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: winter fishing sun valley

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - February 8th, 2016

Warm days are upon us and the nighttime temperatures are not very low either. This means fish will feel the changing water temperatures and you can count on the fact that they will begin to act like pre-spawning fish the moment they do. What this means to the angler, is a voracious bite while the temperatures remain warm. This is not to say the fish will dig spawning beds or anything like that. The warm pre-spawn simply means the fish will begin to recognize spring is right around the corner and they will want to put down as many calories as they can before they begin to think less about food and more about reproduction!

Nothing will change for the angler as far as flies and tactics go. Continue to use Brassies, Zebra Nymphs, Hares Ears, Griffiths Gnats, Tie-Down Midges and Buggers. Continue to fish the same winter water type. Do expect a longer fishing window as well as a higher catch rate.

If you are a beginner this is a great time of year to get out and learn. There are fewer anglers, the fish are ready to eat your fly, and you can get away with a few more mistakes. The fact that you will get so much opportunity to hook fish, means you will have more opportunity to learn how to hook, fight, and release fish. You can do this without worrying if you lose one, because you’ll be able to hook another soon!

Warm days also make this a great time to travel to our more distant rivers like the Big Lost around Mackay and the South Fork of the Boise closer to Mt. Home. Excellent driving conditions and clear roads are an invitation to fish out and about.

Silver Creek is an excellent place to fish on warm winter days as well. The temperatures are supposed to remain in the low 40s during the day. This means a little tint to the water and therefore excellent streamer fishing. Fishing remains open this month downstream of Highway 20 and it is all Catch and Release. Access points are the Highway, Silver Creek East, Silver Creek West and Picabo Bridge. Fish dark colored streamers if the water gets really tinted. If there is some clarity try brighter flies like Sparkle Minnows and White Buggers.

Get out there and enjoy the great winter fishing and the warming days as we make the turn toward springtime!

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 - January 13, 2016

The return of low pressure this week should make for outstanding fishing throughout the Sun Valley Area. Light snow falls should signal excellent dry fly opportunities and Nymphing along with Streamer fishing should easily fill in the gaps when the fish aren’t looking to devour Midges off of the surface.

The Big Wood should be on fire this week with perfect conditions for big Midge hatches. Flies consists of the usual winter assortment. Have Zebra Nymphs, Tie-Down Midges, Griffiths Gnats and your favorite Streamers, even if that is a simple olive colored Bugger.

Driving conditions have improved enough that a trip to the South Fork of the Boise is possible, just keep an eye on the conditions before you leave. It’s all the same bugs you’d use on the Big Wood. There has been plenty of anglers down there, so a midweek excursion would be your best bet.

The Lower Big Lost River is another winter gem worth making an effort to get to. The difference on the Lost is you have the town of Mackay and a great opportunity to stay a night and fish multiple days. Mackay has a few nice little hotels and enough places to eat and supply, that the Lower Lost is actually very, very user friendly in the winter! If you want a little break from Sun Valley, this is a quick easy trip and all the same flies you’d use on the Big Wood.

Finally we still have an active, yet untouched fishery on Silver Creek these days. Perfect conditions in the open water below Hwy 20 exist and no one has been ripping Streamers through this water! Non-weighted Streamers are the fly of choice. A small bead is plenty of weight. Fish midday and start near the Hwy. Work your way downstream over the course of the day, both walking and driving to access points. You should end up near the Picabo Bridge before the day is over.

If you see a lot of cars near the Point of Rocks parking lot or Silver Creek East, don’t fret as these are mostly trucks for Duck Hunters. Please give these guys and gals a wide birth if you see them. Most weekdays you won’t see anyone. The waterfowl season closes on the 29th of this month, which gives us yet another month on the Creek where fishing is the only activity. The Creek remains open below Hwy 20 for catch and release fishing until the end of February.

Happy Fishing Everyone!


Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - January 5, 2016

Great news! 2016 is starting to look like it will be a decent water year. If the precipitation keeps coming it bodes well for all our rivers, streams and reservoirs. Cross your fingers for more winter storms and the big snowy dumps we’ve been getting!

