The Big Lost River
I think of this river as three rivers, or areas in one drainage. Number one is the upper area. There are 2 creeks that are of importance here. First the North Fork. This small feeder stream starts in the northwest area of the Big Lost drainage and connects with the East Fork to form the Main Big Lost River. The North Fork has only a small sampling of insect hatches and therefore is maintained by the Idaho Fish and Game as a "put and take" fishery. Fish stalking programs around the campgrounds and bridges are the only reliable fishing on this creek. If you want to take the kids to catch some trout for dinner, this is the place. It's beautiful, secluded and the fish are easy. The best fly fishing water in the upper watershed by far is the East Fork of the Big Lost. This stream drains the southern area of the Big Lost and has good insect activity throughout the season. This stream is maintained as a Wild Trout fishery and has restricted regulations so check the Fish and Game regulations before you go! Access is limited due to private land but there are areas to get in the river. Look for steps over the fences and spots along the road. Fishing on this river is pretty easy, medium sized dry fly's and an assortment of nymphs will catch very nice wild Rainbows and Cutthroat Trout. The best piece of advise on this stream is to walk carefully and slowly. The fish are spooky. The second section is the main stem of the Big Lost located below the confluence of the North and East Forks. This section is tricky wading and has fewer fish. Hatches can be good at times but not to consistent. This also has restricted regulations and you should check before you go. The Main Lost is a good choice for solitude and a few nice sized wild fish on dry fly's. Access is very easy to the river. The third section is the tailwater fishery below Mackay. This 5 mile stretch of water is a fantastic area for wild Rainbows that average 15 to 21 inches. In high water the wading is very difficult, but when the river drops in the late fall, access is much easier. Private land is the biggest problem here. There are however two Fish and Game access areas (one with camping) right below the dam. The fishing on this river is very much like Silver Creek in the fact that the fish are spooky and they like the "small" food. Again long leaders with light tippet is the norm. And like the Big Wood this river can fish well in the winter. The only way to get to the Lower Big Lost in the "snow" months is to go through Arco on Highway 93. This river should diffidently be fished the first time with a guide.