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

Filtering by Tag: Fall Baetis

Sun Valley Fishing Report - Sept 28, 2016

Cooling temperatures are beginning to close the daytime fishing windows. Expect a shift closer and closer to midday fishing as things continue to cool down. This doesn’t mean we will see a drop off in fishing. In fact we should see a true push away from the summer hatches, including the big Callibaetis hatches we have been experiencing, and a lot more of the Fall Baetis, Mahogany Duns.

Silver Creek is truly special right now. I have been saying this for weeks, but if you want to see the Creek full of crystal clear water, now is the time. If you want to see massive Bull Moose walking about and watch the evening ritual of Bull Elk bugling, now is the time. If you want to see the beginnings of the water fowl migration, coupled with the migration of giant Brown Trout, now is the time!

Plan on the fishing to start later and later in the day. Right now about 10:00 is plenty early and by weeks end 11:00 should suffice. Once the action begins, anglers can normally fish pretty close to dark this time of the year. If you want to stay, this is the best time of the year to target the biggest fish in the Creek with a Mouse pattern after dark.

Take all your Silver Creek techniques if you head for the Big Wood this week. Fall Baetis and fish moving into the slick water tail-outs of the runs will force anglers to bring out the 6X tippets and a low profile as you approach. Patterns like Gulper Specials, and Parachute Adams in a size 20 and 22 will work great.  Fish small Orange Stimulators north of town to imitate the October Caddis and don’t forget a big size 12 H and L Variant when nothing else is working.

The Upper Lost is beginning to quiet down for the season, but if you want solitude and some decent fishing there is still some opportunity for adventurous anglers. The Lower Lost continues to fish well with Baetis and most red colored nymphs like Copper Johns and San Juan Worms.

The South Fork of the Boise should bust loose with Fall Baetis earlier in the day as the temperatures are cooling. The fishing has been good, but a late start has kept anglers away. Expect things to crank up around noonish as we feel the air chill.

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Fishing Report - September 7, 2016

The fishing is about to turn epic! Are you ready? True fall weather has descended over the valley and the hatches and fishing that come with have begun! Plan on shorter fishing windows and late morning starts as we enter one of the best times of the year for anglers.

Silver Creek angler numbers are way down as the kids have returned to school and hunting season has pulled locals into the fields. A late morning start means sleeping in and extra time for coffee. Anglers will be greeted by a few Tricos here and there, and very good Baetis fishing. The Baetis hatch has really been taking off around 2:00 p.m. The activity form that point on may last right up to the Mousing hours of dusk. With Fall Baetis hatches be sure to have very, very small patterns. Fishing sizes 22 and 24 puts you in the game. If you can fish an extended body fly on an open loop so that it can swing around and come to life, you’re even more in the game! Mahogany Duns are coming, so have them at the ready. Ants, Beetles and most definitely Hoppers are in play as well. When we get to the peak of warmth for the day plan of seeing some Callibaetis in the slow water areas of the Creek.

The Western Red Quill also known as Hecuba is beginning to show up on the Big Wood. This is bringing bigger fish up and changing the game from shy fish, to fish that want to fatten up before winter. The Fall Baetis is ramping up as well, so be sure you can drop to 6X tippets and size 20 Baetis when the moment arrives.

The Red Quill and Fall Baetis should show on the Upper Lost in the coming days, if not already. Hoppers and small Attractor Flies are still catching fish up top. The Lower Lost is going to turn into Baetis central as the Trico action wanes with cooler days.

Expect the massive blanket hatches of Fall Baetis on the South Fork of the Boise as well. This action will ramp up as we move closer to October, but these can be some of the best hatches of the season on this river. There is some decent wading on the river right now, but it’s still high enough to be dangerous, so please wade with caution!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

A happy angler joined our guide Chad Chorney two days ago!

A happy angler joined our guide Chad Chorney two days ago!

Sun Valley Fishing Report - September 5, 2016

The cool weather is upon us! Fishing is great, but just starting a bit later. On Silver Creek the afternoon hatches start around 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. Have your Baetis flies in multiple sizes. Callibaetis and Trico are still about in small numbers and the Hopper fishing is still solid. 

