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: Silver Creek Access

Sun Valley Fly Fishing Report

Sun Valley / Picabo Area Fishing Report - October 24, 2018

A fall mix of weather is upon us. Sun, rain and clouds are all in the forecast, but daytime temperatures should remain comfortable. Cloudy days are certainly going to influence the hatches, but still no need to wake up and get to the water early. Best fishing times should remain between lunch and dinner.

Silver Creek hatch activity remains strong in the middle and later half of the day. The Baetis is the dominant hatch, and this activity could increase with the cloud cover this week. The Mahogany Dun is also still out and about, although in fewer numbers. Expect to see this hatch along with the Baetis late in the day. Don’t hesitate to check out the downstream access points like Silver Creek East to see the best hatches of this insect. Lastly, the October Caddis is still hatching. Anglers can pick up a few fish with this fly during the day by treating it like a Grasshopper. The actual occurrence of the bug should take place closer to the evening hours.

The Big Wood is still fishing very well. We haven’t had a season this good on the Big Wood since our first big forest fires a decade ago. Great hatches, lots of fish and sizable fish have all been in the mix. Now, with angler numbers down for the season, its’s a great time to be out there! Fish Baetis wets and dry and be prepared for some Streamer fishing or Nymph Fishing when the fish aren’t rising. Olive Streamers fish while moving at a decent pace will take plenty of fish. Copper John’s in Red and Copper under a strike indicator will also produce fish.

The Lower Lost remains a great place to fish this fall. Decent Baetis hatches and lots of fish distribution are making for happy anglers. Nymphing is the norm and fishing tandem nymphs will produce good catch rates. Try large nymphs as the lead fly, like a Prince Nymph or Copper John. Drop a small micro-nymph behind these, like a Zebra Nymph or your favorite Tungsten Beaded pattern.  Move slowly up the river and even fish the shallow riffles. Move slow enough and you should be able to site nymph a few fish if the sun is out!

The South Fork of the Boise continues to pump out cookie cutter days of fabulous Baetis hatches. This is a great place to cast and blast as well! Chukar hunt all morning and catch the hatch after lunch!

Happy Fishing Everyone!



Sun Valley Fly Fishing

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - July 5, 2018

The summer bugs are arriving on all our area rivers. The water is dropping and the fishing is fine. It doesn’t matter which river you chose this week, they are all fishing very well! Green Drakes continue on the Big Wood and the Upper Lost River. The first signs of the Trico Spinner Falls are beginning. The Salmon Fly and an abundance of Stoneflies are showing up all over the place. Baby Hoppers have hatched and are growing quickly. Essentially if the water is low enough to fish, it should fish well.

Silver Creek is starting to see Trico action, and with the heat building this week the Spinner Falls should really ramp up. The Callibaetis action should also come on strong. Check the slow water sections for the most action including Sullivan’s Slough and Kilpatrick Pond. Damsel Flies are a sure bet with the heat and as the aquatic vegetation comes up this action will only get better. Be sure to have small Hopper patterns as they begin to grow quickly into adults. Hopefully the river comes up some on the lower stretches to provide the cut bank habitat fish love when eating Hoppers. The aquifer normally provides an influx of water by August, so don’t panic if the lower river doesn’t have the volume you expect. Regardless of the levels the all-day fishing means that there isn’t a bad time to fish the Creek. Morning, noon and night should all produce some excellent opportunities.

The Big Wood and Upper Lost Rivers are really shaping up and really fishing well. Large attractors are a great bet. The Green Drakes are well up into the river system and the Stonefly action is peaking as well. If you want to fish a dropper fly, try the Epoxy Back Green Drake Nymph or a Prince Nymph. Fish the riffles and eddies, and once the current speeds slow, be sure to try the foam lines.

The South Fork of the Boise is still seeing an influx of the Mormon Cricket, but it is also seeing the Salmon Fly hatch as the action moves further and further up the river. With this week’s heat up the action should get very intense, very fast!

Enjoy yourselves this week. The rivers may be busier than what the norm is, so everyone be kind to one another and treat your fellow angler how you’d like to be treated!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

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Sun Valley Fly Fishing

Big Brown Trout Expert Max Blume always shows up when the Mouse Fishing is HOT!

