As I write this, a light snow is falling and the temperature is around 34 degrees. On many days like today, you can find some of the best fishing of the winter and early spring. Big Wood river rainbows will be found feeding on or near the surface, especially with very little sun. My favorite patterns are the Trailing Shuck Midge, Griffith’s Gnat, and even small parachutes for fish on the surface. I like carrying Brassies without beads and other light sinking nymphs in smaller sizes such as 18’s and 20’s. Use 6x tippets on these smaller flies. Before and after the hatches I will throw big nymphs in sizes 6 and 8, like rubber-leg stoneflies in black or brown. These patterns work well in the deeper pools and runs. Small tungsten flies are also must haves in sizes 16-20 and in different colors. I usually start at the tail-out of the runs on the Big Wood and work my way up with dries and nymphs. Take time to watch in the slower pieces of water.
The Big Lost and South Fork of the Boise are going to start fishing well. Expect to see midges and BWO’s in the next couple of weeks as the temperatures warm.