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 Fly Fishing

Sun Valley / Picabo Area Fly Fishing Report - July 11, 2018

The summer bugs are here and the hatches are gaining steam daily. With the water dropping and more and more fishing areas opening, it should be a great week on the water! Expect fewer anglers this week and great conditions! More hot weather is in the forecast, so begin to think about fishing early and staying late. The afternoons will provide nice fishing opportunity as well, but be prepared for the sun with full coverage. Buffs, sun gloves, and long sleeved shirts and pants will make your day more comfortable.

The Trico action continues to slowly ramp up on Silver Creek. It is still a month away on most other rivers. The more the heat builds the more the Trico action should build. To catch the spinner fall, be on the water when the air temp hits 70 degrees. If the Trico action isn’t heavy, or even if it is, stay until mid to late morning for the Baetis Spinner Falls. You’ll know it’s happening when you see them crawling down your waders to lay eggs on the bottom and flying into your glasses!

Damsel Flies are also bringing fish to the surface up and down the Creek. This afternoon activity normally starts after lunch. Watch the downstream side of the weed beds for fish scooping the Damsels off the surface.

The last of the spring hatches can be found on the South Fork of the Boise as the Salmon Fly continues to make its way up to the dam. If you want to fish this hatch you better go now. The weekend should see plenty of boats on the water. It is a great opportunity to watch fish eat giant foam flies!

The Upper Lost River is almost in shape and there are fish to catch in the areas where you can find holding water. This may involve walking a bit between spots, but there is hardly a lovelier place for a walk between fish! If you go, try attractors like Trudes and Stimulators. Try dropping a Green Drake Nymph below these if you aren’t getting the fish to look up.

Finally, the Big Wood although busy is fishing very, very well. The Green Drakes should be on their last few days of the season upstream of Ketchum this week. Keep fishing the fly though, and mix in Stimulators, Parachute Adams, Chernobyl Ants and Copper John’s as droppers!

Happy Fishing Everyone!


Sun Valley Fly Fishing Report or The Importance of Kindness on the Water.

The winter fishing season is all but behind us at this point. Looking back at 2016 and the first part of 2017, we can say with certainty that we had a really good season. Looking forward we can look at the snow pack and we can feel very confident we are about to have an epic season.

We will renew the season on May 27th this year, and with that we begin to renew another facet of fly fishing. That is the facet of kindness and a spirit of helping each other in the Silver Creek Valley. Gone are the days of the uppity angler staring at everyone that walks past. That angler has been replaced by one that says “Hello” and “Good Morning!” and “How’s your day going?”

In Picabo we want to celebrate fly fishing and we want to share fly fishing. We don’t want to fill the river with guides and tell you to buy the flies we tied. We have guides that will go out of their way to help other anglers they think may need a hand, our guides will make room for other anglers and will always ask anglers at access points which direction they intend to fish.

In the fly shop at Picabo Angler, we want our guests to feel at home. We want them to ask all the questions they want without any question being too small or too silly. We know we all had a starting point and we want to honor those that are just getting their feet wet! We want you to learn in a place of calm and a place of peace.

If you are fish obsessed to a point where you cannot manage your manners, or seem to think there is ownership of a river or run, we encourage you to fish the high country! You can have all the space and fish you want. If you want to come to Silver Creek and challenge yourself and find out how good you are at dry fly fishing, by all means please do, but never at the expense of someone else’s good time.

We can all take away a lot from fly fishing, and it doesn’t all have to be about the fish and fishing. When you get home, we hope you will tell your loved ones a story about how you helped someone catch their first fish on Silver Creek, or maybe the story about the person that helped you catch yours!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

2017 Sun Valley Fly Fishing Update

I’m sitting here in Picabo, halfway through winter storm Iras. Not sure when they started naming these storms, but alas Iras is an ass-kicker! Heavy wet snow, mixed with wind, some light rain and some sleet! Yet, how do I love Iras? Let me count the ways. O.K. there is one way. I love her for her water content…

This should make two years in a row where we finish a winter at 100% snow pack or above. This does wonders for Silver Creek and the fish, bugs and anglers that call these waters home. Today we stand at 120% snow pack with more storms on the horizon.

I’m here in January with eternal optimism and excitement for the fishing season ahead! It’s been so long since we’ve had quality water years, much less back to back years, I wonder if people forget how good the fishing on Silver Creek can be. I’ll tell you this; invest in a float tube if you don’t already have one. Let me know if you’re in need and I’ll throw it on my spring order.

