Idaho Rivers


What to Expect in March

Note: This What-To-Expect is from Westfly's Legacy pages and may not accurately reflect the current fishing at this venue

Late February and March are typically the wettest times for Idaho. If those conditions prevail, remember that saturated soil and heavy snowfalls are good for summer fishing, but they can create some uncertainties for March. Most of the uncertainty arises from how much water will be released from dams to make room for the spring runoff, and when that water will be released. So check the river levels before packing up the rod and going fishing.

As usual in March, a few warm days can raise the water temperature and the interest level of trout. It can even generate some top-water action with midge hatches (most of the month) and blue-winged olive hatches (later in the month).

Until the weather warms up, trout will tend to be in slow, deep places and not in the spots you find them in summer. Whitefish, however, will occupy the faster water. So if you like whitefish more than trout, drift your nymphs in the runs in which you sought trout last July.

In March, the main game will be midges and nymphs. Most standard nymphs will catch trout this month if you drift them near the bottom. Midge hatches will be common on cloudy, calm days, and may bring trout to the surface. If there is no surface action, go deep with two nymphs: a big one and a little one. Streamers are also an option, especially in deep, slow pools.

By the end of March we may see some blue-winged olive activity, weather permitting, so add a few imitations of that tiny bug to your arsenal.

Don't rush to the river on the first mild day after a cold snap. Give the weather a chance to stabilize and warm the water for a couple of days. Also, check river flows carefully. A sudden upward spike--probably due to snowmelt from warm weather or rain--will muddy rivers and put fish down until the flows start to drop and clear. Wait for Goldilocks weather--not too cold, not too hot, but just right--and you'll have good fishing.

Check the regs carefully before fishing.


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