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 winter fishing

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - March 2, 2015

March is here! The number one month for catch rates is upon us! With a week of sunny days forecast we should have some excellent fishing under Sun Valley skies. Expect great hatches and lots of fish filling themselves up on whatever they can find before the spawning season of April and May.

We made it to the South Fork of the Boise the past few weekends. Despite great weather, the fishing was just so-so. The best action came at the mouths of creeks and the tops of side channels where pre-spawn activity was enough to get some big fish to let their guard down. Midges and a few Baetis were present, but the Copper John was the fly most fish got caught on. We had some luck with Girdle Bugs and Zebra Nymphs as well.

The Big Wood continues to fish well, with the Midge being the main fair and a few Little Black Stoneflies also contributing to the Trout’s food source! Plan on Nymphing early in the day and fishing dry flies by lunch time! If you fish the dry, a Trailing Shuck Midge fished behind a Griffiths Gnat is still our favorite winter set up. With blue skies forecast the rest of the week, plan on a cooler breeze to go along with it. Continue to fish in hats and fingerless gloves! Bring plenty of layers to shed or cover up with.

Silver Creek is now closed for the season. The river will reopen May 23rd, so start tying your PMDs, Brown Drakes, Baetis and big Beetles for the first week of the spring!

The Big Lost is the one river that will remain open throughout March, April and May. The later we get into the spring, the better it will fish, but March can be very, very good on the Lower Lost. Midges are the main food source now, but as we move forward, expect to see more and more Baetis hatches.

If you decide to head “Around the Horn” and fish the Lost, don’t forget to stop by Picabo Angler for a great fly selection, beer, ice and breakfast or lunch to go! We have recently expanded our Outfitting business so come on in and check out our larger space! We are super excited about the coming season and all new product should begin arriving throughout the spring.

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - February 23, 2015

Wednesday is the last day at Picabo Angler for Nick Anderson. He is off to the wilds of Minnesota to spend time pursuing Pike, Muskie, Walleye, Bass and other fish common to the “Land of Ten Thousand Lakes.”

Anyone who has stopped by Picabo Angler in the past year or two and has met Nick will understand how much we will miss him. His infectious smile and incredible knowledge base of all things fly fishing are one of a kind.

We’d like to thank Nick for helping us grow. It is not easy being the fly shop outside of town, but thanks to Nick we’ve been able to grow as a business here on Silver Creek and bring outfitting back to a grassroots level where it truly belongs. Nicks last act here in the shop was helping us expand Picabo Angler, giving it a sharp new look and a lot more square footage, so we may continue to bring you the best products and flies for Silver Creek as well as the outlying rivers and streams. Good Luck Nick! You will be missed on the banks of the Creek!

We’re down to the last few days of fishing on Silver Creek for the season. The Creek closes at the end of the month and reopens the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. Streamers and some very nice Midge activity are the name of the game if you fish the Creek.

We got to the South Fork of the Boise this week and found slow-ish fishing, although we did find some Blue Winged Olive activity that had a few fish up. Beyond that the occasional brute was caught with Streamers and Zebra Nymphs.

The Big Wood is open through March, and the Lost River remains open all year now, and with recent weather conditions, the hatches should be great on both rivers. March is right around the corner and it is no secret anymore that this is the month with the highest catch rates on almost all our area rivers. Pre-spawn activity, coupled with milder weather means great hatches and fish ready to let their guard down and eat with abandon in an attempt to pack on the calories before the spawn.

Anglers looking to fish Stillwater are getting an early jump on the season as the ice is off of many reservoirs and quickly coming off the few that still have some. It should be a very interesting spring around here, as February felt like March already happened. Plan on some incredible fishing over the next month!

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 - December 15, 2014

The Christmas season is upon us and this normally signals the first large Midge hatches of the winter. If you don’t see fish working the surface on the Big Wood this week, you will very, very soon. With that in mind, let’s review some favorite winter dry fly techniques and patterns.

The Trailing Shuck Midge or the Tie-Down Midge (sz.20) are flies you must have in your fly box for winter. These are best paired and fished with the Griffiths Gnat or Midge Cluster (sz.16). The idea here being that the Midge fly is too small to see as it sits in the film with very little profile. The Griffiths Gnat on the other hand stands out like a sore thumb against the winter glare on the water’s surface.

With this set up anglers can fish a fly they can see, and still set the hook on a fish that comes up near that fly, with the idea that anything rising within a foot of the highly visible Gnat will be eating the Trailing Shuck pattern. Fish these flies on 6X tippets and tie about 18 inches of 6X between the two patterns.

Stealth is also a key to fishing the Midge dry. Because the fly is so small, it becomes important to be close. Casting accuracy is at a premium when fishing dry in the winter and the closer you are the better. One of the biggest mistakes winter dry fly anglers make is trying to walk right up on a spot because the glare on the water gives a false sense of cover. Anglers using a low profile approach and natural colors in their apparel will catch more fish.

The places to look for rising fish in the winter include slow moving riffles that are thigh to waist deep, back eddies and any heavy foam-line. The times to look are between the hours of 11:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

The Big Wood is normally the first to have big hatches in the winter. The South Fork of the Boise and the Lost River also have decent dry fly action all winter, although the action is not daily like it almost always is on the Big Wood. Silver Creek, has decent Midges but unfortunately the biggest hatches are after the season closes in the spring. The Creek does have incredible Streamer fishing in the winter for anglers looking to catch true trophy trout!


Happy Winter Fishing 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!

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!


Late January Sun Valley Fishing Report

Our warm and dry weather has ramped up the winter fishing. The Big Wood River has been good to excellent on the nymphing side. Think girddle bugs, zebra midges, prince nymphs, pheasant tails, etc. There has been increasing midge activity on the surface and that should only improve as we move into February. If you want to throw dries bring your smallest midge patterns and look for the foamy seams near the slower water. The warmest part of the day, approx 12 to 3:30 or so, has been the best time to be out.

The Lower Big Lost River has also been fishing well with nymphing as the most consistent approach. Like the Big Wood, you can find fish feeding on the surface in the slower water during the heat of the day. Small stuff has been the best fare: Zebra Midges, Pheasant Tails, #22 Para Adams, #22 Trailing Shuck Midges, etc.

If streamer fishing is your thing Silver Creek has been good to great with the best of it to come over the next 5 weeks. Silver Creek is open downstream of the HWY 20 Bridge through all of February. While the surface activity has yet to really get going, the fish have been more than willing to chase, roll on, crash, slowly stripped streamers. Fly color doesn't seem to matter much. The water clarity is a little off which makes for better fishing on the sunnier days. If you have a chance to get down on the Creek prior to the end of February it is also a great time of year to catch that monster brown that has eluded you...

Below are a few shots taken on Silver Creek. January, 23rd 2014.

John Huber releases a winter Brown. Silver Creek.

While the majority of fish caught are Browns, there are plenty of healthy Rainbows as well.

Nick Anderson reaps the reward of taking a quick break from Picabo Angler and hitting the Creek just a few minutes walk behind the shop.