The fishing continues to be outstanding as our winter storms continue to roll in. Lots of low pressure systems, means lots of good fishing weather. Midge activity is growing daily, with the majority of insects hatching in the late afternoon. With the approach of February and March this timing will shift to the morning hours, but for the rest of this month, the after lunch fishery is the one to shoot for. On the occasional sunny day, go ahead and start casting as soon as the sun hits the river.
The lower waters on the Creek, below highway 20 remain open for catch and release fishing until February 28th . The water is ice free and the fishing can be good on warmer days, and overcast days. We may see some surface activity in this area at the end of February, but if you decide to fish down there this month take some non-weighted streamer patterns and a heavy tippet. This Friday marks the end of the waterfowl season on the Creek, so expect a very quite weekend coming up.
If you choose to fish “The Willows” you can get away with short casts to the far bank, but try to keep a low profile and exercise some stealth in the tight confines of this area. It is also a good idea to have a handle on your roll cast and steeple cast to be efficient among the Willow bushes. Some of the deeper buckets in this area may require a micro shot placed on the head of the fly to get under the submerged branches.
If “Point of Rocks” is your destination, plan on keeping your streamer unweighted, and also plan on making some long casts at the far bank, followed by a huge downstream mend. Retrieves should be slow, and on some occasions it may be best to let the fly swing slowly across the current with no retrieve at all.
Big Wood River
The Wood is without question one of the West’s greatest winter time fisheries. With each passing season more and more anglers come to realize that we in fact catch more fish per angler per day on the Wood in the winter than during our peak summer months.
Currently fish are taking small bead head flies presented to them on 4X and 5X tippets. The common game out here is to fish two flies at once under a strike indicator. Use a small midge or pheasant tail as a lead fly, then hang a smaller midge from the first fly. The fish are in the slow water that is calf to waist deep. They tend to move to shallower water later in the day as the midges begin to emerge. On a day heavy with midge activity (when the snow looks like a pepper shaker was taken to it) it is not uncommon to find fish moved up into nearly ankle deep water, adjacent the main currents at the head of a run. Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tails, Chamois flies and Brassies are all good choices to present to the fish and in a variety of colors.
If the fishing shuts off, or gets slow, don’t hesitate to break out your favorite Wood River Sculpin imitation and swing it downstream. This can be especially effective to catch big fish, adjacent structure that is adjacent very swift water. It may take serious mending skills and just the right amount of weight, but if you can get one of these well hidden bruisers to chase a sculpin you may just find yourself hooked to the biggest rainbow of the new year!
Basin Precip. Averages
Salmon – 123%
Big Wood – 140%
Little Wood – 154%
Big Lost – 141%
Henry’s Fork – 132%