The Browns are on the move and so is the Mouse fishing. Stay up late one night and try to catch a HUGE one! We have a ton of great Mouse patterns available.

The Big Wood is seeing full blown Western Red Quill hatches and Fall Baetis already. Don't miss this action. It's one of the best hatch conditions of the season. Expect the same thing to happen on the Upper Lost any day. Bust out your old Green Drake patterns or Irresistible Adams flies!

Expect Fall Baetis on the South Fork of the Boise soon! 

Things are only getting better. Get out and fish!


Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - October 26, 2015

Significantly cooler temperatures have arrived in the Valley which should shorten the fishing windows quite a bit. Cold nights will send the Brown Trout into full blown spawning mode, so be prepared to see fish digging Redds, and if so, please be careful not to walk on these “trout nests.” It is also important that you head to the rivers with the ability to be flexible. The late fall weather can provide days where only Streamers are going to work, days when it’s Dry Fly madness and days where Nymphing will pay off. Be loaded for bear and make sure you are including your winter Midge selection in the bag when you go.

Silver Creek is still fishing really well with Mice and Streamers taking the pre-spawn Browns regularly. You may not catch a boat load of fish, but you may hook into the biggest and brightest fish of your season. Fall Baetis will continue to appear until the snow flies, so on calm - warmish days, be ready for this.

The South Fork of the Boise is one of our favorite Fall Baetis fisheries, and the canyon (when the wind isn’t blowing) can be a good 10 degrees warmer than the Sun Valley area. Look for the long flat glides on the river and brig all your Silver Creek flies, leaders and tippets.

The Lost River is still running very low and the river is a bit hit and miss right now. It all depends on the conditions being right. When things are calm and warm expect Baetis but be prepared for a full day of Nymphing as well. Have the color red in your selection and make sure you bring a nice selection of Pheasant Tails as well.

The Big Wood is a great option when fishing windows are short. Without the drive times to the far away rivers, fishing time may be maximized. If you need a quick fix, hit the Wood with Fall Baetis, Prince Nymphs, Hares Ears, Zebra Nymphs and Brassies.

Remember, fingerless gloves and a warm hat will extend your fishing day and make it fun and comfortable. Take the extra steps to stay warm and dry for the best time possible. Have an extra change of clothes with you and a spare car key. This is not the time of the year for shortcuts or last minute decisions. Be safe and enjoy the glorious amount of quietude on the rivers this week!

Happy Fishing Everyone!



Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - September 7, 2015

Fall is upon us. The leaves are changing, chainsaws are heard in the timber, elk are bugling, gardens are being harvested and autumn hatches are here!

On the Big Wood the Western Red Quill is out and about, driving the fish crazy! This BIG mayfly is a mouthful for a fish and a great way for fish to fatten up before winter. Couple this with the enormity of Fall Baetis hatches and it’s apparent that this is a good month to be a trout in Idaho! Expect to see both of these insects during bankers hours and with quite a bit of overlap as well. Trico on warm mornings is still a possibility and Hoppers are going to continue to take fish until they are long gone.

Expect a lot of the same thing in the Upper Lost, with a lean toward Ants and Hoppers. Although the Upper is fishing well, the water is low enough, be prepared to cover a lot of ground! The fish are holding in the deep water and under the slick foam lines. Look for this water type and you will find fish.

The Lower Lost continues to fish well when flows are reasonable. It looks as though they may stay at fishable levels for the duration, but keep an eye on the CFS. If it remains below 350 CFS, you are in business and the trip is worth it. Skating Crane Flies is the most fun way to angle, with Trico and Baetis also bringing fish to the surface. If nothing is happening, fish with red colored nymphs and Zebra Midges.

Silver Creek remains excellent, although with shorter fishing windows. Expect the morning activity to start late, sometime around 10:00 a.m. and even later on cold mornings. The afternoons are becoming more and more productive and the early evening has been really good. If you fish the Creek, have Baetis, Callibaetis, Hoppers, Ants, and Mahogany Duns. Expect to see the Mahogany Dun any day now, as the cooler weather should bring this bug to the forefront.