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Sun Valley / Picabo Area Fishing Update - June 10, 2016

Silver Creek continues to be one of the only games in town for anglers. The good news is the fishing is still great! The wind yesterday kept the hatches from bringing a lot of fish to the surface, but anglers in the Sloughs did well. Guide Chad Chorney put some of his guests on beautiful Rainbows despite the wind. 

The weekend should be cooler on the Creek. Expect more Baetis and a continuation of PMD madness! The Green Drakes are showing more and more as well as the Blue Damsels. 

Ants and Beetles are still your best friend when things get tough on the river. 

Our other local rivers remain high, off color and dangerous. Hopefully  cooler temps will brig the flows down and we can be fishing these rivers sometime next week. We'll wait and see and report back on Monday.

Have a great weekend. Be safe. Be kind. Have fun!

Sun Valley / Picabo Area Fishing Report - June 7, 2016

Our great friend Jim Coale got through the high flows on the South Fork of the Boise to land this beautiful Bow!

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Brown Drake Update - May 31, 2016

A strange Drake season continues to baffle us. The bugs are here but the hatch is moving up river in the most condensed fashion I've ever seen. Anglers in the right zone are reporting epic fishing, while anglers that may be 1/2 mile a way are seeing very little.

There was a medium to fair Spinner Fall in the Picabo Bridge area last night, until one big gust of wind put an end to it. The lower Creek never really saw "The Show" that we are used to seeing. INstead a slow 4 or 5 day trickle of insects was the new norm. 

The Hatch epicenter was without a doubt the bottom end of Point of Rocks (Silver Creek East) last night. A major emergence took place in that area. Without question there will be a big Spinner Fall at Point of Rocks and the lower end of the Willows. This will be the true "Show." 

Picabo Angler will be open until 8:00 p.m. We have plenty of Drakes, Beer, Ice and Food!

Brown Drake Update - May 30, 2016

The Brown Drake emerged with some vigor on the Creek last night. A fair spinner fall was followed by a very late emergence on the lower stretches. Expect the Drake action to peak sometime in the middle of this week. 

Point of Rocks saw some Drakes last night, but the center of the action remains slightly down stream. This could change tonight as a hot day is going to turn the river into shuck stew at dark. I don't think there is going to be a bad place to be tonight. 

Like always, we ask that everyone please be kind, communicative and generous with fellow anglers. It's a great chance to back log some great karma!

Have a ton of fun!


Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - May 18, 2016

There is less than 2 weeks before fishing season opens. With spring run-off on our local freestone rivers expected to last into the first part of June coupled with a likely showing of the Brown Drake on Silver Creek will mean the Creek could be a busy place for a few weeks. With that said, and with not a lot to report on just yet, we’d like to take a minute and chat about a “busy” Creek.

First off let’s remember we are all brothers and sisters of the fly rod. That means at our core we fish for a lot of the same reasons. Fun, adventure, to reduce stress, to hang with friends, to search for quarry. Mainly we fly fish, because we love it and it speaks to us. It may be something slightly different that we get from the sport, but we can all agree to respect it, and each other’s reasons for doing it.

So when you encounter your fellow angler on the Creek there are two courses you can take. We can choose to be quiet and standoffish, which could lead to tension and no fun at all. The other route is to say hello, be outgoing and communicate with one another. Despite the stigma of a “solitary” sport, we still need to take a few minutes prior to that emersion to address our fellow anglers to make sure we maximize our time and fun as well as theirs!

Do you want to be the angler that stands in the sweet spot during the Drake and ropes one fish after another while those around you are getting skunked from being in the wrong place? The flip side is you could be the angler that catches a few really nice fish and then says to a complete stranger, “Hey, come on over here and make a cast!”

At the end of the day, the first angler can go brag and thump their chest about being a fishing hero, or they can be the second angler content in the knowledge that they caught great fish, and also made someone else’s night, or week, or month, or lifetime. Being able to catch a nice fish on the Creek is not easy. During the Drake it can be. It is worth sharing. You never know how your 2 minutes of grace can make years of someone else’s life better, more exciting, and full of fish tales! It is the right and kind thing to do.

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - May 11, 2016

Spring continues with several days of sun followed by several days of rain, otherwise known as normal! It’s about time we had a normal winter followed by a normal spring. It suddenly feels like the 1990s again! The reservoirs are filling while the rivers get a good scrubbing. The benefits to the fish will be outstanding.

