Picabo Angler

Pee-Ka-Boo is a Native American word meaning "Shining Waters."

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Filtering by Tag: little wood reservoir

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!


Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - May 6th, 2016

The sunny side of spring is upon us! This means big, muddy waters, dangerous currents, and limited fishing. The good news is the rivers are getting a long overdue scrubbing from bottom to top. The elevated waters should go a long way toward removing more of the ash from the fires in our recent past.

Reservoir fishing remains strong and anglers heading to Magic, Little Wood and Anderson Reservoirs will find some nice sized fish willing to eat flies! Be sure to watch the weather for the wind forecast so you don’t get caught in the wrong place in your float tube or small craft. The evenings of the reservoirs should be getting really productive, really soon.

The mountain lakes have iced off on the valley floors. Stanley Lake and Redfish hold a few nice sized fish for anglers willing to play the war of attrition. You never catch a lot of fish in these lakes, but if you work hard, you can catch some big ones.

The higher lakes aren’t open yet, as most of the trails are still being used by backcountry skiers instead of day hikers. Once the trails get mostly open it will be time to have a peak. At the rate we are going that could be mid-June!

The Lost River remains open for fishing, although the flows have been cranked up. They may come right back down to decent levels for fishing, but keep an eye on the gauge. Go to the water data portion of the USGS website for up to the minute flow graphs.

When all the rivers reopen, keep in mind that spring runoff should still be occurring. Make your opening weekend plans in advance and plan on fishing Silver Creek, the South Fork of the Boise from a boat, or maybe the Lost River, depending on flows. Spring Creeks and Tailwaters should be your focus as the month moves forward.

If you are looking for something to do the night before Opening Day, Picabo Angler will be showing Hank Patterson’s latest movie “Mystery of the Cuttyrainbrown Trout” at the shop May 27th at 8:30 p.m. Bring your beach chair for viewing and your tent for crashing on the banks of Silver Creek after the event! Tickets are $5 at the door.

We are only 3 weeks away from Opening Day of the general fishing season in Idaho. It will go fast, so make sure you are ready for it.   

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - April 13, 2016

There is a lot of wonderful spring weather headed our direction this week! There is a limited amount of fishing to be had, but what is out there is a real treat. The Big Lost River is the only river system that remains open to fishing. It is a long drive to get over there, but the fact that the Baetis hatches are prolific and the big fish are up eating them coupled with the fact you can stop at Picabo Angler for breakfast, flies, licenses, beer, gas and a brown bag lunch make it all worthwhile!

If you head over to the Lost, be ready to see a few more anglers than normal, especially on the weekend. It is one of the only open places to fish, outside of Steelhead on the Salmon or Carp on the Snake. If you go, just be polite, ask your fellow angler where they are headed and then fish accordingly. There is plenty of fishable water on the Lost, but it is a narrow river channel. Be polite and respectful and help your fellow angler have a great time. It will add to your experience as well.

If you go, have plenty of Baetis flies in your box. Gulper Specials, Transitional Duns and Parachute patterns will all do the trick. Plan on fishing with 6X tippets and preferably a soft rod, to protect those light tippets. There is also a chance to see Midge hatches too, so don’t put that fly box away for the winter quite yet. If you have to fish subsurface, be sure to bring plenty of Zebra Nymphs for the Midge imitation and plenty of Pheasant Tail Nymphs to replicate the Baetis.

The Salmon River has been blown out lately, and although there is some fishing to be had upstream of Valley Creek, most of the fish in that area are in full blown spawning mode right now. Keep in mind these fish swam through many, many dams and swan 900 miles UPSTREAM to spawn. Keep this in mind when you see fish paired up or in their Redds, and leave them alone.

Elsewhere, we have some great reservoir fishing on Magic and the Little Wood. Try fishing from the banks or a float tube if you need a quick fix. Carp fishing on the Snake is always fun when the weather turns nice and be sure to keep your eyes on low lying lakes as the ice begins to come off!

