Steelhead fishing is rapidly approaching. The weather has still been cold, but the days are getting longer and the fish are starting to move up the river. There are fish in the upper river between Yankee fork and Stanley, but most of these fish wintered over in the deeper holes in the area. The main group of fish is moving up through Salmon and is now in Challis and down river. The Lemhi has been putting mud and colored water into the main stem off and on for the past couple of weeks so the fish have not been pounded in the lower sections like they usually have. My favorite technique for the next couple of weeks is nymphing with flies like the Prince, stoneflies and egg patterns. I usually use 2 different flies and like to fish the deeper runs where the fish spend the days holding before moving. Swinging flies is also effective and patterns that I like are string leeches in black, blue and bright colors. Try to use weighted fly lines and get down to the fish. I will usually start at the head of the runs and work my way down through the whole run, even fishing the tail outs which are very good when the fish are moving. I expect the Clayton area above Challis will start to produce very good this next week. There were many fish in the run this Fall and the fishing should be excellent this Spring.
The Big Wood is open until the last day of March and midge fishing can be very good on cloudy overcast days. Use light tippets when fishing dries and emergers, and always have some light weighted flies for those fish feeding just under the surface.
The Big Lost is now open all year long. Please remember the rainbows will be spawning in certain areas in April, so stay away from the redds. You will see fish feeding on BWO and midges in the next couple of months. Patterns such as No Hackle’s, and Gulpher Specials in size 20 and 22 will work.Â Don’t forget to bring nymph patterns including brassies and Rainbow Warriors in smaller sizes. The water level should remain low until late May.