The South Fork of the Boise remains around 600CFS, making some wading possible, and some boating possible. Hoppers are the way to go if you head down there, with a residual Pink Albert on a hot day and Ants a great fly in the slowest water!

Hunters can expect to see a few northern Doves making their way into the valley and the Grouse hunting remains solid. Be safe and enjoy the hunt!

Happy Fishing and Hunting Everyone!


Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - September 1, 2015

RED. When it comes to fishing, Red is the color for fall. Whether it is the Western Red Quill gracing the Big Wood and Upper Lost, or the Red Scales of the Kokanee that will be migrating up the rivers from local reservoirs, to the Redd’s that Brown and Brook Trout will be making and even the Red of the eggs from spawning fish, Red is the color to focus on.

We are entering a transitional time of the year on all our area waters, as summer hatches begin to wind down, and the fall hatches begin to ramp up. On Silver Creek the Trico Spinner Falls are beginning to wane, while the Baetis builds in numbers. Grasshoppers and Mice are taking the biggest fish, while Callibaetis continues to show up on occasion sparking serious feeding frenzies. Watch the weather as the Creek transitions to banker’s hours. No need to get to the water until the air temps warm up after cool nights. Be ready for midday Baetis hatches that can fill the afternoon hours with bugs and fish galore!

The Big Wood continues to muddy then clear, muddy then clear. The Red Quills will be coming soon, as well as the Fall Baetis. Watch as the leaves begin to turn. When they start falling from the trees the Western red Quill is typically in full swing. The Colorado Green Drake is the best fly you can use for the Quill hatch, and we stock this fly for the fall, just for this reason! The Green Drake of June and the Red Quill of September are very similar in size and color, making the Drake patterns a great choice for one of the most overlooked hatches in the fly tying industry.

The Lower Lost continues to be tough wading, although keep an eye on the USGS website for current flows. Once you see the river drop below 300CFS, plan on heading over. Red colored nymphs like Copper John’s and San Juan Worms are deadly when the Kokanee get swept through the dam.

The Upper Lost continues to fish well with Ant and Hopper patterns, but at current flows, be prepared to walk a lot. Trico and some Pink Albert are present.

The South Fork of the Boise will also begin to transition between Pink Albert and Hoppers to the Fall Baetis hatches soon. Mother Nature will dictate these changes with cold nights.

Anglers need to be prepared with both, summer and fall bugs right now in order to take advantage of what happens with the weather. Also a great time to bring those extra layers of clothes to the river!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - August 17, 2015

August continues to provide dramatic weather and excellent fishing! Although, upon first glance at the Wood River Valley, first time visitors may see the Big Wood running dirty and smoke in the air. This is simply “smoke and mirrors” trying to hide wonderful fishing everywhere else!

Silver Creek continues to put on epic morning shows that consist of Trico Spinner Falls, but each morning other bugs and sometimes all the other bugs join in. Don’t head to the river without Trico, Baetis, P.M.D. and Callibaetis. In the afternoon the game is Hoppers and Callibaetis. The evening brings back all the bugs except Trico, and the Mousing remains as god as we’ve ever seen it. We’re only a few short weeks from Mahogany Duns, so get your patterns now. Most area fly shops stock very little of this fly, so the best patterns to be had are available now, and may be hard to find in a few weeks.

Trico continues on the Lower Lost as well, but don’t leave your Hoppers, Crane Flies, and Ants at home! The flows have been sporadic, but mostly fishable. Expect to see plenty of your fellow angler, but a weekday and an early start will get you on the fish.

The Big Wood continues to run muddy, then clear, then muddy, then clear…I’d continue but “word count.” When it is clear, Hoppers, Streamers, Rusty Spinners, Caddis and Trico are all must have flies.

The Upper Lost is fishing well if you are willing to walk. The falling water levels make the holding water spotty and far between. Small Attractors, Hoppers, Ants and some Trico will continue to take fish.