With the winter dry fly season cranking up, it is time to talk Trailing Shucks. One thing we know about Midge hatches is they are prolific. When you walk the river and see that pepper shaker effect all over streamside banks you can pretty well count on seeing rising fish. This event occurs on the Big Wood, Big Lost and the South Fork of the Boise with regularity. The Big Wood is certainly one of the nation’s best winter dry fly streams. The easy access, volumes of fish and prolific Midge hatches make the Wood a winter destination.

The key ingredient when fishing over this hatch is the Trailing Shuck. Having this feature on your fly is the most important decision you will make all winter. Like Nike says – Just DO It. It can turn a sparse day into a banner day quickly. The Trailing Shuck fly looks like an easy target to fish. The way the Midge zips all over the water’s surface, it’s easy to see why the fish key in on an easy target. In a virtual stew of insects the trout will move quite a distance to eat a meal they consider a slam dunk. One that won’t fly away and leave them without calories for their efforts.

Something else to consider this week, Silver Creek is warming and shedding surface ice, making for world class winter Streamer fishing. Silver Creek remains open downstream (north) of HWY 20 until the end of February and the ice out occurrences on the Creek are key times to concentrate on this fishery. –

Swing non-weighted Streamers from bank to bank, keeping an eye on the spot where you think your fly is. More often than not, you will see the wake of a fish chasing your fly and you will see the subsequent boil when they eat it. Strip strike the fish and be ready, as these are sometimes the biggest fish of the season.

Fish heavy tippets for Streamers like 2X fluorocarbon. Fish lighter tippets when fishing the dry Midge like 6X. In either situation use stealth when approaching the water, also please keep the fish submerged when you release them!

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 - Dec. 7, 2015 (or what to get a fly angler for Christmas)

There is plenty of low pressure in the mix this week. Expect excellent winter fishing all around Sun Valley. With that said, here are a few thoughts about the coming holiday and fly fishing.

“What do I get my husband / wife / significant other/ for Christmas this year? They already have everything?”

Well. I can answer that question easily. It is free, you can wrap it symbolically if you’d like. You can write it in a card. You can verbalize it over a coffee and Baileys on Christmas morning. However you want to present this gift to the angler, you can be sure it will be among the most precious things you ever give them…

Give your fly angler – Time.

Time on the water. Time to sit on the banks of a river and think about you, while you think they are thinking about fishing. Time to leave work behind, and yes, even family for a few hours. Time to immerse themselves in a river and in a wilderness without once looking at the time to see if they need to head home. Time is what the fly angler wants and what a fly angler needs.

You really want to give your fly angler a gift? A big gift? Like a new truck in the driveway, but even better? Give them enough time to take a trip! A whole week in Cuba, British Columbia, Florida, Mexico, the Bahamas. Make it really special by assuring them their dog will be loved and fed while they are gone. Assure them that everyone at home and work will live without a daily text, phone call or email. Let them unplug from the world at home and let them plug into a world of coral reefs, foam lines, and brands of beer and rum they’ve never heard of.

There is nothing a fly angler wants more. We don’t need a fancy new rod or a reel made out of NASA left overs. We don’t need gold inlayed fly boxes or first edition fly fishing books…Given enough TIME we will fashion a fly rod out of a willow branch, make a reel out of an old coke can. We will fish with rusty hooks kept in an old chew can. We will read newspapers written in languages we don’t understand, and we will fish in muddy backwaters - if we just have enough time.

Happy Fishing Everyone!



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 - February 16th, 2015

Sunny days are upon us this week and anglers can count on the fish reacting to it in some places. The best fishing will most likely take place on our freestone streams and tail-waters, where riffles and other surface features will give the fish a place to hide under the bright light. The sun will also mean high pressure and slightly cooler days than the last few weeks. Expect decent hatches of Midges on the South Fork of the Boise, the Big Wood and the Big Lost River.

Anglers fishing the Big Wood River may also see decent occurrences of the Little Black Stonefly. If you see these guys crawling around on the banks, try swinging flies like Hares Ears and Prince Nymphs on a tight line. It is a fun technique and will almost always produce the biggest fish of the day. Simply cast across the river, or slightly upstream, without a strike indicator on the line. Instead put a touch of weight about 12 inches above your fly. Let the fly sink as it comes even and then past you with the current. Once the fly gets near the end of the line, throw a upstream mend in the line to get the fly to swing slowly. At this point the fly should come tight and the line, and as it is swinging across the river, the fly should also move from the bottom of the river, toward the surface. This will give the fly the appearance of emerging, and will in turn trigger the prey drive in the fish and get them to attack!

Silver Creek should continue to fish well. The daytime temps last week were high enough to form decent Midge hatches, and anglers in some places on the river were treated to rare winter dry fly activity on the Creek. Streamer fishing is still the way to go if you want to target the biggest fish in the river.

With clear skies, this will also be an excellent week to strike out for the South Fork of the Boise and the Lost River. If you head for the SFOB load for bear, as this river in the winter is anyone’s guess as to what may be taking place. Midge Dries, Nymphs and Streamers could all come into play.  On the Lost, take all your same flies you would fish on the Big Wood in the winter. Be sure to have some Baetis dries as well…just in case.

Happy Fishing Everyone!

Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - February 10, 2015

Winter fly fishing may need to be redefined this week. Spring like conditions are forecast to continue throughout the week. It is not normal to write about muddy conditions in February, but that’s where we are at. The good news is we are still getting moisture and the more of that we get the better our summer fishing season is going to be! The other bit of good news is the recent snow melt has brought Silver Creek up to a nice level for streamer fishing.

The fish in the Creek are active and anglers hunting the Creeks big fish will find them laying in very shallow water. The best bet, is find shallow benches near deep holes. The fish like to have the deep water to retreat into, but if not scared, they will sun themselves in shallow spots waiting for unsuspecting or injured baitfish to get within their range. Keep this in mind when fishing your streamer. Injured baitfish swim erratically, they present a lot of flash underwater and this flashing means distress. To a big Brown or Rainbow Trout a distressed fish is lunch.

Important things to remember when Streamer fishing include keeping the line tight. Make sure the line is coming straight into your rod tip and that your rod tip remains just above the water. This will prevent a fish from pulling only slack in your line, or flexing your rod tip instead of instantly having the hook penetrate their mouth. Once the fish is hooked it is important to keep good pressure on the fish throughout the fight, but not so much that the fish is thrashing on the surface. If the fish is breaking water while you fight it, you are pulling to hard and the hook is going to pop out.

Fishing fluorocarbon is also important, as the lack of stretch in the material will help drive the hook home as well as prevent toothy fish from cutting the leader. We never fish lighter than 2X Fluorocarbon on the Creek when we Streamer fish. “Leader Shy” is not in the vocabulary of serious Streamer anglers. If a big fish wants to eat another fish, they aren’t going to chase their prey down, and then pause to inspect for leader material!

This is the last month to get on Silver Creek before opening day. The Creek is open downstream of the Hwy 20 Bridge, West of Picabo Angler. Point of Rocks, the Willows and the Picabo Bridge area all remain open to catch and release fishing until February 28th!

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- January 5, 2015

The weather for winter fishing this week is perfect! A little overcast, temps slightly above and below freezing, fresh snow to pull the skiers onto the hill and a time of the season synonymous with epic winter fishing all adds up to a great week!

The Big Wood is among the best winter fly fisheries in the west. If anyone tells you differently, they haven’t seen the daily dry fly activity that takes place on this river when the conditions are like they are right now! Fishing Midge Clusters and Trailing Shuck patterns can be very rewarding right now!

Perhaps the best show this week, and one we’ve been waiting for is the Streamer fishing on Silver Creek. With enough warmth the snow on the banks is melting, the ice is letting go and the perfect combination of slightly muddy water, and fish that have been under the ice for a week hungry has arrived. If you have an itch to try and catch big fish, as opposed to the numbers you would catch in the Wood, then come on down to Silver Creek. Picabo Angler remains open all winter. Flies and a hot lunch are readily available!

Warmer days also means destinations like the South Fork of the Boise and the Lost River will be easier to reach and easier to fish without the artic conditions! If you want to go a bit farther and definitely stay warm, come all the way to the expo center in Boise this weekend. We will be there for the Western Idaho Fly Fishing Expo. Most Idaho fly shops are represented along with many manufacturers, showing off the New Year models of everything!

