“As with a faint star in the night’s sky, one can better understand fishing’s allure by looking around it, off to the side, not right at it.” – Holly Morris
And at other times, fishing can become like a lodestar guiding us out of troubled waters.
The Big Wood
As you can imagine, with spring break, school closures, and the fact that Baldy is closed for the season, the river has seen a spike in fishing pressure. If you go, be respectful of other anglers and give each other space. Parking access is good up and down the river due to the mild winter the Valley is experiencing; there is plenty of room to spread out. As for the fishing, the trout and the midge usually get active by midday so there is no hurry to hit the water early. Cover likely water with a dry-dropper, Euro, or an indicator nymph set up. When you find some surface feeders, be prepared to switch to a stealthier approach as these fish can be very selective. Use a long leader down to 6x or 7x with a trailing shuck midge or a non-beaded midge pattern just beneath the surface. Remember, the last day to fish the Wood is Tuesday, March 31st.
This tributary to the Wood is the warmest in the system and can be a fun challenge this time of year. The water is low and the fish are spooky, but the midge hatch can be good. If you are up to the challenge give this a try. Approach it much the same way you would fish the Big Wood but with more stealth.
With warmer days in the forecast, you might consider putting a tube in Kilpatrick Pond or walking along the Creek at Point of Rocks. Drifting small nymphs or slow swinging a leech can be effective. Pleasant spring days may bring some fish to the surface to feed on midge and a smattering of Baetis, so bring your typical Creek arsenal. Remember, the Nature Conservancy is closed; however, the river downstream of Kilpatrick Bridge through Point of Rocks will remain open until the end of March and then close for two months until opening day in May.
South Fork of the Boise
This river also closes on the last day of March. You will find midge and some Baetis hatching during the warmest part of the day with some nice trout scattered about feeding. The South Fork is beautiful this time of year and worth the trip. Take your traditional tailwaters midge and Baetis patterns if you go head hunting or nymph the riffles with stone flies and beaded midge patterns.
The Lost Below Mackay
A road trip to the Lost is worth the four hours of windshield time (from Ketchum and back) if you want to make a full day commitment to fishing. The hatches on the Lost this time of year are a combination of midge and Baetis and on the right day they can be spectacular. You will need a good selection of midge in sizes 18-22 and Baetis in size 16-18 both dry and wet. Some fish are already spawning in the shallow riffles so please wade with caution and leave them alone. Unlike the other rivers in the area, the Lost does stay open all year.
Upper Salmon Steelhead
The Sawtooth Fish Hatchery is not yet reporting, but the Pahsimeroi Fish Hatchery has recorded that 9 fish have been trapped as of the 16th of March. If you are interested, we have a full selection of steelhead flies stocked so come by the shop and we will give you the latest report.
South Fork of the Boise: Midge | Baetis | Iron Lotus | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Duracell Jig 12-18 | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | Pat’s Rubber Legs | Stone Daddy 8 | Bishop’s Dynamite | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive | King Prince
Silver Creek: Griffiths Gnats | Parachute Midge | Iron Lotus | Leech Patterns | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Jake’s Perdigon 14-18 | DB Zebra Midge in black, red, or olive
Big Lost, Big Wood and Tributaries: Beatis | Midge | Golden Stone | Buggers | Bishop’s Dynamite | SRS Bullet French Nymph | Jake’s Perdigon | Rainbow Warrior | King Prince Nymph | DB Zebra Midge | Quildigons | Frenchie
The Big Lost
South Fork of the Boise