The South Fork of the Boise remains relatively quiet. Pink Albert is the hatch and some excellent Hopper fishing can be had out of a boat. Water levels remain near 1800 CFS, which is excellent for boating, although new rapids remain in place, so scout the river once if you haven’t been down since the fires there.

A word about Ants. This must be the most prolific Flying Ant year we have ever seen. Take this bug on any body of water right now and you are in business. We can only chalk this up to some natural / cyclical event. In any case we don’t care why it is happening, just that it is. Fish that seemingly won’t come to the surface, have been rocketing off the bottom to ingest size 16 /14 cinnamon and black Ants!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - November 3, 2014

A week of fall/winter limbo is upon us. The daytime and nighttime temperatures will not budge. The good news for the fish, is at least one more week of temperate conditions. The good news for the angler is the fish will use this extra time to keep trying to fatten up for winter. A seasons worth of “getting educated” gets tossed aside when the fish decide it’s time to fatten up!

Expect a lot of Nymphing when the hatches aren’t present. You can also expect to see quite a few fish holding in the middle of the pools. When the hatches aren’t prolific, the fish have no reason to move to neither the head nor tail of the pools to dine on the hatches that get compressed in the shallower water. With very little food in the waters stratus the fish will favor a holding lie over a feeding lie. This may mean deeper Nymphing than what we are used to.

Be sure to cast your offering well up onto the shelves in the pools and let the nymph bounce the bottom and drop into the deepest parts of the river. This would be a good time for a double nymph rig. Fish your favorite nymphs in tandem with a large size as the lead fly and then drop a smaller nymph from the lead fly hook shank. This adds weight and depth and helps anglers get the flies where they need to be!

Anglers that still want to match the hatch and squeeze every last hour from the dry fly season that they can, Silver Creek should continue to produce decent Baetis hatches. The South Fork of the Boise can also produce some nice late fall hatch activity. This is the infamous Fall Baetis so have plenty of your favorite 22 and 24 sized patterns.

A few more things to keep in mind this week:

*Don’t leave your wet wading boots in your vehicle overnight. If you do, take them in the house and run them under hot water in your bathtub to thaw them out.

*Pack some dry clothes, no matter where you fish. Hypothermia can be very real for anglers this time of the year.

*If you travel to fish, do so with water, food, a full tank of gas, tire chains and a sleeping bag.

*If it gets stormy – Fish Locally! The fishing can be epic under the low pressure of winter storms!

Happy Fishing Everyone!


Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - October 27th, 2014


Get your fingerless gloves out, as well as your fleece hat and your fleece neck gator. Cold weather fishing is here! That means fewer anglers, shorter fishing windows, but at least a few more weeks of incredible hatches and gluttonous fish that are looking to pile on the calories before winter. The Brown Trout will also be coming out of their spawning season relatively soon, which means they haven’t eaten for some time and the cold water will turn them back the awesome predators they are!

The hatches are going to begin tapering off to the point where only the Baetis is left for the year and the coming week is rich in Baetis weather. Make sure you have your size 22 and 24 BWO patterns no matter what river you decide to fish.

Now is also the time to begin getting ready for Nymphing season. This is generally the time frame between later fall and the holidays when our first big winter Midge hatches begin to happen on the Big Wood and the South Fork of the Boise. We call it Nymphing season simply because there are just few to no hatches of any insects after Thanksgiving. We are reduced to Nymphing until those Midges really start coming off in the winter snows.

Nymphs to have in your fly box include Prince Nymphs in large sizes, like a 10 or 12. Swing these on a tight-line letting them tumble along the bottom. Throw a mend in the line and let the fly swing up to the surface. Keep your tip down and hold on as the fish cannot resist this “Emerging” quality to your offering. You should also have Black Backed Hares Ear Nymphs in Zug Bugs in a variety of sizes and of course Copper Johns and Brassies.

It is also a great time of year to buff out your Streamer box. Along with the standard Wooly Buggers in Olives and Blacks you should have Coffie’s Sparkle Minnow in a variety of colors. Fishing Streamers also means you need to beef up your leaders and tippets. Be sure to have plenty of 9 foot 2X Fluorocarbon Leaders and Tippets in size 2X and 3X.

