Ah, it’s finally here – opening day of fishing season in Idaho is this Saturday! While most of our streams are running too high and muddy to fish, there are a few good options for valley anglers. With ideal water levels, Silver Creek will be the best bet in town with hatches occurring throughout the day. Recent temperatures have dramatically increased the rate of runoff on our freestone streams (Big Wood, Copper Basin), creating high, off-colored water. Once temperatures stabilize, the water should begin to eventually clear up and more options will present themselves to willing anglers. As always, use caution when fishing and wading this time of year and wear your wading belt.
Big Wood River
With the recent spike in temperatures, the Big Wood has risen over 1000cfs (cubic feet per second) in the past seven days, making it virtually unfishable. The rapid increase in volume has turned the river off color and has caused it to swell over the banks. After a few weeks of this runoff, the river will subside, clear and start to become fishable. Keep an eye on the clarity of the river to determine when the time is right to start fishing. Once the river shapes up, big nymphs and dries will be your best choices for catching fish.
While other area rivers are experiencing runoff, the creek looks absolutely perfect. Throughout the morning in the swifter moving waters, anglers will find large PMDs (size 16) and Baetis (size 20-22). In the ponds and sloughs, expect to find fish feeding on Callibaetis & Midges throughout the day. If you can’t find working fish, try covering the water with a beetle or an ant. Remember, the fish haven’t seen anglers in a long time so they will feed opportunistically on a well presented terrestrial.
Big Lost River
Unfortunately, just in time for the opener, the flows coming out of Mackey Reservoir spiked over the past few days. As of writing this report, the river below the reservoir is flowing around 331 cubic feet per second, up from 120cfs two days ago. This makes the river difficult to wade in most sections. If you would like to fish The Lost, be prepared to fish large nymphs from the bank along the near seam.
Upper Big Lost / Copper Basin
These streams usually mimic the flows of the Big Wood. The tributaries of the Big Lost will start to become fishable 1-2 weeks after the Wood. Once they do shape up, try covering the water with large attractor patterns and keep moving. Early in the season the fish will be in unconventional places; covering the water always pays off on the upper Big Lost.
South Fork of the Boise
Currently, the South Fork is running at 600cfs. This is a boatable and fishable level but be prepared to nymph since the hatches on this tailwater pick up a little later than its freestone counterparts. Big stonefly nymphs and San Juan Worms will be your best bet early on the South Fork with the Caddis and Stonefly hatches coming soon.