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

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report – February 19, 2019

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report – February 19, 2019



Baby it’s cold outside. Here in the Wood River Valley, high temperatures have been in the teens and single digits, and the fishing has slowed somewhat. The good news is that recent snows have pushed our snowpack over the 100% mark, with more snow in the immediate forecast. As we all know, fish need water, and high-water years on local rivers and streams equate to excellent fishing throughout the spring, summer, and fall. 

Even with the latest cold snap, anglers fishing during the right conditions have had success on both Silver Creek and the Big Wood River. Streamer fishing on Silver Creek has produced some outstanding fish this winter. This is “quality over quantity” fishing; winter streamer fishing on the creek provides anglers with one of the best opportunities to catch a trophy brown. On colder days, fish streamers slow and methodically, covering key water thoroughly. As temperatures increase, streamers should be fished more aggressively. The old adage of “dark day, dark fly and bright day, bright fly” is a good rule of thumb to follow when streamer fishing, but don’t be afraid to experiment as well. Remember, the portions of Silver Creek north of Highway 20 remain open through the end of March, so expect fishing to get even better.

Fishing on the Big Wood is primarily a nymphing game right now. All your favorite nymphs will take fish - Copper Johns, Hare’s Ears, Pheasant Tails, Rainbow Warriors, Brassies, Zebra Midges, Princes, and Girdle Bugs are all excellent choices. A double nymph rig with a large point fly followed by a small dropper is your best bet. Concentrate your efforts on typical winter holding water – slow, deep pools and shallow runs with little current. Takes can be extremely subtle at this time of year, so pay attention! Midge dry fly opportunities will increase as we enter into March. 

Winter flows on the South Fork of the Boise remain stable at around 300 CFS. Nymphing will continue to be the most productive technique on the South Fork; don’t fish the river without a good selection of beefy Rubber Legs, cranefly larva, and small zebra midges in sizes 16 through 20. The road into the South Fork canyon can be a little dicey during the winter, so check current conditions and be prepared when making the drive.

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Fishing Report


Silver Creek

Silver Creek

February is a great month for winter fishing in the Sun Valley / Picabo area. The Midge hatches are still present, the Steamer fishing is still fantastic and the weather is making winter travel easy for now! Take advantage of the conditions and get out on the water. Low pressure should come in this weekend, and with a little snow fall, the fishing should be off the charts good!

Silver Creek is fishing great with Streamers. Duck hunting season has ended and the Creek is really quiet again. It seems the closer you fish to Picabo, the better the fishing. The more turbid the water is and the more cloud cover we have, the better the fishing as well. Picabo Angler does have some rarely fished private water available for a small rod fee if you are feeling extra adventurous. The weekend with the cloud cover should be really good. Remember to fish bright colors on bright days and darker colors on darker days. Be sure to stop by the shop if you come down to fish, our own Christian Reid is tying up some incredible bugs to fish. He can get you fresh patterns and point you toward some great fishing.

The Big Wood should fish well this week as we move into February. It’s time to start looking out for the Little Black Stoneflies as well. You can see these bigger winter / spring bugs running around on the snowy banks on the warmest days. If you see them try imitating them with Price Nymphs or Zug Bugs. Swinging these nymphs close to the bank will produce strikes, as these aquatic insects crawl from the center of the river to the banks to reproduce. If you only see Midges this week, stick with Brassies, Zebra Nymphs and Tie Down Midges. If you see neither insect then try Streamer fishing!

The Lost and the South Fork of the Boise are open and anglers have been sparse on both rivers. The reports are minimal. Watch the weather if you go this weekend. Driving conditions may not be optimal. If you do make it to either river we are using all the same winter patterns that we use on the Big Wood and Silver Creek. The Streamer fishing may not be on par, but the dry fly fishing and the Nymphing should be excellent! No matter where you fish this week, take a friend and be sure to tell someone where you’re going!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Fishing Report


There are so many opportunities and places to fish in the winter near Sun Valley and Picabo it is surprising so few people take advantage of it. For those that do add fly fishing to their winter sport repertoire, they have learned the joy of the winter quietude. They have also learned just how good winter fishing can be! The week ahead looks like a good one as sunshine and warmer days combine into a great fishing experience.

Silver Creek has a nice tint to the water on the lowest stretches. This is exactly what anglers want to see when the winter Streamer season kicks in. The fishing near Picabo Bridge has been consistent for anglers fishing from the bank. Point of Rocks is also fishing well, although a little more wading is required. The duck hunting season ends this Friday in Idaho, which will leave the Creek abandoned for the most part. Quiet days are about to become much quieter! If you head to Picabo to fish Streamers, use a heavy 2X tippet set up, please keep your catch in the water and not exposed to the cold air, and most importantly be safe – The water is cold!!!