Fishing Streamers in the Big Wood and Silver Creek is a great way to catch the biggest fish in those rivers. The more adverse the weather conditions, the better the fishing is going to be!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - September 29, 2014

Mahogany Duns and masking hatches are something I write about every year. It is that important to anglers on Silver Creek, and it is also a glaring example of something we fly anglers hear all the time, but don’t see all that often.

The masking hatch, simply put, is a hatch of insects that you can see very well on the water, but in fact the fish are eating and keying on a much smaller bug, or as is the case with the Mahogany a larger bug but a difficult bug to see due to its dark color. In fact the best way to see the Mahogany Duns is to look at the water with the glare in order silhouette their dark bodies.

We see this a lot with Micro-Caddis and Flying Ants as well. These are insects that hatch in huge numbers, the fish love them, but we rarely see them on the water very well, as our eyes are drawn to more abundant bugs or brighter colored ones.

So, with this said, when you are on Silver Creek this week, be prepared to see A LOT of Fall Baetis throughout the day. You may even see Trico and Callibaetis, but the one to watch for is the Mahogany Dun. It is a true Mahogany color, it is about a size 14 and it is a plump insect. Everything a fish getting ready for winter needs. This bug will come in waves so be ready for it!

Morning Hoppers are not a kind of Hopper, but the time of day to be throwing Hoppers right now! Before the hatches start and before most anglers arrive on the Creek is the time to be casting your big Hopper patterns. The biggest fish are still out cruising from the night before and haven’t gone to hidey-hole on the bank for the day. They are out and about for one reason, and that is to find something BIG to eat before the bright light of the day begins.

Finally, the Brown Trout population in Silver Creek is getting ready to spawn. This means fish looking to eat before they spawn, and fish that will be voracious after they spawn. Spend some time Streamer fishing this week and you may be pleasantly surprised. Even in the middle of the day!

Enjoy the fall colors and enjoy one of the greatest times of the year to be a fly angler!

Happy Fishing and Hunting Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - Sept. 22, 2014

The fall hatches are upon us! Some of the best hatches of the year are ramping up this week and last and they should continue well into the month of October. Brown Trout are in pre-spawn mode and Browns and Rainbows alike are feeling the cool nights dropping the water temps thus sending them into a hurry up and get fat before winter mode! This means hungry fish and fish that have been putting their guard up all summer are now letting it down, because soon enough there won’t be hardy any significant hatches to dine on besides the minute winter Midge.

On the Big Wood there are three significant hatches. The smallest event, as well as the spottiest along the river is the October Caddis. This hatch is found best, north of Ketchum and although you won’t see a lot of the insect flying you will see a lot of their shucks on the rocks. Royal Stimulators, Orange Stimulators and Royal Trudes fished in medium sizes are all a good bet to match this bug. Beadhead Hares Ears are an excellent nymph choice to imitate them.

The Fall Baetis is the other wonderful hatch on the Big Wood. This bug will blanket the water on warm fall afternoons. Fish your Silver Creek patterns for this insect.  Size 20 – 22 is about right. Gulper Specials, Parachute Adams and any extended body BWO pattern is the way to go on this hatch. Plan if fishing 6X as well.

The third hatch is the Western Red Quill or Hecuba. This is a big bug! We like fishing our leftover Green Drake patterns to match this hatch. If you see a big emergence of this bug, you may also see your best day on the Big Wood this year!

On Silver Creek the Mahogany Dun is starting to show. This insect likes bright, cool, fall days and can be found in excellent numbers throughout the system, especially on the lower reaches of the Creek near Picabo. The fish get really greedy when this hatch starts. It normally blends in with the Fall Baetis on the Creek, so if you are fishing this hatch be very ready to switch quickly back and forth between the Mahogany and the Baetis. Having two rods rigged is not a terrible idea. The fish will switch back and forth as the Mahogany Dun will come and go in waves throughout the steady Baetis hatches.


Happy Fishing Everyone!