Happy Fishing Everyone!



Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - March 29, 2016

With only a few days left in the season on many rivers, it is time to get creative! The Big Wood River is closed to all fishing on April 1st. Silver Creek is also closed to all fishing. Both rivers will open back up May 28th this year. Plan on the Big Wood being muddy for the opener as spring runoff should peak sometime in May. Silver Creek should be phenomenal on the opener!

In the meantime, the Lost River remains open to fish all year. Reports have been getting increasingly better on the Lower Lost. When the wind is down the Midge and Baetis fishing has been excellent. When the wind comes back up the fishery can be downright difficult. When this happens switch to Nymphing techniques and cover the water thoroughly and be prepared to use a variety of flies. Be sure to have some Pheasant Tail Nymphs to cover the Baetis and plenty of Zebra Midges for the Midge days.

Places to consider for the next few weeks include Carey Lake. This is an excellent time of year to catch a mess of Blue Gills for a fish taco fry. Small nymphs stripped through the water is all one needs. If you are in the area, the Little Wood in the desert stretch can be an o.k. place to wet a line and catch a few trout. It’s never gangbusters in this stretch, but it is beautiful and a great place to spend an afternoon.

Carp fishing in the Snake is going to get better and better as the weather gets nicer. Get your Google Earth on and search for the shallow water flats found all over the Snake River reservoirs. Try to pick the calmest days so that you can see the fish working.

The Reservoir fishing in both Mackay and Magic should be getting really good. Warming water gets those reservoir fish hungry and thinking about the pre-spawn. They will want to fatten up. Fish near the river mouths and even near seasonal Creeks. Anderson Ranch Reservoir and the Little Wood Reservoir are also great places to check out and catch a variety of fish.

Reservoirs can be fished from a boat, float tube or just off the bank. If you head out on the water, take a friend. Beware of the wind, and have proper floatation and emergency flares and whistles, just in case. Always check the weather first and have fun!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - January 19, 2016

The Wood River Sculpin is unique in that its home pretty much consists of the Big Wood and Little Wood Rivers. This dark olive bottom dwelling fish is not a target for fly anglers, but it is certainly a target of the biggest trout that live in the Big and Little Wood systems. The volume of Wood River Sculpin makes it a year around target of the fish and therefore a fly we cast all year long.

Imitating this Sculpin is not difficult and can be done with a variety of flies. Dark Olive Matukas, Olive Buggers, Sparkle Minnows and most olive colored articulated patterns work just fine. There is one fly tied as a specific imitation of the Wood River Sculpin, which is the Philo Beto. This fly is found at Lost River Outfitters in Ketchum and was developed by the owner Scott Schnebly and his son Blake in the early 1990s when Blake was a young boy. The fly is loosely named for Clint Eastwood’s character Philo Beddoe in the movie Any Which Way but Loose. Tied from the Philo Plume feather off an olive died Pheasant Rump, the Philo Beto Streamer is slam dunk when fished on the Big Wood, Little Wood or pretty much anywhere Sculpins swim.

Sculpin imitations are best fished with a bead-head, or some external weight. When I fish the Philo Beto I like to put a small split shot right at the head of the fly. This gives the fly a jigging action and also help me keep if from snagging on the bottom by controlling the depth right at the fly as opposed to several inches or feet above the fly. Try to fish the fly swinging across the river on a tight line, keeping the fly as close to the bottom as you dare. The true Sculpin will dart from rock to rock along the river bottom, trying to avoid being eaten, but plenty of them do get eaten and they represent a major calorie intake for wintering trout.

When fishing Streamer imitations fish them on Fluorocarbon Leaders so that when you strip strike the leader does not stretch, but instead buries the hook in the fish’s mouth. Fish a stout tippet, taper it to about 2X. Nine feet is plenty of length. Cast across the river and retrieve the fly with your rod tip on the water and the line coming into the tip in a straight line. Enjoy all the big fish you’re going to catch!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - November 11, 2015

Low pressure systems are upon us! Great news for anglers looking to catch great numbers of fish, just make sure you have a warm coat and a rain jacket when you head to the river! Nymphing and Streamer fishing are the techniques to go to this week, as the colder, wetter weather should effectively shut down most of the season’s hatches. If you’re in the right place at the right time you may find some Fall Baetis activity under the clouds, but don’t expect daily occurrences of this bug.

