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Opening Day May 23rd Fly Fishing Forecast

By May 20, 2015 April 14th, 2018 No Comments

The sun did not shine/ It was too wet to play/ So we sat in the house/ All that cold, cold, wet day.” ~ Dr. Suess, The Cat in the Hat

Fly Fishing Forecast May 20th to 27th

After a mostly dry, warm winter, the first half of May has already exceeded the average precipitation for the month. And we have more rain and thunderstorms in the forecast for next week as well. This is, however, no excuse to sit in the house and wait for the sun to shine. May 23rd is the season opener for the Big Wood, Silver Creek and The South Fork of the Boise and with the proper attire (rain jacket and layers), anglers will experience fantastic fishing!

There is always a flurry of fishing activity on the Creek on opening day. However, sometimes the Yogi Berra-ism, “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded,” can be at play. The weather will definitely scare off the fair weather fishermen. If you go, the fishing will be excellent, but you may need to use a variety of techniques to bring fish to the net, as hatches this time of year are sporadic. You can expect to see some PMDs in size 16 and some Baetis in size 18 and 20. On warmer days, the bugs will come off mid morning into the early afternoon. However, on rainy, cooler days, don’t expect to see them until the late afternoon. As for the timing of the Brown Drake hatch, the watch has begun. We typically expect to see the Drakes in the lower part of the Creek the first or second week of June and maybe even earlier this year with the drought conditions. Still, the air and water temps will determine when these bugs will arrive.

The rain is keeping the flows on the Wood high and off color, but it is still lower than normal for this time of year. To date, the flows are fluctuating between 600 and 700 CFS. Much of the high altitude snow has come down and once the rain tapers, the flows will slowly drop and clear. Still, some fishing can be done around the easy access points and in the side channels. Do not try and cross the river at these flows; there will be plenty of time for easy wading in June, July, and August. If you do hole hop around the river, plan on throwing big bugs like Rubber Leg Stones, Green Drake Nymphs, large beaded Pheasant Tails, or Prince Nymphs. Streamers will also work well. Big drys, like Stimulators or Chubby Chernobyls may also bring a fish up.

The flows on the South Fork should be right around 600 CFS for the opener, put could bump up any day. This is a good flow for wade fishing and a bit low for floating, especially in the lower part of the river. There should be good numbers of caddis throughout the day along with a some midge and Baetis as well. You may even see a few Golden Stones. This time of year, there may be a few fish still on redds as well; if you see them, let them be. Focus on the seams and tail-outs with either caddis our stonefly dry imitations. Nymphing the riffles will be very effective with Rubber Legged Stones, San Juan Worms, Caddis Larva, beaded PTs and Zebra Midge. Streamers will also work. Camping is now allowed but in designated areas.

The flows remain around 200 CFS. As the reservoir continues to fill, and as demands for water down stream increase, the flows may go up, so check the Idaho River Flows website before you go. Bug wise, there are still plenty of Beatis and Midge. With the warmer days, we are now seeing a few caddis, PMDs and Stoneflies as well. Nymphing is your best strategy right now with a combination of big and small nymphs. Take an assortment of big bugs like Rubber Leg Stones, standard and beaded Prince Nymphs, and San Juan Worms. Trail behind that a smaller Baetis, Zebra Midge, Rainbow Warrior, or Bishop’ Dynamite in size 16 or 18. Also, the road up and over Trail Creek Pass is open.

Magic, Mackay, the Little Wood or Duck Valley are good options. Whether you want to float tube, pontoon, our fish from a drift boat, always be sure to have a friend, a safety whistle, and a life jacket. The weather is always a little funky this time of year, and high winds can make boating dangerous on the open water. In May into early June, I like to pull Pops Buggers and Seal Buggers in black or olive off of a sinking line like a type 3 or 5 or suspend a team of nymphs off an indicator like Prince nymphs, Copper Johns, or Chan’s Chironomids with a floating line and an indicator. This also a good time to consider going to CJ Strike to chase carp or the Bruneau Sand Dunes for bass and bluegill. Whatever you decide to do, come on by the shop and we will hook you up with the best flies for your situation.

Water Flows – MAY 20TH

Big Wood

Silver Creek

The Big Lost

South Fork of the Boise

648 cfs

163 cfs

193 cfs

606 cfs


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