Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Fishing Report by Bill Mason

Bill Mason

Another fishing season is upon us and as is the case with every opening, each year presents us with a few challenges that make things always interesting. Although our snowpack was slightly below normal with the late runoff, I expect fairly normal water levels throughout much of the fishing season. Unfortunately, with 70-80% of snow water content still remaining in the backcountry, I'm a bit concerned how the rest of the runoff will come off. If it gets warm like this past weekend (and you know it will), it could come off at a torrid rate. If it stays unseasonably cool, we could see prolonged high, off-colored water throughout the better part of June. Neither scenario would make my "A" list. Let's all hope for something in between and reasonable.

As to the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, I did some prowling around last week and things looked unusually good and very fishable for the opener. Unfortunately, the warm temperatures over the past weekend changed all that. All rivers swelled in water content and levels thus now limiting where we can wet a line. Sound familiar? That said, let's take a look at those waters that will be target rich.

SILVER CREEK—As usual, the "Creek" will have the biggest bulls-eye on its back. Checking it out last week, the water is low but in great shape. Hatches can be inconsistent this time of year but there were bugs on the water and the fish were on them. Pale Morning Duns (E. inermis) were hatching around noon and a Parachute PMD #16, Cut-Wing PMD #16 and a PMD Cripple #16 should do the trick. Although not seen, Callibeatis is always lurking in early June. A Thorax Speckled Dun #16, Partridge Spinner #16 and a Crippled Callibeatis #16 should always be carried. Flashback Pheasant Tails, Hares Ear and Callibeatis nymphs #14-16 will work if the surface is void of working fish. Also, because the fish are not fussy and hatches can be all over the place this time of year, even small Brown or Olive Wooly Buggers #12-14 will find a few fish casting blind. Take advantage of it now because the fish get educated real quick.

BIG WOOD RIVER—Last week, the river was high but fishable in selected places. Because of the warm weather, all bets are now off the table. It may be too dangerous to wade. Leave it to the kayakers for they love it under these conditions.

BIG LOST—The water levels on the upper river (Copper Basin) have jumped up indicating that runoff has started in the backside of the Pioneers. The lower river below Mackay Reservoir is still flowing at winter levels (100 cfs) but historically, we all know what that means. Just before Opening Day, the irrigation district loves to play "Mr. Evil Empire", by opening the gates and flooding us out. If everything remains constant, you might find some Midges and early Beatis on the water. Otherwise, wading and getting around can be nasty. Nymphing with weighted Prince Nymphs #8-10, Copper Johns #10-12, Crane fly Larva #8 and San Juan Worms will take fish in selected places and that's all the river will offer. Call fly shops for water update before venturing.

WARM SPRINGS/TRAIL CREEK—Not for awhile. Refer to the Big Wood report.

PENNY LAKE/LAKE CREEK—Both were heavily planted last week and fishing should be great using flies, bait and small spinners. A great place for kids on opening day. A little mentoring out there wouldn't hurt. The weekend weather looks good so have a great time.

HENRYS FORK—Upper river running at 1400 cfs. That means Island Park Reservoir is full and water is freely spilling over outlet. Boating in Box only using Black Stonefly Nymphs #2-4. Caddis at Last Chance. Water below Ashton Dam (Sealy's) very high.

SOUTH FORK SNAKE RIVER— Releasing water out of Palisades and now at 12,800 cfs. Boating only.

SOUTH FORK BOISE RIVER— Water still at winter/storage levels (600 cfs). Fishing should be good but hatches sparse. Some Beatis and Caddis on surface. Stonefly Nymphs #8-12, Copper Johns #12-14 and Prince Nymphs.

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