Things change fast during the Drake! The tail end to a small emergence is happening right NOW! The grass has quite a few Drakes in it, so things must have started at first light today with the passing of several big thunderstorms. We can expect a small spinner fall tonight on the lower reaches of the river near Picabo Bridge.
We saw exactly ZERO Drakes last night. The bands from a very strong storm rolled into the Silver Creek Valley, just as things should have been ramping up. Looking at the weather, the weekend should produce some action. Sunday is supposed to be the hottest day, but Friday and Saturday don't look bad. With that said, we'll still be on the water tonight having a look around. Watch the weather, especially the temps and hopefully we see you this weekend!
The Drakes have arrived! Last night we saw a handful of spinners about an hour before sunset. Only a few fish came to the surface, but now that the train has left the station, there's no going back. Tonight, may or may not be a good night depending on today's storms. Keep an eye on the weather and watch the report here. If the storms clear early, it could be an epic night...if they linger then think about the weekend and the rest of this week! The weekend weather looks good for the Drake!
Not yet...cooler days and evenings were the norm from Saturday night through today. The sun is out again today and the temperatures should stay up as we approach the weekend. This bodes well for the Drake in the Picabo reaches of the the river. We will be out there tonight, so feel free to check with us in the morning, or watch the blog!
We went and looked for Brown Drake Nymphs yesterday. We found a few very ripe ones in the Picabo Bridge stretch. Maybe a week or so away from hatching, maybe just a few days...Close enough that anglers wanting to catch the first night of action should start watching Saturday night. Some warm weather could be what fires the proverbial starting gun! We checked the Willows section of the Creek as well, and although we found more numbers of nymphs, they weren't nearly as mature as what we found closer to Picabo. Our favorite patterns are on the counter, stop by and see us!
With the waterfowl hunting season progressing, ducks and geese become increasingly more shy and wary. After being subjected to hunting pressure for two months, ducks and geese are less likely to respond to techniques that hunters used on opening day. Here are a few tips to consider when hunting late season birds.
Concealment – Late season waterfowl are very skittish and will take extra time inspecting potential landing areas. Ducks and geese will circle repeatedly before committing to landing, and anything unnatural sends them flaring. Total concealment is a must for late season ducks and geese. Wear appropriate camouflage for the conditions, whether you’re hunting field stubble, a river blind, snow, etc. Don’t forget to cover your face! Face-paint, a face mask, or a balaclava all work well as cover up. In your blinds, be sure to have sufficient overhead cover to prevent ducks and geese from seeing you when they are looking down. Take extra time to add natural vegetation to your blind. When you think you’ve added enough, add some more! I always carry camo netting or burlap to use in an emergency, or to cover up the unexpected. Whenever possible, position yourself so that you and/or your blind does not cast a long shadow as the sun moves.
Decoys – When it comes to decoys, think small spreads for late season hunting. Large decoy spreads and motion decoys that worked well during the early season are less effective as the season progresses. Scale back decoy spreads to as few as a half dozen clean, lifelike decoys. Consider using “confidence” decoys like swans or coots to put birds at ease. Don’t be afraid to experiment with spreads that ducks and geese haven’t seen.
Calling – During the late season, less is more. Ducks and geese that have been hunted repeatedly have heard everything, and don’t respond well to loud, repeated calling. Call softly and sparingly. When birds are circling, it’s best to call as they fly away from you; call to tails and wing tips! Quiet, natural calls like feed calls, chuckles, and the whistle of a drake mallard are particularly effective.
While hunting the late season offers a few challenges, some of the best waterfowl hunting can be had as the season progresses and the weather worsens. Incorporate these tips to increase your success. Above all, have fun and hunt safe!
As summer transitions into fall, it's time to start prepping for the upcoming upland hunting season. Too many hunters simply grab the trusty shotgun the day before a bird hunt, with never a second thought about preparation. But like any other endeavor, a bit of preparation before the hunting season starts will increase the odds of success, and ensure safe, fun, and productive outings. Here are a few tips that will get you ready for wing shooting season:
Move! Upland hunting often involves a good bit of strenuous activity, often at higher elevations; walking, climbing, scrabbling over rocks, etc. Getting active and into shape prior to hunting season will allow you to cover more ground safely. Hiking, walking, and bicycling are all excellent cardiovascular activities that help get you into hunting shape. Don't forget to wear a pack carrying a bit of weight, simulating actual hunting situations.