The fishing in the reservoirs continues to be good. Catch rates at Magic are averaging about 2 fish per hour for fly anglers. These fish are footballs and are a joy to hook and fight. Fish in Magic include Rainbows, Browns, Smallmouth Bass and Perch. Anglers fishing near West Magic are doing well. Look for the line of demarcation, where the mud meets the clean water. This is often a productive zone.

Little Wood Reservoir is really full and fishing pretty well. The fish are slightly smaller than Magic fish, but the catch rates can be outstanding when the conditions are right. Try the bay behind the dam and along the dam itself. Rainbows are the mainstay with the occasional Brook Trout.

Mackay Reservoir is always a favorite in the spring. Although best fished from a boat, the back of the reservoir where the old river channel gets covered by rising reservoir water can be excellent fishing and on a good day it can be fast and furious. Rainbows and Brook Trout are the targets.

The Lost River remains open, but the flows continue to fluctuate wildly. Do not go over without checking the flows first! The river fishes and wades best below 200 CFS, but right now the fluctuation if hurting the fishing more than the higher flows. It remains to be seen how this effects the spawning activity, but it is something to keep an eye on.

Opening Day is coming so stay tuned to our website www.picaboangler.com as we begin to head out on the Creek to give you up to the minute updates on conditions, hatches and especially the Brown Drake. Don’t forget the night before Opening Day we will have Hank Patterson here hosting movie night in our airplane hangar. Bring your camp chair, tickets are $5 at the door, bring your friends, have a beer and enjoy “The Mystery of the Cuttyrainbrown Trout.” A lot of the movie was filmed here in Picabo! It will leave you laughing and ready for the midnight Opener after the movie lets out!

Happy Fishing Everyone!


Spring Weather and the Brown Drake

We received the following question through the interwebs today. We figured it was a very good question and one many anglers are curious about. So everyone thank Thayne, for putting this out there:

"I know we are still several weeks away from talking drakes but I was curious how conditions compare to last year for Drake timing. Has your spring been a little behind compared to last? Thanks again!"

Soooo, Drake timing. The big question! This spring Picabo has been more "normal" than it has been in sometime. We are bouncing back and forth between cold, warm, wet and dry. The saying about wait five minutes and the spring weather will change in the Rocky Mts. is spot on this year. Despite the rapid change, we haven't had any crazy events like heatwaves or weeks of rain. 

The past few seasons the Drake has gone off around May 25. Last season it went on the 23rd, then paused two days, then exploded on the 25th or 26th, just after opening weekend. It did trickle off the Friday night before the season opened!

This year the opener is on the 28th. The Drake is traditionally a June 7 - 12 kick off date when things are normal. We are crossing our fingers that is the case this year.

With that said there is no way in hell I won't have Drake patterns in my box the night of the 28th whether we've seen the bug or not. We will have our full selection out on the opener. 

(Don't forget Friday the 27th, Hank Patterson will be here showing "Mystery of the Cuttyrainbrown Trout." at 8:30 in our airplane hangar. Bring a chair! We will also have our traditional opening day BBQ on Saturday!)

Check back with us frequently. I'll go kick some Drake Nymphs up in the next few days and see how mature they look and how high up in the mud column they are. 

With 100% snow pack and a great season last year, things are looking wonderful for the coming year!

See you at the end of the month!

John Huber


Hello Anglers,

We wanted to take a minute and give everyone a heads up before Opening Day. There is a new access point for Silver Creek West, commonly known as "The Willows." The entry point into the Willows at Martin Bridge (old access) is still intact up to the Martin Bridge Swimmin' Hole. 

In order to get to the camping area of Silver Creek West (The Willows) anglers need to continue down Stingy Lane several hundred more yards that the previous right turn into the access. 

Here is a photo of the new access point. Again, coming from Hwy 20 follow Stingy Lane north past the old access point several hundred yards and look for the original Silver Creek West Access signage!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - February 2, 2016

This is one of those weeks or two week periods where we like to say, “They don’t call it Sun Valley for nothing!” Bright, sunny days should not hamper the fishing as the fish still have to eat. What it does mean is that stealth is as important as any part or your fishing repertoire.

We are at a point in the winter season, where most fish have seen at least a few winter flies. They will continue to eat the Midges, but with less abandon, while they search for the true flies and trailing shucks amongst the foam lines.

The sky may be sunny this week, but you may want to layer up just so that you can creep up the snowy banks on your hands and knees in order to get the best casting position available. This holds true when Nymphing in shallow water, thin riffles and tail outs of pools. It is even more important is you are going to stalk rising fish.

For one reason or another it is an easy thing to let your guard down in the winter. Perhaps the easy nature of the fishing, at least in early winter, or perhaps it’s the starkness of it all. In either case, take a fly angler, put them in a dark green parka and silhouette them against the snow.  It is easy to see why you need to stay behind the rising fish while keeping a low profile.

Bright days on the Big Wood River generally means shorter fishing windows because of colder temps. If you are eager to get out the door before the temps hit a reasonable mark think about using the clear skies to travel.

If you don’t have the whole day, think about hitting Silver Creek with Streamers. The Waterfowl Hunting season is over and the Creek is very quiet right now. The Creek is open to fish downstream of Hwy 20. Think about fishing the Willows and Point of Rocks. Snow Shoes are not a terrible idea if you want to get well into the access points.

If you have more time, look at the South Fork of the Boise and the Lower Lost Rivers. The South Fork can have some decent Midge hatches, and is a good place to go for big fish. The lower Lost is similar, although maybe a bit more Nymphing in the bright sun. It is also a great place to catch huge Rainbows!

Happy Fishing Everyone!




Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - December 29, 2015

Happy New Year from all of us here at Picabo Angler!

Let’s talk pressure systems. We had wonderful low pressure fishing conditions for nearly a month now. We couldn’t ask for more or better in the winter months. The low pressure provides the snow and the ideal conditions for fish. Yet, not here we are with a few weeks of high pressure and artic cold temperatures. Does this mean bad fishing? Absolutely not.

Change is the most important factor when considering barometric pressure and how it effects your fishing. Is low pressure better? Yes, more often than not it is, but what we are really after are those days of change. More importantly we are looking for the day after change!

Regardless of whether Sun Valley is under a low or high pressure system, one thing is for certain. When the day comes that we go from cloudy skies to crystal clear skies, that is the precursor for some great fishing as the next day, or second day of the pressure change, is almost always a red hot catch rate day.

With that said, keep your eyes on a web site like weather underground that shows a graph with the pressure. This will help you pick the right days to be on the water no matter how cold it is, and it will help you save those less fishy days for fly tying, rod building, or reading a good book.

If you head out on the water this week, Silver Creek is pretty well frozen over. With that said stay tuned with us as we will let you know when the ice breaks. The day after that happens we can expect some world class streamer fishing and some great opportunities to catch some massive Silver Creek trout.

The Big Wood will fish through the cold snap as the current speed will keep parts of the river from freezing and give anglers an opportunity to pursue fish through the middle of the day. Be careful around icy river banks and also where you park. Bring a snow shovel just in case. There have been days when I’ve needed a snow shovel to carve out a parking area at some of the public access points!

If you don’t want to hassle with that, we do run our winter guide service at a reduced rate through the month of March. Call us at 208.788.3536 if you’d like to learn more or book an afternoon with one of our world class guides!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - December 15, 2015

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…There is no shortage of snow and low pressure systems thus far this winter. Meaning that all the great things that come with a big winter includes fishing! It’s a great thing living in a mountain town where 2 feet of the white stuff can make people smile from ear to ear! Plow operators are making money, skiers are enjoying fresh tracks, and anglers are also making them!

One of the best parts of a big storm is not only the lack of anglers on the water when you want to be there, but also the snowy banks make it perfectly clear whether or not anyone has been where you are headed since the last big storm.

Finding these long stretches of water and river where there are no tracks for days and weeks after the storms adds a lot to the mindset of anglers. It is a clear indication of water wear fish have been enjoying their winter hatches with no pressure on them. This translates to successful fishing more often than not! Couple this with the glorious beauty of the river corridor and it’s hard to find something more enjoyable to do on a winter’s day.

If you decide to fish this week, have your dry flies, nymphs and streamers. If you are fishing on Silver Creek (open below Hwy 20 bridge) fish streamers on heavy tippet. When you select your fly just remember bright flies on bright days and clear water and dark flies on dark days and darker water.

If you are fishing the Big Wood, Brassies and Zebra nymphs are all you need. Have them in Copper, Red and Black colors. Fish them in tandem underneath a strike indicator. Put the big flies on first and then tie a smaller nymph into the hook shank of the “lead” fly.

