Picabo Angler

Pee-Ka-Boo is a Native American word meaning "Shining Waters."

Picabo Angler is a destination: A full-service fly shop & outfitter located on the banks of world-renowned Silver Creek

May 3, 2016

May 3, 2016.


          Today the Pelicans arrived on the Double R Ranch. From the 1st of May each year, your Stream Keeper patrols the Double R stretch of Silver Creek 5 or 6 times a day, chasing White Pelicans off the creek with his noisy diesel pickup. Two years ago we had a flock of 120 pelicans, so this year I am trying to nip it in the bud by chasing them all over the creek, hoping that they will just get so frustrated and leave the area. It does little good to just shoo them off the Double R as our trout migrate all over the creek on a seasonal basis.  These critters will each 4 or 5 trout a day.


          I am turning this new handout into a blog entry so that those inclined Members can stock up on productive terrestrial patterns before the selection at fly shops diminishes. Another reason is that you never know when terrestrials will be important on Silver Creek; two weeks ago I observed trout rising to a flight of flying ants!

          Spring Creeks like Silver Creek provide great opportunities for anglers who enjoy fishing a variety of terrestrial patterns, which can be essential during the doldrums of late summer. Some anglers will tie on a beetle, ant or other small attractor (like a #20 Royal Wulff) when frustrated by the Trico hatch. Exciting results can be obtained by fishing terrestrial patterns up against the bank where large trout hide under over hanging grass. One key in the selection of terrestrial pattern is knowledge of which terrestrials fall into the creek at a particular time of year, which can be gained by watching what floats by your float tube. Your Stream Keeper’s float tube always contains a box holding a wide variety of terrestrial offerings.


          On the Double R Ranch water you commonly encounter black or cinnamon bodied ants, and less frequently see ants with different body colors fore and aft. All one needs is a fur or foam bodied pattern in these colors, in a size 16. I always carry a larger black ant pattern, such as in a size 12, which imitates both large ants and other black terrestrials found in this basin. Some anglers will be aided by patterns tied with a tuft of orange or chartreuse poly for greater visibility.

          During the 2015 season I fell in love with a commercially tied pattern called “Ant Misbehaving.” It has a synthetic body with synthetic legs tied on its side. I just drifted it across the stream as I would fish a soft hackle and the Ant Misbehaving pattern saved my bacon several times. You’ll definitely want to pick up some of these before the season starts. They are really cool looking and very productive.

          Flying Ant patterns fall in the category of “Don’t Leave Home Without them.” Flying Ants are usually a summer event but are not predictable; you’ll encounter a mass flight of Flying Ants one afternoon and then not see them again for a week. Just “Be Prepared.” Pick up a couple of patterns at Picabo Angler.


          There are those hot windy summer days when not a mayfly is hatching and there is too much vegetation to ply the creek with a nymph or soft hackle. Time to tie on a beetle pattern. Whereas your Stream Keeper carries only a few ant patterns, I have always packed a much larger variety of beetle offerings. It could be my confidence in a limited selection of ant patterns does not transfer over to fishing beetles, so I over-compensate by carrying a multitude of beetle patterns. Who Knows?

          The one “trusty” beetle pattern I will admit to features a body of peacock herl with a shell/top fashioned from black deer hair. This Crowe Beetle is a traditional pattern which has worked for me on Silver Creek for decades. I carry 3 different sizes of this pattern.

          But, it is a rare occasion when I peruse through a shop’s selection of flies without picking up a couple of beetle patterns “new” to me, in all colors, sizes and shapes.


           I used to associate the Cranefly with big Western rivers such as the Big Hole and Madison, but as the years fly by and I become more observant I have noticed a fair number of Craneflies on the Double R during the summer heat. I’ve caught just a precious few trout on commercially tied dry Cranefly patterns but have relished those infrequent victories. A dry Cranefly is truly an attractor pattern, or on which I just chuck out over fussy trout that have been eluding me. I have had more success fishing long, and I mean long, tan Cranefly nymphs up against the bank.


          I once encountered a flight of termites at the Dam Hole (#5). I venture that few of us carry a termite pattern or would recognize a flight of termites; I sure didn’t. But, it happened to me one day and I had to improvise. The fly that ultimately solved the puzzle and brought to the net a dozen trout in the 15 to 20 inch range was rather similar to a size 12 peacock bodied Troth’s Elk Hair Caddis with palmered furnace hackle. I had found them in a 50 cent box next to the cash register of a fly shop.


          If the terrestrial pattern I am swimming across the creek is not my favorite Ant Misbehaving, then it surely is a bee imitation. Jut bout ay pattern will suffice, provided its body features alternating stripes of yellow then back material. You needn’t purchase one of those rather spendy super-realistic bee imitations although they are very effective and have my confidence. The classic “McGinty” bee imitation works just fine. One can either pound the bank or skitter the bee imitation across the stream.

Doug Andres

Stream Keeper, Double R. Ranch