Shoot! If you haven't picked up a shotgun in a few months, shoot several rounds of sporting clays. Unlike trap and skeet shooting, sporting clays mimic the unpredictable nature of live-bird shooting, and better prepares you for hunting situations. Shooting a few rounds of sporting clays will knock off the rust and have you hitting more birds afield.
Tune up the dog! Now is the time to get your favorite hunting partner ready for the upcoming season. A good bird dog that has been fishing or hiking all summer needs a bit of time to get back up to speed, just like we do. Seasoned, older dogs will need less of a refresher course, while young pups might need a bit more work and preparation. Here at Picabo Angler, we offer pre-season puppy training outings along with veteran dog refreshers. Call the shop at 208-788-3536 for more information.
Be careful! A little caution is in order for both hunters and dogs. Early season upland hunting can often be warm, sometimes fairly hot, and overdoing it can quickly lead to heat exhaustion or heat stroke. Limit activity to the cool temperatures of the early morning, have plenty of water available, and cut the sessions short. Carrying a small first aid kit can be helpful during early season hunting. Sharp rocks, cheat grass, and barb wire can all cause problems, particularly to a dog's pads that haven't been conditioned. Remember, this is rattlesnake country, so be aware!
Have fun! Don't fret if your dog bumps that first rooster or blows through a covey of chukar. You'll find more birds, and your dog will get dialed in. Take the time to enjoy your surroundings and the varied upland hunting opportunities that Idaho has to offer. Praise your the dog when he does it well! There's few things as satisfying in hunting as watching a good bird dog do its job.
Here at Picabo Angler, we look forward to upland hunting as much as fishing! Please give us a call to find out more about dog training sessions and our guided hunting opportunities.
Want to be a better angler on Silver Creek?
Silver Creek is one of the most special places in Idaho. Few waters can rival the Creek’s abundance of insects, dry-fly eating trout, and spectacular surroundings. Many anglers consider Silver Creek the mecca of spring creek fly fishing. Even with all its accolades, Silver Creek is considered one of trout fishing’s most technical waters. Glassy currents, crystal clear waters, and frequently fussy trout often equate to anglers leaving the Creek feeling a bit frustrated. Here are a few suggestions to help you become a better angler on Silver Creek.
*Be a hunter. Adopt the skills and techniques used by successful hunters. Move slowly, quietly, and with purpose. Pay attention to your surroundings and observe your quarry. Be patient. Silver Creek is not the place for “run and gun” fishing.
*Slow it down. Leave that fast action 6-weight rod at home. Rather, fish more moderate action rods that deliver dry flies with greater delicacy and accuracy, and are soft enough to help protect fine leaders and tippets, that are often necessary on Silver Creek, from breaking off big fish!
*Watch the weather. During the summer, look for calm, cooler, overcast days. These are ideal times to encounter the Creek’s finest hatch activity. On windy days, take advantage of a little chop on the water and fish terrestrials – grasshoppers, beetles, ants, and damsels.
*Mix it up. Don’t be afraid to experiment or try something different. It’s easy to become stuck in a rut while fishing the same fly patterns and waters that every other angler is fishing. Many anglers would be surprised at how often doing something completely different and mixing up your fishing program pays off.
*Don’t be afraid of the dark. Many of Silver Creek’s largest trout tend to be nocturnal; seeking cover during bright, sunny days and feeding aggressively at night. Some of the best fishing on the Creek happens during dawn and dusk hours, as well as in the middle of the night.
*Breathe. Relax. Soak it all in. Enjoy your surroundings. There’s so much to see and experience on Silver Creek. Take the time to enjoy all that the creek has to offer. You’ll be amazed at what you see, hear, and feel. Let go of the pressure, and slow down to the speed of the Creek. This will help make you a successful Picabo Angler!
John Huber, Picabo Angler's Outfitter, appears in a two page image in issue 8.3 of The FlyFish Journal.
Here's a series of videos on Silver Creek access points we put together last year. Hopefully this answers some questions and even helps out with the "Where Should I Go?" questions you may have prior to heading down to Silver Creek.
This video series starts with the bottom end of Silver Creek at Priest Rapids and works its way all the way upstream to The Nature Conservancy section.