A perfect weekend trip would be hitting the expo early one morning and then hitting the South Fork of the Boise on the way home. If you go, bring Zebra Nymphs, Zug Bugs, Red Squirrel Nymphs and Girdle Bugs. There may be some dry fly opportunity as well, so bring your favorite Midge dry flies as well.

If you decide to head the other direction the Lost will be fishing well. The dry fly activity may not be as certain as other destinations, but the Nymphing should be excellent. The Lost receives very little pressure this time of the year, and you could even have the whole river to yourself on a weekend.

No matter where you fish, be safe! Have a great New Year and enjoy our incredible winter fisheries!

Happy Fishing Everyone!


Sun Valley Area Fishing Report - December 22, 2014

Merry Fish-mas from all of us at Picabo Angler! We hope that the coming year is full of leaping trout, screaming reels and the sounds of song birds and driftboat oars bumping down a river. We are expecting a white Christmas this year, which also means low pressure on Christmas Day. This may not be a bad time to get out for a few hours! Low pressure generally equates to excellent fishing.

The weather this week is changing fast with high and low pressure swapping places almost daily. With that said, something to keep in mind this winter is “The Day After Change.” These are the days when the winter fishing truly takes off.

I am asked all the time if the winter fishing is better under the clouds or under blue skies. The answer is simple; they like both. More than anything though, they like the day after things stabilize. So, if you have bunches of sunny days and then the clouds roll in, the second cloudy day is the day to fish! If you have a bunch of cloudy days in a row and then the sun comes out, the second sunny day is they day to be on the water. This is not to say, “Only” fish those days, it is a well-known fact that the best time to fish, is any chance you get!

Now, let’s talk about Cuba. For many, many decades the Fishery in Cuba, one of the world’s greatest has been off limits to Americans. That has all ended with the addition of cultural and educational trips, and it’s really ALL about to end as we prepare to lift an embargo and opening up Cuba to fishing for many Americans.

On January 14 the crew from Picabo Angler heads to Cuba where we will spend the week fishing Tarpon, Snook, Permit and Bonefish, about 60 miles offshore. Upon our return from this reconnaissance trip we will begin taking bookings for this once closed and fabled fishery! To add to the excitement, traveling anglers should be prepared for a few years of bliss! With falling gas prices coupled with an enormous new Caribbean fishing area opening, travel to the Bahamas, Mexico and most of the Caribbean is going to become very affordable. If you’ve ever wanted to fish the flats and turquoise waters of the Caribbean, stay in touch with us as we prepare to take you and yours on many wonderful global angling adventures!

Happy Fishing and Merry Christmas 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 17, 2014

Cold weather should not keep fly anglers off of the water. About now,  a great deal of anglers put their gear away until next opening day, revealing a collection of those for whom not fishing is not an option as the time away from the sport will do damage to their souls. Its o.k., you’re not alone. I know how you feel. The fact that you’re reading this report this week is a sort of testament to yours and my madness. The need to cast and feel the connection to all things wild outweighs common sense, because brother, it’s cold outside!

So how do we beat the freeze? Well, I can’t keep your rod guides from freezing, but I can tell you a few things I’ve learned after years of winter fishing and guiding.

First off, if you’re going to walk any farther from your vehicle than one run on the river – Breathable waders will be warmer than thick neoprene waders. This is simply due to the perspiration factor. If you get hot and perspire in your heavy waders and then you stop to fish, you will get chilled by your own sweat. Breathable waders will keep you as warm as the clothes underneath them and if your clothing wicks the moisture from your body, your breathable waders will be forgiving and warm.

Go to Costco and purchase hand and foot warmers in bulk. These little air activated warmers can extend a day by hours if used properly. Put them in your boots, your pockets, under your gloves, anywhere they will fit!

Keep your fishing hours short and on point. If you know the fishing window is going to be a brief afternoon one, then stay calm, have an extra cup of coffee and read the newspaper twice if need be. Just don’t rush out in the bitter cold when you know the fish won’t eat. Save your energy and thus your body heat for when it counts.

A thermos is not something anglers want to carry all the time, but hot liquid during the day will warm you, boost your energy and feed your soul with what you need for a productive day in the water.

Finally, master the use of your hemostats and learn to gently let fish go and remove the hook without ever handling them or taking them from the water. This simple act will benefit you and the fish!

Happy Fishing and Stay Warm Everyone!