Fishing is for Kids

Children and fishing -- an iconic image of summer made even better in Sun Valley's pristine trout streams

Children and fishing -- an iconic image of summer made even better in Sun Valley's pristine trout streams (photo Brett Wilson)

There is an undeniable attraction between children and fishing. The iconic image of little ones poised on a dock dangling a worm-baited line into the water defines the joys of a childhood summer. Replace the dock with a pristine rushing river, place the children at the edge of an eddy, replace the worm with a fly and you have Sun Valley at its finest and the beginning of a love affair with a sport that lasts a lifetime.

To get the kids started with the right wader forward, Silver Creek Outfitters offers special instruction to make the adventure as fun as it is skill building. Fly fishing camps for children ages 8 to 12 are offered Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and can be arranged on Tuesdays and Thursdays as well with a minimum of three participants. You bring the child, Silver Creek provides a guide, equipment, snacks and a day he or she won’t forget.

Stop into Silver Creek and get out into the river!

Stop into Silver Creek and get out into the river!

First stop is checking in at Silver Creek HQ, located at 500 North Main Street in Ketchum to gear up. Though everything they need is provided, everything they want may not be. This could include baseball caps, logo t-shirts or all sorts of fun things like binoculars and polarized sunglasses that cut the glare of the water and help you see into the river. And don’t forget the sunscreen. Then there are the flies. Again, while provided, chances are getting your camper away from the cases and cases of colorful tied feathers, thread and fur could take a while.

Once they look the part, it’s off to the river they go. My son and his best friend set off last week with kid-friendly guide Brett Wilson who whisked them away and off to their adventure in record time. Five hours later we met back up at the shop. The boys were smiling and laughing, slightly wet and full of fish tales. On their secret stretch of river, they both landed two rainbow trout and hooked into a few more. They were thrilled and considered themselves quite the fishermen, talking with ease about which flies they used and how proficiently they cast.

Boys and fish equal one huge smile (photo Brett Wilson)

Boys and fish equal one huge smile (photo Brett Wilson)

With children, though, fishing is only peripherally about catching fish. Silver Creek teaches young anglers to be hands-on and embrace the entire experience from turning over rocks to search for bugs, to sitting on the banks to enjoy a snack, to kicking up the grass and watching the hoppers fly. Fishing is an experience and all the different parts are what add up to a memorable day and get the children invested in the process of fishing.

Catching fish is only part of the fun but it is undeniably a big part!

Catching fish is only part of the fun but it is undeniably a big part! (photo Brett Wilson)

Camp runs from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and more details may be found HERE.

In my family, learning to fly fish is not an option. At about age eight, everyone is put into waders and put into the river and taught the joys of this lifetime sport. However, as with all activities that require learning new skills, sometimes it is best for the parents to leave the instruction up to the pros. Thank you, Brett, for getting the boy so excited about fishing and wanting to come back immediately and frequently!

Flies, glorious flies!

Flies, glorious flies!

If you are over the age of 12 but would like some basic instruction or a refresher, you, are also in luck. Silver Creek offers what they call “Fly Fishing 101,” a one-day introduction to the sport that covers the basics: casting, knot-tying, equipment selection, fly selection and trout food. Ready to move to the water? Graduate to “Fly Fishing 201” that offers three hours of practical instruction on the river.  Free casting clinics are also held in front of the Sun Valley Lodge Tuesday through Saturday evenings from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. A member of the guiding team will teach casting technique. Equipment is provided or you may bring your own.

Be sure to stop by the Sun Valley Lodge Tuesday through Saturday evenings to learn, practice or refresh your casting skills at free clinics

Be sure to stop by the Sun Valley Lodge Tuesday through Saturday evenings to learn, practice or refresh your casting skills at free clinics

Also coming up at Silver Creek Outfitters is a Tenkara Clinic called “Simple Fly Fishing” with Patagonia Founder Yvon Chouinard on Thursday, July 17. All the proceeds benefit Idaho Rivers United. The Fly Fishing Film Festival is also right around the corner and will be held on July 25 at the Sun Valley Opera HouseFly Fishing Fair. For full information on all classes and programs, please click HERE.

Fly fishing is one of the Sun Valley area’s finest resources and no trip is complete without getting into one of the region’s many crystal clear, trophy trout streams. Book a trip or class today for you and your children. Chances are, you’ll be hooked.

