You might say my weekly fishing report, now into its 31st year, is like a bad penny that keeps turning up year after year. But here we are, another year, and another Memorial Day weekend is upon us. It's time to dust off the rods and lubricate our reels. The opening of the general fishing season has arrived. Unfortunately and at this point, water conditions are now all about air temperature and the weather.
Because of our below normal snow pack, I was fairly optimistic about early-season water levels and clarity. As usual, Mother Nature still carries the big stick and this weekend's opening will have its limitations. At this time, we haven't seen much relief in our current snow pack levels. Knowing that warm weather will come, I do fear that runoff has the potential to cause some problems. This past weekend was not much help as well. Let's take a look at what will be available:
SILVER CREEK—As usual, the "Creek" will be the Opening Day hotspot. Took a peak at it last week and the water is low, with very little weed growth but clear. Both PMD's (E. dorothea infrequens) and Callibeatis spinners were seen hatching and a few fish were on them. Specifically, a PMD Parachute #16, PMD Cripple #16, Pheasant Tail Nymph #14-16 and Partridge Spinner #16 should find fish. Speaking in general terms, for at least the first week a host of fly patterns can also be effective. They may include Ant and Beatle patterns, small Wooly Buggers #12-14 and Midge Pupa #18.
The "Creek" is nowhere near prime conditions and is one of the only places to find success wetting a line. Besides, it's easy and the fish are not as selective as they will become. Have a go at them.
BIG WOOD RIVER—Real iffy. We have as much snow pack/water content in the backcountry now as we had in mid-April. The water MIGHT be clear enough to fish but very dangerous to wade and even the clarity issue could change if the weather warms. If clear, side channels and back eddies could work by using big Stonefly Nymphs #8-10 and Jigs. But in general, it's probably going to be marginal. Keep your dry flys at home.
BIG LOST—Interestingly, and if I am reading it correctly, the Pioneer Mountains, or the headwaters of both the Big Lost and Little Wood, received very little snow pack and thus water content over the winter. This situation could round the Upper Lost into shape early or at least earlier than expected. Presently, the water is high on the upper sections making it not worth the time. The lower Lost is running nicely at 250 cfs but I wouldn't bet the farm on it holding there at the opening. The irrigators love turning the tables on us. With little runoff, the East Fork could be an early sleeper. I will keep you up to date.
WARM SPRINGS/TRAIL CREEK—Will be high and certainly not in prime shape. It might be worth a look-see but I think both will be questionable.
PENNY LAKE/LAKE CREEK—Based on tradition, both will be heavily planted by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. So they should provide some nice fishing for anglers of all ages. Flies, bait and lures should all be effective. That's because these fish, at least for awhile, don't know any better. Leave a few for the kids.
SOUTH FORK OF THE BOISE—Currently running at 600 cfs and if it holds, the river is both navigable and fishable. Hatches probably will be sparse with a few Caddis flitting about resulting in the best opportunities coming underneath with nymphs. Caddis Pupa #12-14, Flash Back Pheasant Tails #12 and Stonefly Nymphs #6-8 will probably be the most effective. That said, throwing a Para Adams #12-14 is always an option, especially in back channels in the upper end. Not sure when they will begin calling for water but it should be monitored on a daily/weekly basis.