Wintertime fishing is all about getting out, enjoying a little more solitude, and hopefully finding some good fishing! During the winter months, feeding windows shorten and tend to happen more towards the warmest part of the day. Being at the right place when fish are active can lead to some extremely productive sessions even in cold temps. Nymphing overall will definitely be the most productive technique during this time. Depending on the day, as BWO’s diminish into December, any hatch will typically be midges, and fish use very little energy while sipping size #20-24, look for slow foam seams where midges might be clustered, and keep an eye out for heads. Streamer fishing can still be productive, you just need to change up your technique a little bit as you would during the summer months. Slower swinging with small strips, or jigging flies across the bottom can pick up some quality fish. Sculpin variations and articulated flies with more natural tones and olive would be good colors to fish with.
Boise River Fishing Report – In Town
Steelhead have been stocked in town once again this year. Although at the time when the fish are released it can be very busy, the crowds will die out and the fish will disperse. You can still have a fair chance at finding them throughout the river in winter and they can be quite the surprise! A 6 or 7wt would be preferred, along with 0-1x tippet. Hot head stones, egg patterns, and leech variations will work. Also, remember to have your steelhead tag if you do plan to target steelhead!
The trout fishing for the month of November has been great! With the milder temperatures, the fishing has stayed fairly consistent all fall. Expect the fishing to slow down somewhat as we get into full wintertime conditions. But the river will still stay a solid option all winter. Pick a section of river and hit it with your favorite nymph tactics and you might get rewarded! One of the more productive winter nymphs you should have in your box are zebra midges. Midges are typically the dominant hatch throughout the winter and are present every day. Whether they hatch or not, the midge nymph will always be a player. Downsize to (#18-24) with 5-6x fluorocarbon for droppers and sometimes the biggest fish of the winter can come on the smallest bug! Still have a variety of jig-style nymphs in size (#14-18) to pair up with your midges.
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 road across Anderson Ranch Dam is now open again, and will become your only safe option for getting down into the tailwater. The road is maintained throughout the winter, but still recommend 4w4 vehicles!
Flows around 300cfs during the winter are optimal for wading as compared to summertime levels. With the abundant stonefly population present in the river, nymphing rubber legs and any stonefly pattern you have would be a solid option on your rig. Having success on the South Fork during the winter time means you need to have the right depth, weight, and drift to your rig, so make sure to make adjustments to your setup while fishing. Zebra midge variations, baetis, and stonefly patterns should be stocked in your box. For those of you that like tight-line nymphing, the South Fork offers great conditions for this technique! Checking the weather and road reports is recommended when heading to the South Fork. Remember the canyon gets cold, and can stay extremely cold! So be prepared when spending a day on the river.
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!