Get ready anglers. This season is going to be one to remember. It is not too soon to start tying your P.M.D. patterns, your Callibaetis and your larger Baetis patterns as well. If you aren’t tying or buying Beetles and Ants right now, then what are you doing?

O.K. it is lining up to be an epic summer, enough said. Picabo Angler will be in Boise at the Expo center Friday and Saturday! Come over and see us and we can talk about this in person!!!

Go winter fishing!



Phoebe Bean says goodbye for now!

Our family first started spending time in Idaho when my parents purchased a sheep ranch in the Sun Valley area when I was five years old. Originally from San Francisco, we didn’t fit in right away; for me, that started to change after we moved into one of the cabins on the Double R and made daily appearances at the “Picabo Store,” as we used to call it. The Purdy family was exceedingly kind and welcoming as we began to grow new roots here, and Silver Creek became the focal point for the happiest memories made during that time in my life.

Fast forwarding to last summer, I decided to take a year off amidst my college career to intern for The Orvis Company in Manchester, VT, in the fall and to work for my parents’ business this spring. I had no set plans for the summer months before heading back to school, though, so when John Huber asked me back in January if I would be interested in working for the Picabo Angler this summer I was beyond thrilled. Although I tried to keep my expectations low because I really had no idea what to expect, I was genuinely excited to be able to work for John in the store that had meant so much to me as a kid.

When I drove home after my first day of work in May, I knew I had absolutely nothing to worry about. There have been no shortages of laughter, stories, or new friends over the past few months, and seeing many of the folks I’ve known since I was a youngster has been wonderful. Fun isn’t usually a word that comes to mind when talking about work, but I have had the time of my life.  

I’m sure it sounds sappy, but I feel like I’ve come full circle in some sense; in regard to fly fishing, I learned much of what I know now from spending time on the creek those many years ago with an Orvis Clearwater rod. As a client landed a Silver Creek rainbow on the Double R during my first guide trip on the creek this summer, I felt blessed to be able to help someone else fish in the exact same spot that my love for the sport began.

Thank you to all of the people who came into the store this summer and made my experience so memorable.

See you next year!


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!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - February 2nd, 2015

February is the last month to get on Silver Creek before the spring closure. The Creek is open to Catch and Release fishing downstream from the Hwy 20 Bridge. The weather predictions for the week include mostly cloudy days in the South Valley, which should make for excellent fishing through the week and weekend. The clouds and subsequent low pressure should also make for excellent fishing on the Big Wood, Big Lost and the South Fork of the Boise.

The biggest fish in Silver Creek are far more active with cloud cover and a bit of tint to the water. These conditions allow the bigger fish to come out from under the banks and ice shelves with a little less fear of attack from above. The fishing continues to mainly be streamer fishing, with non-weighted flies. Try different stripping techniques until you hook up, and then stick with that one!

The Big Wood should also fish very well with cloud cover. February is a fun month on the Wood as dry fly fishing, nymph fishing, and streamer fishing are all effective ways to catch fish. Despite the variety of techniques, anglers don’t need a huge variety of flies. Griffiths Gants and Tie-Down Midges are great dry flies, Zebra Nymphs and Brassies are excellent nymph patterns, and for streamer try olive woolly buggers.

The Big Lost should also be on an angler’s radar this week. The same flies you would use on the Big Wood should be plenty effective on the Lost as well. You may want to also focus on a few more weighted nymphs like Price Nymphs and Hares Ears if the sun happens to pop out. There are plenty of deep buckets on the Lost and being able to prospect the bottoms of these in the dead of winter can often produce your biggest Lost River Rainbows of the season!

The South Fork of the Boise is also a great place to go under cloudy skies, although it can be infinitely less predictable and more fickle… but, when it turns on the fishing here can be as good as it gets anywhere in the West.

If you are looking for a great winter fishing experience, don’t hesitate to hire a guide. Most full time guides are sitting by the phone in the winter, dying to show guests how great the winter fishing can be. Winter rates are also very affordable and here in Picabo we even throw in private access to water rarely fished!

