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

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Sun Valley Fishing Report


silver creek winter am.jpg

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!

Sun Valley Fishing Report



Cold nights that are turning into brilliant blue sky days seem to be the norm right now. By the time we reach the warmest parts of the afternoon fish are still rising to Baetis and Midge activity. We can expect this to keep up until we get more inclement weather. In the meantime enjoy the extended fall season!

Silver Creek is fishing well. The Browns are off of their Redds and are looking to put weight back on before the dark winter months. There are still some small Baetis hatches happening after the noon hour. This activity peaks by 2:00 p.m. and then tapers off slowly. Fish are also being caught with Streamers and it really doesn’t matter what time of the day you fish these. Fish bright colors on bright days and dark colors on cloudy days.

The Big Wood just continues to impress as we enter into the early part of winter. Midge and Baetis hatches are still occurring when the wind is down. The Baetis hatches are matched well with a Gulper Special. The Midge hatch imitation is the Tie-Down Midge. Fish a Griffiths Gnat against the glare and then fish a dry-dropper with the Tie-Down Midge behind it. Keep your eye on the Gnat, as it will be easier to see. If anything rises within a foot of the fly, then set the hook! Most of the time you’ll find yourself tied to a fish at the other end. If the fish aren’t rising in the Wood, then try olive colored Buggers or Hares Ear Nymphs and Brassies fished under a strike indicator.

The lower Lost River is on par with the Big Wood these days, providing excellent fishing through the warmest hours of the day. Fish are still keyed on the color red from the washed down Kokanee dying as well as their eggs flowing though the water stratus up and down the river. The closer to the Dam you fish the more you will find this “red” effect.

The South Fork of the Boise is still a great place to go “Cast and Blast” as the Chukar population is solid this year. The Baetis hatches are getting shorter with the days, but the South Fork is still an excellent place to go for slightly warmer temperatures. The Midge and Baetis dry fly activity is wind dependent, but is the wind is down, there should be some decent, if not difficult dry fly opportunities!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Fly Fishing

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report 06/21/17

Summer begins anew in Picabo and Sun Valley this week as daytime highs are warm, the wind is finally coming down some and there is no return to spring like conditions in the forecast. Silver Creek continues to fish very well, despite the inconsistent weather we’ve had the past few weeks. With some consistency we should see the Creek really turn on as hatches stabilize and we see some rhythm to it all.

Currently we are seeing the Brown Drake come back to life in the Willows. This action could pick up as we head toward the weekend. It’s hard to say. It could fade away again quickly, but I know there is only one way to find out…

Green Drakes are a daily occurrence on the upstream reaches of the Creek like the Silver Creek Preserve. Some days the fish are on them and others they are being ignored. In any case, there again is only one way to truly find out…

The PMD and Callibaetis action remains strong and we should definitely see more consistent hatches and spinner falls of these bugs this week. Damsel Nymphs remain among the best subsurface flies anglers have been casting when the hatches don’t show. The adults will start getting eaten more as the weed beds reach the surface of the Creek in the next few weeks.

The flying ant remains the best fly on the river for the slowest times and for catching the biggest fish. We have heard and seen of more incredible fish being caught on ants than on any other bug thus far this season.

With the weather warming quickly, it’s time to put Tricos in your fly box and begin to watch for this incredible spinner fall in the mornings. You don’t want to be on the river when the fish lock in on this bug without some quality patterns.

There is not much else to report this week. We are waiting for the Forest Service to reopen the streamside areas and boat ramps on the South Fork of the Boise. There is good Green Drake and Brown Drake action on the Henry’s Fork. Watch the Big Wood north of Ketchum as it clears, but remain wary of strong flows and leave your dog at home until the CFS comes way down. Magic Reservoir is still worth a look near the dam and the surrounding shallow water bays.

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Fly Fishing

Sun Valley Area Fly Fishing Report

February 1, 2017

Warming temperatures, clouds and some snow are moving into the Sun Valley area again this week. This should make the local fly fishing fabulous! Last week all of Silver Creek thawed for a few days and 1 or 2 anglers took advantage of this! It has since refroze in some places, although there is still some open water to fish. With the warmth coming we can expect Silver Creek to open back up from the ice, and we should have the normal fantastic winter fishing all of February.