It’s not quite fall, and not quite winter, so the Midge activity we associate with the snow and the awesome hatches provided by this insect won’t materialize in numbers large enough to get the fish up. Your best fly choices are going to come from your nymph box. Red Copper Johns, Bead Head Prince Nymphs, Black Back Hares Ears, and smallish Pheasant Tails are the way to go. Fish these under an indicator and concentrate on thigh to waist deep riffles.

Brown Trout on Silver Creek are in full blown spawning mode, so be careful where you step, as not to disturb their Redds. You may also find Redds on the Big Wood. They are oval shaped and the gravels are swept clean. Now, with that said, keep in mind the river systems are filling with Brown and Brook Trout eggs, so fishing bright orange and red nymph patterns is going to bring a lot of attention to you fly.

Please keep an eye on the weather if you are going to travel to the Lost or South Fork of the Boise Rivers this week. Snow in the forecast could happen at any time. Have your vehicle winter ready!

This is certainly a week to take some time off the water and start thinking about Salt Water destinations, (Picabo Angler can help with that!) also start tying flies for winter, start replacing those old fly lines, boot laces, leaders and nets.

This is also a great week to start making that wish list for Christmas presents and leaving it in strategic places around your house or vehicle! Just saying…

Overall expect rivers void of other anglers this week, but don’t give up on excellent fishing. Fish love and respond well to low pressure systems and with the cold nights lowering water temperatures, all the fish are going to key in on getting fat for winter!

Happy Fishing Everyone!


Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - June 29, 2015

Green Drake madness continues throughout the Sun Valley area! Valley wide we are seeing great hatches and spinner falls of the Green Drake. On the Big Wood expect to see the Drake hatching strong mid-valley with a push up into Ketchum and North by weeks end. The timing of the hatch this year is generally 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The Drake loves to hatch in the heat of the day, and with all the “extra” heat this summer the timing of the hatch has moved to an earlier time. Normally 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. would be more like it. The Green Drake can also be found first thing in the morning, before the sun gets on the water. Look to fish the spinner fall of Drakes over very fast, choppy water. One of the best techniques for fishing the spinner fall is to drown your dry fly at the bottom of the heavy water where you see them flying. Fish it with an indicator or sight fish it, looking for the flash of the fish eating just under the surface.

Anglers will also find Green Drakes on the Little Wood River and the Upper Lost River, as well as Silver Creek. On the Little Wood and the Lost, expect to see some bugs, but not like you would find on the Big Wood. Our favorite flies for this event on all the rivers except Silver Creek is the Colorado Green Drake and the Cripple. On Silver Creek the Green Drake is brighter in color and the fish really prefer the Harrop patterns like the Last Chance Cripple or even a nice extended body fly.

This is really a fun time of the year as we can finally rig up big, bushy dry flies and wet wade the rivers, searching for fish as we go! It is a brief amount of time that we can do this, so get out there every day this week, every evening after work, or whenever you can squeeze a few moments on the rivers.

The “other” hatch that is happening right now, and not being talked about as much as the Drake is the Damsel Fly action. This has really been gaining momentum on the Creek the past few hot days and this action should last well into the summer. Coupled with the morning PMD, Callibaetis and the first few sightings of Tricos, the Creek is about to come into the summer season in all its glory, and with all its awesome challenges!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - June 8, 2015

Summer like conditions have returned to Silver Creek and the Wood River Valley. With the heat comes some additional runoff, mostly from snows left by the spring storms. Just as the rivers began to drop, this newest heat wave has brought them back up and at a flow that make our freestone streams rough to fish. The good news is, this should be the last of the runoff, and by this time next week all our rivers should be fishable, and with the beginnings of great hatches.

Coming off of the Brown Drake hatch, anglers can expect more big bugs in the form of Salmon Flies and Stoneflies. The Green Drake should be making its first appearance with the clearing of our local waters as well.

On Silver Creek the PMDs, Callibaetis and Baetis are taking turns stealing the show from each other, but with the hot weather, expect the bright bodied Green Drakes to begin showing in the mid afternoon. This insect can be a game changer on the Creek when the heat of summer settles into the afternoon hours and anglers are looking hard to find a decent hatch.

The Big Wood, the Little Wood and the upper Lost River are going to peak again this week, but get ready because some of the seasons best fishing is about to happen on these streams. A combination of Green Drakes, Stoneflies, Salmon Flies, baby Hoppers and Crane Flies should set all these systems on fire!

With high flows continuing, please wade with caution, leave your pups at home for another few weeks, fish with a friend as well as a secure wading belt and tell someone where you are fishing! Also - Wading staffs are a good idea in the early season.

The South Fork of the Boise is most likely the scene of the next big hatch, the Salmon Fly. No reports from anglers yet, but it’s always better to be the first reporting! If you go, please scout the river, be aware of all the new rapids, be liberal with your lifejacket and keep an eye on your fellow angler and boaters!

Finally, be ready for a lot of change this week. Summer heat will change the fishing dramatically. Expect the hours of great fishing to change on the Creek, and expect a few fantastic weeks on our freestones the second the water begins to drop and turn glacial green!

Happy Fishing Everyone!



Little Wood Reservoir

We have been in the super well needed rain cycle here and our streams are going up in water volume and the landscape is turning into a marvelous spring-green with loads of wildflowers popping up at mid to lower elevations. Pictured below is the Little Wood Reservoir.

Little Wood Reservoir. Photo: John Huber

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - April 27, 2015

The early summer like conditions this week are going to make for some fine conditions for fishing. Perhaps the best way to enjoy this early season warm weather, when most of the rivers are closed, is from a boat. Even a float tube or canoe can open up a world of possibilities in our local lakes and reservoirs.

The best scenario for fishing this week involves sunscreen, maybe a driftboat and a cooler full of cold drinks and food. Now tow this set up to Magic Reservoir, Little Wood Reservoir, Mackay Reservoir or even Anderson Ranch Reservoir for a fun day of fishing trout or bass.

Keep in mind, most reservoir fish are big, most reservoir fish fight hard, and most reservoir fish live and feed in the top twelve feet of water. This is where the light is, and thus this is where the food is. You can use and intermediate sinking line, or just use your floating line with a really long leader. Taper your leader to 2X or 3X. One of the best flies to use in the spring are leeches. Retrieve them slowly and hold on tight. Wholly Buggers, Krystal Buggers, Zug Bugs and Seal Buggers are among our favorite Stillwater flies.

Reservoirs are big and can be intimidation to fish with a fly. Concentrate your efforts on areas of inflow right now, or areas that have submerged channels. A good rule is to look at the dry bank and then in your mind’s eye take the contours and cover you see on the land and extend it underwater. This is a good way to discover those underwater channels. Look for dry creek beds that enter the reservoir and then try to position your boat of float tube over them. Cast very near the shore and retrieve the fly with your rod tip on the water.

The Little Wood Reservoir has good numbers of Rainbow Trout and the occasional Brook Trout. Magic Reservoir has good sized Rainbow and Brown Trout as well as Smallmouth Bass and Perch. Mackay Reservoir has decent numbers of sizable Rainbows and Brook Trout. Anderson Ranch Reservoir has Rainbows, Bass, and a fair amount of bi-catch as well!

