A big new change for our local fishing quietly happened at the new year. The Lower Big Lost River--lower is designated as below the Mackay Reservoir--is now open ALL year. That's right. It's now catch and release from Dec. 1st to the Friday prior to Memorial Weekend. It will be great to have a Spring Tailwater Fishery in our back yard. Generally speaking, the river flows around 110-200 cfs until late May when irrigators start making their annual "calls" for water. What this means is we should have two very good months of dry fly fishing. As I have never fished the Lost in April but having fished it the final day in March for many consecutive years, the baetis should be very, very strong. Once the snow is cleared from Trail Creek Summit sometime in May that will make for an even shorter drive. I have also observed over the years that the rainbows on the Lower Lost begin spawning far earlier than rainbows on any of our other local water. By February many fish can be spotted on redds and by the end of March they have been in full spawn mode for some time. Rainbows on the Big Wood, however, generally start their spawning in April and are done sometime around mid-June.
Here are two images of ice on the Big Wood River: