While Silver Creek, the Big Wood River and the South Fork Boise River all remain closed to fishing until Saturday, May 29, we do have some excellent fishing opportunities on a few local waters.
The lower Big Lost River below Mackay Reservoir is top on the list. This fishery is open year-round, and good fishing can be had while flows remain below 300 CFS (flows are presently at 108 CFS). The river is seeing good hatches of midges and BWOs (Baetis) on most afternoons, and nymphing consistently produces fish. A bit of red or orange on your nymphs is a good idea this time of year (Copper Johns, Rainbow Warriors, Brassies, Zebra Midges) as the fish are seeing plenty of eggs throughout the river system. Please keep an eye out for spawning redds and avoid actively spawning fish. The river seems to be getting a bit more angler traffic than usual, so practice good etiquette and give each other a bit of space. Here at Picabo Angler we’ve got everything you need to prepare you for a great day on the Big Lost!
Area lakes and reservoirs really come into their own during April and May. As the ice recedes and water opens up, these fish become more active and are on the hunt for food. Streamer and leech patterns are go-to flies on area lakes and reservoirs. Sink-tip or Intermediate fly lines are game changers when fishing these patterns on area stillwaters. Small midge pupa and chironomid patterns under an indicator will also take plenty of fish. Concentrate efforts on any visible edges or seams (ice shelf/open water, dirty water/clean water, etc.), rocky points, and drop-offs. Magic Reservoir, Mackay Reservoir, Little Wood Reservoir, Mormon Reservoir and Carey Lake all provide great fishing opportunities during the next two months.
Steelhead fishing on the Salmon River is picking up with warmer weather and increased flows. Fish are being caught throughout the upper river system. When fishing near Stanley, indicator nymphing likely pocket water is most productive. Have a good supply of egg patterns, large Prince nymphs and gaudy Stonefly nymphs. For fishing larger water near Challis, use egg-sucking leeches, bunny leeches, and traditional steelhead patterns such as the Green-Butt Skunk, Polar Shrimp, and Skykomish Sunrise. Cover lots of water and enjoy the scenery as well!
Happy fishing, everyone!