Be safe if you go. Dress warm for float tubing and boaters be sure to have life jackets, etc. One thing we know is a consistent on these reservoirs is the wind. It will blow hard at any given time, so even on a calm day, be aware of how far you are traveling and the wind direction. Be safe and have fun!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - April 13th, 2015

There is some pretty fine weather in the forecast this week. Warm days give fly anglers a great chance to explore. With temperatures in the mid-seventies down on the Snake, and a bright sun to go with it, the Carp fishing should be excellent! Use your favorite Damsel Fly Nymphs, tied upside down so that the hook point rides sticking up. Find yourself some Carp along the banks, bays and backwaters of the Snake and try to present your offering right on their noses. Fishing a 10 foot length of 2x Fluorocarbon is about right with minor adjustments for water clarity and finicky fish.

The reservoir fishing should pick back up if the wind will stay down a bit more this week, than last. A calm, warm day on Magic, the Little Wood or even Anderson Ranch for some Bass can be one of the most fun days anglers can have on the water. Take long leaders and your favorite streamers and enjoy the tight-line retrieve and take!

The Lost River and the Little Wood River remain open for fishing. The spawning activity on the Lost should be increasing in the coming days and weeks, so please be careful about not walking on the Redds of spawning fish. On calm days expect to fish Baetis Dries on the Lost and when the wind comes up plan of Nymphing. The Little Wood is primarily a place to cast Streamers right now, with a little bit of opportunity to cast some Nymphs.

There are still a few Steelhead to be caught on the Salmon River, although one can expect angler numbers to spike with the beautiful weather! If you go, be aware the fish are well into their spawning activity now, so be aware of their Redds also.

Spring is such a great time of the season here. Take advantage of the weather and the opportunity to explore! Search the Malad River and Billingsley Creek, try to time ice-out on the low elevation lakes, and look for arrowheads and morels while you look for fish! The Bass fishing on Carey Lake has been good, Fish Creek Reservoir may still hold a few surprises, even try little Brook Trout in Lake Creek, which can become an adventure in the spring! We are also on the cusp of the new season, so if you tie flies, now is the time! P.M.D, Baetis and Brown Drakes will all be upon us soon!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - March 30, 2015

It is time that time of year for anglers to branch out! With Silver Creek, the Big Wood, and the South Fork all closed for the next few months, anglers can chose to fish a bit closed than normal to one’s fellow fishermen, or get out and explore places that would otherwise go unfished.

Steelhead season is still going strong on the Main Salmon from Challis to Redfish. Anglers have enjoyed a great early season run, and we can expect this to continue and begin to taper off in the next few weeks. Sight fishing is the name of the game here, with more traditional “down and across” methods being employed in more of the downstream waters.

The Big Lost River remains open year around now. The fishing here has been great, with daily Baetis hatches greeting anglers and fish alike. Expect to see a few more anglers on the water as rivers close to spawning. Also, plan on seeing a few more fish sitting on Redds over the next couple of weeks. Work hard to avoid walking over these spots and fishing to the fish that are using them. Baetis hatches should continue and should remain strong in this spring like weather.

Getting out to explore is a great idea for many anglers, especially since it is easy for fly anglers like us to get into certain places that fish well, and not want to leave. This is absolutely one of our favorite times of the season to pursue Carp on the fly near Hagerman. The Snake River has all kinds of great places to fish for Carp, and normally anglers can have these places all to themselves. If you go, take a boat or just walk and wade the many flats that are easy to find along the rivers many reservoirs. Damsel nymphs are amongst our favorite flies for Carp.

Magic Reservoir, and places like Fish Creek and Little Wood Reservoir are also excellent places to fish in the spring. The fishing at Seagull Point on Magic has been very good this year. Anglers can employ the use of floatubes, boats, or just bank fishing. Use stout rods in 5 and 6 weights, and beef up your tippets to 2X and 3X fluorocarbon. A favorite fly in a Green Woolly Bugger, fished on a tight-line strip. You don’t have to be very deep. Most of the fish will forage in the top 12 feet of the water column! Have fun looking at new water this week, and let us know how we can help you find success on our many stillwaters!

Happy Fishing Everyone!