“The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”
― Brother David Steindl-Rast
It is time to count our blessings: Rivers that teem with wild trout, mountains that hold the promise of water for another season, a community that sustains and protects wild fisheries as well as public access. This is a special place for anglers. Thank you!
The Big Wood
As the temperatures consistently fall below freezing, the best fishing on the Wood will be downstream of the Warm Springs confluence through the catch and release water to the East Fork Bridge. The fish will tend to concentrate in the winter holding water to conserve energy, so look for deep, slow water and focus your efforts there. The Valley floor has received some snow, but most all the accesses are still open for parking. While you may find a smattering of fish feeding on the surface, nymphing is going to be the most productive method. The key to success is finding the right depth as winter fish tend to not move very far for their food. The best methods are a standard dry dropper or indicator with two nymphs for slow, deep water. Euro style rigs work best in water that has movement.
Come the end of November, the Nature Conservancy portion of the Creek will close for the season and reopen at the end of May. Downstream of Kilpatrick Bridge, he will remain open until the end of March, just like the Wood. This time of year, the fishing is best during blustery days when the temperatures are at or above freezing. Most days you will find a few fish rising to emerging and adult midge in the slower stretches; however, nymphing dry dropper style or with an indicator will be most effective. Swinging black and olive leech patterns deep and slow can also be productive.
The Big Lost Below Mackay
Trail Creek Pass closed as of the 14th of November. If you go, you will need to drive around through Carey and over to Arco to get to Mackay. The flows have come up a bit to just under 70 CFS. Still, at this level, the fish are spooky and concentrated. Be stealthy and patient and you will find success. Expect some Baetis, but mostly midge hatching late in the day. If you find surface activity, utilize long leaders down to 6 or 7X and small flies to match. Nymphing with diminutive midge patterns is most effective.
South Fork of the Boise
If you head to the South Fork be sure to take a standard winter survival kit in the car including chains, a sleeping bag, and plenty of water and food. Winter weather is in the forecast and the road can be nasty even with a dusting of snow. As for fishing, there is a decent dry fly window during the warmest time of the day when the sun is above the rim. Still, nymphing, Euro Style or with a Dry Dropper, is the most productive for trout and whitefish when you see no surface feeding fish.
Big Wood & Warm Springs: Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | High Vis Adams | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | Bullet Quill | Hot Rib Hare’s Ear | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince
Silver Creek: Harrop’s Baetis | Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Bullet French Nymph | Quilldigon | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Pine Squirrel Leech
Big Lost: Harrop’s Baetis | Gulper Special Olive | High Vis Adams | Griffiths Gnats | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | Bullet Quill | Hot Rib Hare’s Ear | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince | Mops
South Fork of the Boise: Harrop’s Baetis | Gulper Special Olive | High Vis Adams | Elk Hair Caddis | Ant CFO Black | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | Bullet Quill | Hot Rib Hare’s Ear | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince | Mops
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise