“Lovers, poets, religious madmen, and anglers seem to me to have this in common – they live for the impassioned anticipation of an uncertain thing.”
– Ted Leeson
The anticipation of that uncertain thing is heightened when the air bites and the snow falls. While the lovers, poets, and madmen stay home, the angler continues their impassioned pursuit.
There is one week left to fish the Nature Conservancy portion of the Creek. After the end of the month, the Creek from the Kilpatrick Bridge down will remain open until the end of March. You may find a few fish rising in the afternoon to midge and a smattering of baetis ; however, nymphing dry dropper style or with an indicator will be most effective. Try size 24-16 Pheasant Tails nymphs or olive,red, or black Zebra Midge. Swinging black or olive leech patterns deep and slow can also be productive.
With the overnight temperatures falling below freezing, the best fishing on the Wood is downstream of the Warm Springs confluence through the catch and release water to the East Fork Bridge. However, the river remains relatively ice free south and north of town. The trout are concentrated in the winter holding water to conserve energy, so look for deep, slow water and focus your efforts there. In general, there are less fish than in years past, so expect to cover some ground to find a few decent fish. The Valley floor has received some snow, but all the accesses are still open for parking at the moment. The dry fly action has been slow as the winter midge activity has not yet started. The key to success this time of year is to find the right depth to slow drift your nymph as winter fish tend to not move very far for their lunch. The best methods are standard dry dropper, indicator with two nymphs, or a Euro style rigs.
The Big Lost
Trail Creek Pass is closed. You will need to go around through Carey and over to Arco to get to Mackay. The flows are at 85 CFS. 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, try long leaders down to 6 or 7X and small flies. Nymphing is the most effective technique at the moment. Try a small beaded midge or Baetis below a dry or small indicator.
South Fork of the Boise
If you head to the South Fork be sure to take a winter survival kit: chains, a sleeping bag, and plenty of water and food. Winter weather is in the forecast and the road can be treacherous. As for fishing, there can be a decent dry fly window when the sun is above the rim. Still, nymphing, Euro Style or with a dry dropper, is the most productive for trout and whitefish.
Big Wood: Baetis | Midge | Red Quills (Hecuba) | Duracell | Bullet French Nymph | Rain Drop Jigs | Maktima UV Jig | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Silver Creek: Baetis | Midge | Bullet French Nymph | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | Pine Squirrel Leech
Salmon: Duracell | Bullet French Nymph | Rain Drop Jigs | Maktima UV Jig | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Bishop’s Dynamite
Big Lost Flies: Baetis | Midge | Duracell | Bullet French Nymph | Rain Drop Jigs | Maktima UV Jig | Bishop’s Dynamite | Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
South Fork of the Boise: Baetis | Midge | Deep Cleaner | Duracell | Bullet French Nymph | Rain Drop Jigs | Maktima UV Jig | Pat’s Rubber Legs
|Silver Creek||86 cfs|
|Big Wood||124 cfs|
|The Lost Below Mackay||84 cfs|
|South Fork of the Boise||304 cfs|