The FISHING REPORT
The Owyhee River
We are experiencing some fluctuating warm and cool weather. There is still a lot of ice buildup on the more stagnate sections of the river, and the warmth is thawing some of these ice shelves. However, expect to come across the ice as things cool back down.
Midges (20-28) make up a bulk of the hatching flies on the water. Be sure to have a few different patterns to try out. Hatching midges and adult midges sit differently on the water and, believe it or not, the fish can tell the difference.
The occasional BWO (size 18-22) can be seen hatching on specific sections of water. The fish will likely feed on the BWO over the midge if both are on the water. When the fish are feeding on the BWO, the rising fish will come up less often. A fish feeding on midges will rise more often, however the fish rising on midges is almost invisible in comparison. This feeding behavior should be helpful when determining what fly you should throw to a rising fish.
Fishing streamers and midges is always a go-to this time of year. Although a rising fish is the most coveted fish to catch, with the colder season the opportunities are less likely. Small zebra midges (size 18-22), split-wing PMDs (size 18-22), hot spot nymphs (size 12-22), and pheasant tails (size 12-20) are great flies to start with this time of year.
South fork of the boise river
The road leading down to the river and over the dam is regularly maintained throughout the winter. We recommend all-wheel or four-wheel drive as a precaution this time of year. Ice can still build up on the road heading down in places where no sun hits, so be extra cautious when approaching the water.
Midges (size 18-22), BWOs (size 18-22), and mahogany duns (size 16-18), will make up the hatches you will come across on the river. Rising fish in the morning will likely be keyed on midges, with a BWO and the mahogany hatching in the afternoon. As the season grows colder the hatch window of opportunity will get smaller, but there are those sporadic days where the river can still light up this time of year. Keep an eye on a dip in the pressure system to hit one of those good dry fly days.
Nymphing this time of year is a great option, and often your only one. Try a few different sizes of nymphs to see what the fish are after. There are times when the fish will hit every stonefly nymph (size 12-14) or will ignore them and only hit smaller flies like perdigon nymphs (size 12-18).
If nymphing is not your game then you always have the option of streamer fishing. Play with your retrieve and the color of your streamer. Dark or light colors can make the difference, along with a fast or a slow retrieve. As it grows colder, the slower retrieve seems to be favored by trout. Getting yourself to slow your retrieve is the hard part. Good luck, and be sure to tag our shop on Instagram so we can like, and maybe even share, your success.
Upper South Fork Boise near Pine and Featherville:
until next year.
Middle Fork of the Boise River:
We are asked a lot of questions about the middle fork this time of year. The road is not maintained, and there are parts of the road that do not get any sunlight in the winter months. We recommend not going.
The Boise River
Boise River in Town:
The cold weather is really keeping most people off the water. Fishing can be great some days and difficult the next. Pay attention to the pressure system for the day. If you notice a dip in the pressure system then you are likely in for a better day on the water. If you see the pressure system spike, it usually has an affect on the fish, causing them eat less. This is all theoretical; however, we have found it to be more true than basing this decision on a sunny day versus a cloudy day. Some go-to nymphs for trout are the pheasant tail, copper john, zebra midge, hare’s ear, and the prince nymph. If you are looking for our party favorites, we prefer the smaller, faster sinking flies like the fire starter, Roza’s red tag, Duracell, SR bullet in olive, hollow point, and the blowtorch.
Steelhead in the Boise River:
You must have a steelhead tag, in addition to a valid fishing license, to target and fish for steelhead in Idaho.
125 steelhead were stocked in the Boise River on November 18th, and another 100-125 on the 23rd. To follow the steelhead stocking report follow this link: https://idfg.idaho.gov/fish/steelhead. It is likely that there will not be anymore steelhead stocked for this season.
The steelhead are still in the water, with the occasional one being caught. By now the steelhead have had a chance to move around in the river; however, there will still be a few that stay in the same spot they have been released. The behavior of the steelhead that stay put seems to be more predictable, meaning that they find a spot in the river and call that home. If you do hook a fish, keep in mind where you were fishing. Give it a day or so and try that same exact spot again to see if another steelhead has taken its place.
Hooking into a steelhead that roams the river can be a nice surprise. Often these steelhead swim for miles until they find a nice spot to call home. Although these fish take off from their original release spot, they can also be predictable. Year after year you can find these steelhead in the same locations in the river as you found them the previous year. So if you do luck into one of these roaming steelhead, be sure to pin your location to search for one next year in that same spot.
Larger trout nymphs work great for the steelhead, along with more traditional steelhead patterns. Try nymphing with a large Hare’s ear, prince nymph, or stonefly, along with a few traditional steelhead flies like egg patterns, egg sucking stoneflies, and even an egg sucking leech.
There is not much to report on the creek this time of year. The snow-covered creek bed makes for a spectacular sight in the early morning and winter sunset evenings. If you happen to capture this, please tag us on social media so we can share your picture.
You can see the occasional midge hatching on the river, and some little key-chain sized fish feeding on them. Most anglers that fish there this time of year may throw a stream or a small nymph to entice fish. Be cautious with duck blinds when fishing this area.
Some of the more popular winter fishing locations involve duck hunting. You can be rounding a point in a stream when echoing bangs come from just up-ahead, and it rains pellets all around you. Just be cautions when approaching smaller rivers this time of year.
Until next year…
bass & warm water fishing
Until next year…
high mountain lakes
Until next year…