If you come to Picabo to fish, keep in mind that Point of Rocks is the best place for access. Snow shoes and / or a float tube could really open up some water for you. Plan of fishing Streamers most of the time, with a little chance for Midge activity. Remember, dark flies on dark days and bright flies on bright days! Treat the fishery like you are Steelhead fishing. Cast across the river, let your streamer come across the current with your rod tip on the water following the line across. When the fish hits you will see the boil in the water. Let the fish hook himself why you gently raise the rod. If you don’t get a strike in a few casts, take a few steps downstream. Repeat this through all the best looking water. Do keep in mind that the fish in Silver Creek like to spend the afternoon in shallow water sunning themselves, so don’t ignore those big flat areas, especially adjacent deep water.

Expect the Big Wood and Lower Lost to have great Midge activity this week. The low pressure and clouds should spur this on, providing some great dry fly fishing in the hip deep riffles and runs up and down both rivers. February is the month we start seeing the first signs of the Little Black Stoneflies. They may not occur until later in the month, but be prepared. A Prince Nymph or large Zug Bug fished on the swing is the best way to imitate this insect. Fish it all the way into the bank as these bugs crawl to the shore and the fish look for them in the shallows before they climb out of the water.

Remember, take extra clothes, food and water with you when you fish. Tell a friend where you are going and try not to fish alone! Safety First!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

A Thank You.

Summer is wrapping up quickly in Picabo. Good things are coming though, as the fall is our favorite season down here on the Creek! Yet, sadly with the end of summer, we say goodbye to our college bound summer helpers; Nathan Nelson and Phoebe Bean.

It seems like years instead of months since the Brown Drake hatch in May. Watching Nathan run around like mad, working in the shop, getting dirty in the field, being the last one to the water at the end of the day - with the Drakes in full swing - and smiling all the way through it for weeks…was a proud moment for all of us! Nathan was thrown into the frying pan this summer. Starting your first fly shop gig on one of the world’s most challenging waters is not ideal, but it is necessary as Picabo Angler continues to grow. Nathan learned fast, fished hard and met a whole lot of fly anglers from all over the globe.



Phoebe blew all our minds when she put together a women’s fly fishing course that became the highlight of the summer at Picabo Angler! Seven women were lucky enough to see Phoebe Bean unleash 21 years of fishing knowledge and then share some time on the water with her. Her knowledge coupled with her personality and drive sets Phoebe apart and makes her the kind of teacher that can easily go “beyond” fishing instruction... The outpouring of good vibes permeated the shop for weeks and the phone began ringing with requests for more classes. Phoebe has promised no less than three next summer! She wants it known that new AND returning students are all welcome to join her.



One thing Picabo Angler has been striving to do is create a vibe on kindness on the Creek, urging anglers to say hello to one another, compare notes, help with flies, help each other find a spot, or even share a beer with a stranger. We are proud to be that hub and be a part of a fly fishing community where we are all brothers and sisters of the fly. Phoebe and Nathan came into the shop, not knowing that was our mission, but they both understood it right away. Mostly by watching a swarm of people during the madness of Brown Drakes be amazingly awesome to one another!

So thank all of you “Picabo Anglers” for helping these two great young people feel welcome and supported. Many a high level angler could have been standoffish with our summer help, but instead you all shared knowledge and bought enough flies and hats to get everyone back next season! We’re super proud of the summer we just had! Thank You Nathan! Thank You Phoebe! Thank You Anglers!

See you in the fall!

John Huber

The Brown Drake Continues

We had some rough weather for a few days, but after a nice day yesterday, the Drake Spinner Fall began ramping back up. What anglers can expect the next few nights is great action around the Willows Access and near the Hwy 20 Bridge. The last week of the hatch also means sporadic events, like daytime hatches and spinner falls up and down the river. It is a bit of be in the right place at the right time, but if you are looking for something to do in the mornings, try looking for the Drake from Picabo upstream. You just may find the best hour of fishing this season!

Silver Creek Access Primer #4

Here is our latest Silver Creek access primer and it's on The Willows access point. We have done these videos starting at the farthest downstream public access (Priest Rapids Video Primer #1) and we are working our way upstream showcasing all of the public access points on Silver Creek.

