top of page

Old Man Winter Hanging Around | March 2023

This is kind of a good news...bad news report. Because of the continual colder temperatures we have experienced this winter, the early season fishing has seen a slow start. The good news is we are experiencing a kind of an old-time winter with good snows and the cooler temps have kept the snowpack in great shape.

Currently the Upper Snake River snowpack is at 107%, and over in Idaho, the Henry’s Fork snowpack is at 112%. The release from Jackson Lake Dam is 351cfs (a little low from the optimum winter release of around 480cfs). Again in Idaho, for the South Fork and the Henry’s Fork, the dam releases are a little low of their 30 year average, but not bad. On the South Fork the release below Palisades Reservoir is 925cfs. For the Henry’s Fork, Island Park is 249cfs and at the Ashton dam it’s 836cfs. For all three rivers, much better releases than last winter.

As I mentioned, it has been a slow start for early season fishing on these rivers. In most years, the midge fishing on the South Fork and Henry’s Fork would be in full swing by now. This year it has been spotty with having to pick the right days. On this side of the hill, usually the fishing normally really starts to pick up in late February and early March. But this year, with the consistent cold nights, the fishing has been pretty much non-existent. Theoretically, holding on to the snowpack should help our summer fishing. Sooner or later, we’ll have to see a change in weather patterns and in just the last couple of days we have seen milder day time temperatures.

I would expect fishing to pick up from here on in. I’d have my fly boxes stocked with selections of Midges and our Little Black Stonefly (family Captniidae). For Midges, Pupas, Emergers, and Adults should all be patterns to carry. In our area, have them from 18’s to 24 and red, brown, black, and gray will be colors of importance. For that Little Black Stone, there are very few commercially tied patterns for this insect. Fortunately, many midge imitations can crossover and can work quite nicely for this bug. Obviously in black and size 18’s and 20’s will be the norm.

On another positive note, the next important insects coming our way will be much larger. Skwalla Stoneflies in 8’s and 10’s and March Brown Mayflies in 12’s and 14’s will be next on our early season agenda. As I have said, this weather pattern is bound to change and the fishing will just get better.

A big THANK YOU goes out to all the people that took our Fly Tying Classes this year. Great people and good participation, made them a real success. Thanks again!

Until next time, good fishing.

- Howard Cole


bottom of page