Big Wood anglers should also have dry flies. A Griffith’s Gnat and Tie-Down Midge are all one needs when the fish pod up on Midges. Fish them together on 6X tippets about 18 inches apart. Use a large Griffith’s Gnat as the lead fly to silhouette against the gray, flat light. If the fish are “Midging” on the surface, use plenty of stealth when approaching them, but get as close as you can in order to get a great visual on your flies.

Enjoy the glorious experience of winter fishing. Be safe, be warm and have fun!

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 - August 3, 2015

August is upon us, and after a quick heatwave, this week’s temps are looking very comfortable. This is great news for fish and angler alike. We still have low water conditions in most areas, but this is the norm in August. This simply means we have slightly more technical fishing than the rest of the summer and the daily windows push toward the low light of dusk and dawn.

The Trico spinner fall continues all over the Sun Valley area and is fishable on almost all our waters. Silver Creek is the epicenter of the Trico and the mornings when it is not showing in large numbers, other insects and hatches are taking its place. The Baetis has been prolific in the mornings and if you don’t have Hatch Matchers in your fly box, you may be missing the single most important pattern on Silver Creek this season. The P.M.D. activity remains sporadic with some very intense hatches lately.

The afternoons on the Creek are still dominated by Damsel Fly activity, although the Hopper action is really starting to pick up. Callibaetis are still the mainstay of fish in the sloughs as well as ants. The Flying Ant action valley wide has been epic this past two weeks and we see no reason it shouldn’t remain our best bug.

The evenings on the Creek are the normal smorgasbord of all the bugs, and if you are lucky and stay late enough you can witness the Trico emergence. You’ll know you are seeing it, when the fish are going nuts on what looks like a surface devoid of insects. We also cannot say enough about how good the Mouse fishing is this season. It’s the closest we’ll get to all out “Mouse Hatch” conditions.

Elsewhere, the Big Wood continues to fish well early and late. Small mayflies in the a.m. are complimented by decent Caddis in the p.m. If you plan to fish in the afternoon, it’s a Dave’s Hopper with a Pheasant Tail dropper. Streamers have also been effective for taking bigger fish, but anglers need to also use this technique when the light is low.

The Lower Lost continues to be great with Trico and Crane Fly activity. This activity, coupled with wadable flows makes for a great experience, but you had better get out of bed early to make the drive worthwhile!

We love fishing in August! Dust off your Hopper Patterns and get ready for an epic month of casting flies!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - May 18, 2015

If you listen closely you will hear the sounds of zippers being pulled closed on wader bags, float tubes being aired up, click and pawl drags being tested, and the sound of fly boxes being snapped shut. Opening Day is upon us Idaho!

Silver Creek is the place to be this weekend as recent rains have blessed this special body of water with a nice cleansing and levels high enough to spread the fish throughout the system. Partly cloudy conditions coupled with warmish temperatures spells great mayfly activity. Expect Baetis and P.M.D.s to take center stage, but also be aware the Callibaetis has been very strong here on warm days. No matter what, be sure to have Beetle and Ant patterns!

The Brown Drake is still a week or more away and will most likely appear once we return to a weather pattern of warm sunny days and temperate nights. Keep an eye on the forecast, or do it the fun way and just show up at Picabo Bridge every evening after the weekend and wait for the first big night!

The Big Wood may fish a little on the weekend, it really depends on the rain and how hard it is coming down. The clarity seems to be changing day to day, and although the flows aren’t huge, there are probably better places to be for now.

The Lost River is fishable as of now, but again, there are a lot of variables here, both above and below the Mackay Dam. Keep an eye on the CFS below the dam, if it doesn’t jump to high you may find some o.k. fishing. The upper Lost will fish depending on the clarity.

The Little Wood River will have some fishing above and below the Little Wood Reservoir Dam. Think big Stone and Salmon Flies.

The South Fork of the Boise is also worth a look, but this river is generally better the later we get into June.

All in all, Opening Day presents a few challenges to finding the best fishing. Pay close attention to the details like CFS and Weather before you decide where to be. You can count on Silver Creek fishing, and of course Picabo Angler and the Nature Conservancy will  hosting our annual Opening Day parties, so no matter whether you fish or not on the opener, come on down to Picabo and enjoy a wonderful day with friends and all your brothers and sisters of the fly!

Happy Fishing Everyone!