I have to tell you the snow in Island Park Idaho is a double edge sword for me. On the one hand I love to see the white stuff! The more the merrier. We have an instant trout fishery up here, just add water! On the other hand I have been stuck in my own drive way and have shoved and plowed more snow this winter than I want to talk about! I must admit though I hope it continues. Looking at the long term forecast it looks like I am going to get my wish. It is always hard to know what the weather is going to do but what we need to happen is more snow and a cool spring. The overall snow pack for east Idaho currently looks great, the key is more, more and more!
As of today I have not even strung a rod this winter. The -30 degree temps have kept me close to a warm fire in my cabin. Twenty years ago I would have been all about it! Perhaps with age comes a little wisdom. The month of February is almost upon us. I for one can’t wait. I am hopeful that temps will come up and winter will release some of its icy grip on east Idaho. Some of the best fishing in the region is about to happen. As it warms up large pods of trout can be found sipping midges in the back waters of the Henry’s Fork. You will find much of the same on the Madison, Teton and the South Fork of the Snake. The key to successful dry fly fishing in the early season is all about timing. There is no point being on the water until around noon. As the day warm you will begin to see the signs of the Midge hatch. It starts with a rise ring here and there, look down at the snow on the river bank and it appears as though someone came through with a pepper shaker. More rise rings and a sudden appearance of Water Ouzel birds or dippers as we call them here. Keep an eye on the river and you will find a pod of trout greedily eating every midge in site! It has been my experience that bug selection is not super important. A Griffith Gnat or small Parachute Adams #18- #22 should cover it. If nymphing is your game than #18 Zebra Midges and #10 Rubber Legs will always do the trick.
March April and May are of course, magic in our area. Blue Wing Olives, Caddis and March browns! I have seen what appears to be every fish in the Henry’s Fork rising to March Browns. I recall a spring trip with my good friend and outdoor journalist Kris Millgate last spring. We launched the boat at the Ora access on the lower Henry’s Fork. The day started a little slow. We found a fish here and there. We were fishing streamers and nymphs. The main reason of the trip was to knock the rust off of Millgate’s rowing ability. We stopped at the Vernon access for lunch and that’s when it happened. The March Browns began to hatch. It started slowly at first, just like it always does, with a rise ring here and there but suddenly the rise ring were frequent and everywhere! We were spotting large fish up eating all over the river! Take off the Rubber Legs and tie on a #10 Parachute Adams! Three cast and one drag free drift later Kris was hooked up! This went on for hours, that day will stick in my mind. The one thing that really sticks out in my mind that day is that we were the only boat on that stretch. We had the whole river to ourselves!
I think the key to successful spring fishing in our area is both patients and flexibly. Predicting spring time weather in our area is next to impossible. Plan on multiple days, in a three day period your likely to have some good fishing. It may be 55 and warm one minute and the next minute you may experience a blinding snow storm. Bring plenty of warm gear. A dry change of clothes is also a good idea. Be ready to move around in order to find fish. A boat is not always a good call in the spring. Of course always give us a call at the fly shop for up to the minute information. While your at it take a peek on our website. We are running a spring special from February 15th through April 30th. 425.00 for the day. This is a great deal for the amazing fishing that can be found in our area that time of the year.