Spring is about to be upon us, and the fishing will start to get better as temps increase, which makes for longer feeding windows during the day. With a lot of rivers closing down in April, and run off to start. March is go time!
Boise River Fishing Report – In Town
Despite the flows being lower than normal throughout the fall and winter, expect them to stay at around 220cfs through March as well. We still may see lower flows into April as they will try and capture as much runoff into the Boise River Dam System as possible for the summer irrigation months. Nymphing is going to be the name of the game for the in-town stretch as it usually always is. Attractor nymphs, hot spots, flashback, basically anything to grab their attention a little more is a solid option for your rig. Zebra midges in size (#18-22) are always a good dropper behind a heavier lead fly. Euro nymphing is a solid option with the lower flows as well.
The dry fly fishing in town is inconsistent at best, but occasionally you can find fish sipping on midges, and BWO’s if they’re out. So keeping a close eye on foam lines, and slower water could potentially give you a chance to headhunt. Remember that when fish sip midges, they are barely breaking the surface so they can be hard to spot sometimes! and don’t let a small ring from the rise fool you as it could potentially be a larger fish!
With the increase of day and water temps into March, streamer fishing can be a really good option as fish are more apt to chase down and eat. Sculpin patterns, leeches, and even your bigger articulated patterns are a solid choice. Just remember when streamer fishing in town, cover as much water as possible. You’re not looking for quantity, just trying to find one of those big resident fish.
As we roll into March, keep an eye out for Redds from the spring spawn of Rainbows, and please avoid these areas and do not target them!
Recommended Boise River Flies: FB Pheasant Tail (#16-20), Copper John (#14-20), Higa’s SOS (#16-20), Red Neck (#14-18), SOB Czech Ginger (#14-18), Sheila Sculpin #4, Galloups Boogieman #2, Sculpzilla #2 (Zebra Midge (#18-22).
South Fork Boise Fishing Report – Tailwater
The South Fork Tailwater will be closing April 1st through Memorial Weekend (Anderson Ranch Dam to Neil Bridge) to let the Rainbows do their spawn. This means we have a little over a month of solid wading opportunities to get after it before the flows are running at levels ideal for floating! This next month can be really productive as we are approaching the pre-spawn which means they are trying to put on weight after the winter months.
Nymphing rubber legs with Baetis and Midge droppers are always a solid option. The river has a good population of stonefly nymphs, so running a Girdle Bug/Rubber Legs is always a great lead fly that has some weight, and dropping a variety of zebra midges (#18-22) and Baetis nymphs (#16-18) will find fish. Proper depth with your indicator and using split shot to have your bugs in the zone longer can make the difference between having a great day and just practicing casting. With the flows at 300 cfs, Euro nymphing is a solid option as well to fish those shallow riffles and buckets.
You can always expect to find fish sipping midges throughout the day, and once we start seeing warmer days, BWO’s and Skwalas should be present as well. If we can get an overcast day with some precip, BWO hatches in March can be prolific. The stonefly nymphs will start to become more active as Skwalas make their annual appearance so running a dry dropper rig through the riffles and seams should find some fish looking for their first big bug of the season.
As with any fishery in the spring, streamer fishing can be quite productive as well. Sink tips and weighted bugs such as sculpin variations and articulated streamers might move some of the bigger rainbows and also hook into one of those elusive Bull Trout that are present throughout the upper Boise River System. Please remember that the South Fork is Barbless and if you choose to use a double articulated streamer, you cut off one of the hooks as its single hook per fly only.
In the last couple weeks of March, you will begin to see spawning Redds in the shallow riffles, tail outs, and side channels. Although the river is still open till April 1st, please be aware of this and do not target spawning fish.
Recommended South Fork Boise Flies: Pat’s Rubber Legs (#6-12), Split case BWO (#16-20), Mercer’s Jigster Baetis (#16-18), Quill Jig (#14-16), RS2 (#18-22), Captive Dun BWO (#18-22), BWO Comparadun (#18-22), Sheila Sculpin (#4), Sculpzilla (#4)
Fishing report updated by Mike Raymondi
Stop by or call our Boise Fly Shop at 208-939-6065 for up to date information on conditions and to inquire about our Fly Fishing Guided Trips!