“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.”
― Lin Yutang

And if you can spend that afternoon on a river in pursuit of the elusive, you have mastered how to live in Sun Valley.

The Big Wood
With the latest cold front, the transition to a winter fishery is complete. The Fall Baetis have run their course. Now, it is all about midge. The fish will be found in concentrated numbers in the classic winter holding water. To be successful, move from access to access catching a few here and there during the afternoon hours. The best methods are the tried and true dry dropper or a Euro style rig. While cloudy, low pressure days are the best, any day is a good day to be on the water.

Silver Creek
While the lower reaches of the Creek remain open until the end of March, the Nature Conservancy section closes at the end of this month. The brown trout spawning activity should diminish over the next week or two, but the redds are still vulnerable, so watch your step. Even with the cold weather, the fish will continue to feed on the short and sometimes intense Baetis emergence during the late afternoon. When this occurs, try Baetis duns, cripples, and spinners. Nymphing dry dropper style remains effective as well. Streamers will also be productive, as many of the fish are looking for a good meal as winter sets in. And finally, when fishing the Preserve, the visitor center remains closed. Look for posted information at each access allowing you to sign in via your phone with a QR code or by texting “Visitor” to (833) 593-0682.

The Big Lost Lower
Our days of driving over Trail Creek Pass will be ending very soon. With snow in the forecast, it may become impassable any day. The alternative is to drive to Carey, then Arco, and up to Mackay. It is quite scenic and only adds about 45 minutes to the trip. The fishing will be best in the afternoon from about 1PM to 3 PM. There will be a few Baetis, but midge are the winter mainstay. The key to success is stealth during these low water winter conditions. Keep a low profile and cast a long light leader. As for techniques, try a dry dropper or Euro Nymphing rig.

Southfork of the Boise
The first part of November was excellent on the South Fork due to the mild temperatures. The Arctic air settling over Idaho will certainly slow down the hatch activity; however, nymphing, Euro Style or with a Dry Dropper, should remain good for trout and whitefish when you see no surface feeding fish. There will be a short window of surface activity, however, and if you search the likely runs you will find fish up on Baetis and midge in the afternoon.

Big Wood & Warm Springs: Harrop’s Baetis | Gulper Special Olive | Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | High Vis Adams | Iron Lotus | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | Bullet Quill | Hot Rib Hare’s Ear | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Duracell Jig | 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 | Iron Lotus | 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 | Iron Lotus | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | Bullet Quill | Hot Rib Hare’s Ear | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Duracell Jig | 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 | Chubby Chernobyl | Ant CFO Black | Iron Lotus | Bullet French Nymph | TG Hide a Bead Baetis | Bullet Quill | Hot Rib Hare’s Ear | CDC France Fly | Lite Brite Perdigons | Duracell Jig | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince | Mops

 

Silver Creek
Big Wood
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise
Salmon River
88.1 cfs
144 cfs
59.2 cfs
304 cfs
1230 cfs