Like a bad penny, I’ve returned for another Fishing Report season. Opening Day is upon us and unlike any year I can remember, there are more questions than answers about the prospects of this fishing season. Whether it’s the massive restoration project on Silver Creek or the siltation issues created last fall on the Big Wood, this year may be tougher to predict in terms of insect activity than past years. From a water point of view, some areas are weak. But overall, we’re in very good shape, particularly the Big Wood drainage. Things will be limited for a while because of the iffy spring weather and lack of early runoff. Let’s get right to what opening day will offer for fishermen.
SILVER CREEK—As per usual, the Creek provides the best opportunities to catch and land a fish on Opening Day. With lack of weed growth and water flow, water levels are very low but it’s the massive changes in the floating pond areas above and below Kilpatrick Bridge that will get everybody’s attention. I scouted the area last week and found no shortage of fish, although things are a bit raw in appearance and will take at least a year to fully heal. What our hatches will be in these sections remains a question. A word of caution in the lower pond: The water is now very deep (nearly 10 feet) in many places and it has been suggested that swim fins might be needed to get back to the bridge (can you believe that?). Butch Harper thinks he might carry ping-pong paddles for better maneuvering. There has been some talk about creating a one-way path access back to the bridge but this has not materialized as of yet.
Hatches should consist of a few PMDs, a few Beatis spinners and significant Midge activity. PMD Parachutes and Cut-Wings #16-18, PMD Cripples #18 and PMD Nymphs or Pheasant Tail Nymphs #14, Parachute Beatis Duns and Spinners #20-22 and Black Midge Adults and Larva #20 should do the trick depending on what’s going on. Ant and Beatle imitations #16-18 can be very effective as well. Overall, I think the restoration will be great for the stream but it’s now an entirely new playbook. Learning how to fish it and what we will find is new to us. So let’s all be patient.
BIG WOOD RIVER—With runoff occurring and a lot more to come, the Wood won’t be fishable probably for now and the near future. From a siltation point of view, I think/hope we have dodged a big bullet. With a lack of snowpack, early snowmelt and ground absorption in the fire areas or mid-valley, with a strong, high runoff to come, this should clean the system of silt created last fall. The only question is about the insect aquatics situation but I guess we will know soon enough.
WARM SPRINGS/TRAIL CREEK—Like the Big Wood, snow runoff closes out these tributaries as well.
BIG LOST RIVER DRAINAGE—The Lost River drainage didn’t fare as well in terms of snowpack. Currently at 42% water content, the upper East Fork is too high to fish. Having recently kicked up the water releases from the dam to 600 cfs, the lower Lost is now carrying too much water to wade and fish effectively. If you’re going, be careful. Nymphs will be the order of the day.
PENNY LAKE/LAKE CREEK/GAVER’S LAGOON (HAYSPUR)—All will be heavily planted for the opening and will be nice places to catch a few fish. Various baits and flies will be your most effective methods to find them.