Silver Creek Access Primer #1

Below is a short video primer on the farthest downstream fishing access on Silver Creek called, Priest Rapids. This is our first video in a series that showcases all of the different public access points on Silver Creek. Priest Rapids is completely different both aesthetically and hatch wise than what people ordinarily think of as Silver Creek. It flows over basalt and has a much steeper gradient making for pools and fast water and pockets. See the video below for more...

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - November 10, 2014

Winter fishing has quickly come upon us. This means significant change for the angler. It may be time to put the 4 weight rod away or your favorite dry fly stick and get ready for a few months of Nymphing and Streamer fishing. The best news is, no more carrying a big bag with a ton of gear and flies for many months. Anglers can now enjoy a fly box with a few basic nymph patterns and a couple of good streamers. Make sure you have strike indicators, a tippet spool, nippers and forceps and you’re good to go!

A winter fly box should include: Size 18/20 Red and Black Zebra Nymphs, Size 12/14 Bead Head Prince Nymphs, Hares Ears, and Zug Bugs, Size 14/16 Brassies in Red and Copper, Girdle Bugs, Montana Stonefly Nymphs and your favorite streamer patterns like Buggers, Sparkle Minnows, and Zonkers.

Another important piece of gear you should have is the New Zealand Strike Indicators. This new Strike Indicator system is incredible and made this angler switch after 20+ years of using the same foam indicators. These NZ style indicators can be moved freely up and down the line, they are super sensitive, float well and are unperceivable when casting.

Winter is also an excellent time to fish with Fluorocarbon instead of Nylon Leader material. When fishing subsurface there will always be a delay between the fish eating and the angler striking. One small advantage you can gain is by using Fluorocarbon material because it won’t stretch when you set the hook. This means a quicker hook set and hook point that penetrate with power.

Just because it is getting cold, doesn’t mean you should stop fishing. A few things you can do to make it more comfortable out there are fishing in fingerless gloves. Take that one step more and insert hand warmers into the backs of the glove to keep the blood moving to your fingers warm. Sock liners are also a great idea in combination with a really good winter sock, and if you really get cold feet try boot-foot waders. Also keep in mind that what you eat before and what you bring to snack on while fishing is important as well. Keep your energy level high and that alone will keep you moving and keep you warm.

Finally, remember snow storms mean low pressure and around here that means very, very good winter fishing!

Happy Fishing Everyone!


Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - August 4, 2014

Anytime you have a sport where the rules are dictated by Mother Nature you will have to learn to take the good with the bad. What is happening this week with the weather is a great example. If you love to fish Silver Creek then you can look at the cooler temps and the rain and rejoice in the flows coming up, better oxygen levels for the fish, and cooler water. This all spells great fishing this week and even into next week. Now, on the other hand if you love to fish the Big Wood, than this weather is making things a bit hit and miss. Mainly, is the river going to be fishable or not after one of the many thunderstorms we have been experiencing?

Not a terrible dilemma having to choose between two wonderful fisheries, and if you can’t make that decision, then stop trying and just head over to the Lost! The upper and lower Lost River systems are at their peak right now. Big fish are being caught above the reservoir, although you need to be willing to hike a lot of water to catch more than one or two. Small attractors are all one needs. Parachutes, Trudes, and Stimulators are a good starting point. Have some good sized PMD patterns as well. The fish are often keying on a variety of yellowish mayflies and a standard Thorax PMD will fill the bill for almost all of them. 

The lower Lost River is fishing well when the sun gets the Tricos going. Baetis and Crane Flies are also on the menu below Mackay Dam. Expect this action to continue for most of August. If you do go to match these hatches, be ready to small. The Trico in the next valley over is tiny! Size 22 and 24 Tricos are not out of the ordinary here. We have purchased quite a few patterns here at Picabo Angler specifically for this Lost River dilemma. Stop in next time you’re fishing the Creek and we’ll show you some.

With the Creek coming up to near normal levels we are expecting the return of the hot weather to bring us the first really solid Hopper bite of the season! Be ready with your favorite foam patterns once we get back into a rhythm of sun and wind.

Bird hunters, it’s time to get your gear out. GO over everything and fill in what you need. It is also time to go bust a few clays at one of our local gun clubs. Hunting season opens at the end of the month!


Happy Fishing Everyone!