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - December 29th, 2014

Cold and clear is on tap for the next week of fishing local Sun Valley waters. The fishing should still be excellent, and dry fly activity should continue, but the fishing windows will be much shorter. Instead of getting up and getting to the water around 10:00 or 11:00 a.m. anglers may want to wait an extra hour or two before heading to the river. Nothing wrong with one more cup of coffee!

Take some hand warmers, because you will be picking ice from you guides most days this week. Keep in mind that the softer the rod fly rod you fish the less chance you will have of it turning brittle and breaking in the cold.

Silver Creek will fish well near the Highway 20 Bridge, but expect a lot of frozen water as you get closer to Picabo. Streamer fishing is always a fantastic winter technique on the Creek and a great way to catch the biggest fish in the river most of the winter. Remember, the river is closed upstream of Hwy 20 and open to catch and release fishing only downstream from the bridge.

The Big Wood will have plenty of ice on the banks this week, but the heavy riffles and narrow runs will stay open and fish well. Be cautious out there and remember to ALWAYS bring a change of warm dry clothes with you in the winter. One slip into the river at these sub-freezing temps will bring on hypothermia quickly. Having warm, dry clothes to change into can make a huge difference.  

For longer treks and days the South Fork of the Boise and the Big Lost River are great places to head for and they are also good destinations to think about when we have these blues sky days and no chance of snow. You can count on excellent driving conditions and feel god in the knowledge you won’t be stuck overnight by weather.

Flies this time of the year are the same all over. We want to mainly represent Midges with our flies. Griffiths Gnat, Tie-Down Midges, Brassies, Zebras, and Zug Bugs are all excellent choices. Standards like Prince Nymphs and Hares Ears are also excellent choices. Streamer flies should include Buggers, Sparkle Minnows, Zonkers and Double Bunny Flies. If your line freezes a lot, fishing Streamers with a roll cast is an excellent way to fish without constantly bringing freezing water into your guides!

Happy Fishing and Happy New Year Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - November 24, 2014

Excellent winter fishing weather is upon us. Low pressure, some cloud cover, and days above the freezing mark means happy fish and happy anglers. We are still a bit early for the major midge hatches of winter but excellent Nymphing and Streamer days are here.

Anglers that want to fish the Nature Conservancy portion of Silver Creek have until the end of the week/month to get their licks in. Streamer fishing should be very good as the Brown Trout population has come off the spawn with a need to fatten up quickly before the long months of winter set in. If you can’t make it this week don’t fret, as Silver Creek downstream of Hwy 20 remains open to catch and release fishing through the end of February.

If you decide to fish the Creek with Streamers, use non-weighted flies and fish them just under the surface. Watch for the wake and the boil of water on the surface when the fish takes the Streamer. It is a very visual and very fun way to catch fish on the Creek throughout the winter.

Anglers looking at our freestone streams like the Big Wood, Little Wood and Upper Lost should be fishing standard nymphs in large sizes. Prince Nymph, Hares Ears and Girdle Bugs are great choices. Fishing them in tandem is also a great idea. Use a size 10 as a lead fly and then trail a size 18 or smaller midge pattern behind the lead fly. About a foot and half is all that you need for the trailer. Make sure your indicator is able to float both flies and then cover some water!

With the ski season starting this week, expect very few anglers out on our local rivers. If you decide to fish the Lost River and are driving through Arco, don’t forget to stop and see us at Picabo Angler. We’ll put the right flies in your hand, and if you need a Latte, Breakfast or a box lunch we can help with that also. Anglers fishing the Creek can stop in for a hot lunch here at the shop and don’t forget roast chicken Fridays!

Chukar and Duck hunting has been excellent near Picabo this season. The waterfowl population is way up and the early snow has moved the Chukar down the ridge lines. These conditions are great for hunters and yet another reason to come see us in Picabo!

Happy Fishing and Hunting Everyone!

Bud Purdy

Bud Purdy, a Picabo, Idaho legend celebrated his 96th birthday last night at the Picabo Angler. One of his goals is to be back in the cockpit and fly from Picabo to Carey, Idaho by May 1st.

Bud was 10 years old when he spent his first summer working on the K-K Ranch in Picabo. In 1883 the Picabo Livestock Company was established by 6 brothers from Nebraska, one of whom was Bud's grandfather. Later, in 1955, Bud purchased the Kilpatrick Company and the rest is history.

Bud Purdy. 96th birthday party. Picabo, Idaho.

Bud Purdy. 96th birthday party. Picabo, Idaho.