Winter Fly Fishing on the Boise SF

30 November 2005 By Dan Bachman • Day-Spent-Fishing • Comments (1)

Ferrules icing up on the rod. Strong bitter winds finding every opening between my shell and waders. Snow landing acutely on the water. Winter fly fishing has a unique set of challenges that prevent all but the hardiest from getting out this time of year. In my 2 trips to different rivers since the beginning of November I have only seen 4 other people on the water.

So when my friend, Jim, and I decided to go to the South Fork of the Boise after Thanksgiving we thought we would have the place to ourselves. Jim was going to show me some of his ‘spots’ on the river that have produced some big rainbows. We had talked about going literally all summer long but here it was the middle of November before we finally were able to find matching holes in our calendars.

Arriving on the river in the early afternoon we found the conditions terrible and the river crowded! Wet snow was falling the wind blowing. We went from spot to spot and hole to hole only to find them occupied by fisherman bundled up from head to toe. We counted 20 other brave souls on the water and drove downstream nearly 4 miles before finding a suitable and empty fishing hole. Our rigs consisted of golden stone nymphs 2-3’ below a football indicator. 18 inches below the stone a ‘green bean’ nymph finished the line. Fishing riffles and seams we were into a couple of fish after about 35 minutes. Jim caught a fat 17-18” beauty (see pic).

My previous trips to this river had been most successful when there was a hatch on. I had very little success when nymphing. I had been fishing the wrong water though. Nymphing the slower, deeper water was not where I should have been. Fish in the riffles and seams are actively feeding and more apt to take a presentation.

I didn’t land a one but had 4 hookups which was better than any 2 previous trips spent nymphing on this river. One big rainbow went airborne on me twice before breaking me off and left the water again trying to throw the hook. In the end I was left with only part of my 4x leader and a good idea of where I am going fishing next week.


  1. 16 December 2005 Rex Bachman

    Sounds like it beats Nebraska Mud hole fishin’

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