggers | Olive, Black and Brown Leeches | Chironomids | Sheep Creek Specials




Silver Creek 137 cfs
Big Wood 693 cfs
The Lost Below Mackay 207 cfs
Salmon 1470 cfs
South Fork of the Boise 1640 cfs