The Big Wood continues to produce great Midge activity in the afternoons. The warmer the day, the sooner the surface action will start. With the temps this week, lunch to dinner time will be your best bet. Getting out earlier is fine, just be prepared to Nymph or Streamer fish if you must fish the colder part of the day. In any case you should catch fish, and if you find one, you should find 12 in the same spot! Trout love to group together in the winter. Find a few of these winter holes and you can be in the fish all day long.

The South Fork of the Boise and the lower Lost River are fishing well for those willing to make the trek. Midges still rule the day on both of these rivers with great opportunities to cast nymphs like Girdle Bugs and Red Copper Johns. This would be a good week as far as weather goes to make the journey. No big storms are on the way and nighttime temps should firm up any muddy roads. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check for changes before you go! The South Fork of the Boise is not where you want to be when it rains in the winter! Have fun and be safe!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

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Sun Valley Fishing Report


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Winter on Silver Creek

With the spirit of the Holidays upon us, now would be a great time to stop for a moment and think of all the ways we could give back to the rivers, lakes and fish we all love so much. On a local level that starts with the most basic things, from how we deal with one another, to how we take care of our resources.

To find a beginning let’s look at access points and what takes place there. We rig our rods, make a plan, and maybe fuel up on water and snacks. Many access points on our local streams are found in neighborhoods or close to local businesses or on beautiful country lanes. One thing they all have in common is “access.” To keep these access points from ever being contentious places with those who live near them, it is up to us, the angler to keep them clean and better than we found them. This means picking up after ourselves, and if need be, picking up after others. Without question this simple act also needs to extend up and down the river corridors as well.

Access points also offer us an opportunity to encounter our fellow anglers, who are also out looking to have fun. This is a moment for us to practice kindness and a spirit of shared experiences! When we encounter our fellow angler, the number one thing we can do is engage them. Ask a few basic questions, like have they fished much in the area? Is there somewhere particular they were wanting to fish? Then we can act graciously. We can acquiesce and fish elsewhere. We can go about our plan, and kindly make clear what we planned to do. We can share a fly or a tip about the hatches, or maybe we can be the benefactor of someone else’s kindness and good nature!

Finally, we can use the access points for just that! Access!!! We can appreciate all the public access in the state of Idaho and vow to always fight to protect these areas from fences or those who would try to turn everyone’s Idaho into their own private place. Our public lands and supporting laws are part of what makes Idaho great!

So, this winter, take a moment, breathe the fresh air, feel the cool on your cheeks, and then ask yourself, “How can I make a fellow angler happy today, while I pursue my happiness!”

Sun Valley Fishing Report


John Huber & a winter rainbow. Silver Creek

Identifying winter water is the biggest key to catching a lot of trout when the snow is on the ground. In the winter the fish tend to gather up and winter over in certain sections of river that offer them a few advantages to getting past the long cold months. You can save yourself some prospecting time by keying in on the places where fish want to be.

Food source is certainly a driving factor for these fish when it’s cold. The winter months really only provide the fish with one insect to eat. That is the Midge. Although this insect can be found all year, it becomes prevalent in the winter and the main food source for trout, outside of eating other fish. Midge water normally consists of slow moving water. It may be a smooth surface, a riffled surface or even a foam filled back-eddy. These are places where fish can easily sip Midges from the surface. Often times, finding these areas is as simple as looking at the snowy banks and looking for the bug peppering the bankside snow. If you see this, watch the nearby water closely for rising fish! This normally happens between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Water depth is also a key component to finding winter holding water. Try to find areas that are from thigh to waist deep water. Avoid the thinnest water at the head of the pools, unless the Midge activity is off the charts. Than you may find fish moving into skinny water. Mostly though, watch the middle of the pools. Avoid going super deep, unless there are no bugs and its super cold outside. Runs that have boulders and other structures are often great places to watch for rising fish.

Slow water is among the most important attributes to finding winter fish. Fishing can be broken down into the simplest math. Fish will not spend more calories to take in food than they are expending. This means a fish will not sit in fast water when there is no available food source, or not enough food to make up the calorie exchange. Finding water where a fish can fin easily in the current or lack thereof is huge. The fish need water slow enough to see the tiniest Midge, but fast enough to keep their gills pumping oxygen. A good rule, if the water is difficult to wade or cross, it is too fast!

Happy Winter Fishing Everyone!