–RES

Fishing is a lifetime sport and a great family activity. Give it a try! (photo Brett Wilson)

Fishing is a lifetime sport and a great family activity. Give it a try! (photo Brett Wilson)


Sun Valley Welcomes the Mile High City

On July 2, the inaugural flight linking Sun Valley and Denver with direct service on United Airlines touched down. Welcome!

On July 2, the inaugural flight linking Sun Valley and Denver with direct service on United Airlines touched down. Welcome!

The cheers went up as the wheels touched down on July 2 when the first United Airlines flight connecting Denver and Sun Valley landed. The inaugural flight flew through a beautiful early dusk summer night, arriving at Friedman Memorial Airport (SUN) in Hailey at 8:40 p.m. The flight was completely full and the new service got a unanimous thumbs-up from the passengers and community representatives who welcomed them.

Just in time for the busy holiday weekend, passengers deplaned, easily grabbed their luggage and knew they could be in Sun Valley proper after a short and scenic 20-minute drive. After a good night’s sleep the weekend possibilities were endless: fly fishing, hiking, biking, tennis, golf, Sun Valley On Ice, parades, fireworks, horseback riding … the sky is the limit.

This passenger captured the spirit of the day upon landing in Sun Valley for the busy holiday weekend (photo Fly Sun Valley Alliance)

This passenger captured the spirit of the day upon landing in Sun Valley for the busy holiday weekend (photo Fly Sun Valley Alliance)

With daily, nonstop flights from Denver (United), Los Angeles (Alaska Air), San Francisco (United), Seattle (Alaska Air) and Salt Lake City (Delta) it has never been easier to plan your dream vacation in Sun Valley.

Welcome to paradise! It's going to be an amazing summer (photo Fly Sun Valley Alliance)

Welcome to paradise! It's going to be an amazing summer (photo Fly Sun Valley Alliance)

Below, please find the flight schedule for the latest flights to paradise:

Daily nonstop fights to/from San Francisco (SFO):
CRJ 700 – 70 passenger regional jet with first class and economy seating
Service runs daily July 2 through August 25 and five times per week until September 23
• Departs SFO 5:30 p.m., arrives SUN 8:19 pm
• Departs SUN 8:35 a.m., arrives SFO 9:31 a.m.

Daily nonstop flights to/from Denver (DEN)
CRJ 700 – 70 passenger regional jet with first class and economy seating
Service runs daily July 2 through August 25 and five times per week through September 23
• Departs DEN 6:52 p.m. – arrives SUN 8:40 p.m.
• Departs SUN 7:34 a.m. – arrives DEN 9:15 a.m.

Everyone agrees that direct service from Denver deserves a thumbs-up

Everyone agrees that direct service from Denver deserves a thumbs-up

Welcome Mile High City and everyone that enjoys connecting through Denver. We are really happy you are here. Have a happy, safe Fourth of July weekend.

–RES

Reinvent Father’s Day

Let’s face it. Typical Father’s Day gifts and activities can be, well, typical. My guess is that the gift of a standard necktie and stereotype of dad as grill chef on Father’s Day only became jokes because they are so common.

Well, in Sun Valley, Father’s Day, celebrated this year on Sunday, June 15, can be anything but average.  Add the many activities your dad will love, to all the gear he needs and throw in a new outfit or two to accompany said activity in style, and you’ll have a Father’s Day to remember.

Stop by Pete Lane's in the Sun Valley Village to demo a bike on Father's Day

Stop by Pete Lane's in the Sun Valley Village to demo a bike on Father's Day

Start Sunday with a stop at Pete Lane’s Mountain Sports in the Sun Valley Village. There will be free bike demos all day from Cervelo, Turner, Norco and Kona. Terrific mountain bike trails await just across the street in the White Clouds and road biking possibilities stretch in every direction.

Next stop? The Sun Valley Club for a wonderful, relaxing lunch at the restaurant. Whether he wants to tuck into a hearty meal following his biking adventure or wishes to keep it light for afternoon activities, there is something for everyone on the locally-sourced, super fresh menu.

A few hours on the Sawtooth Putting Course is fun for the entire family.

A few hours on the Sawtooth Putting Course is fun for the entire family.

Following lunch, dad may want to simply relax on the patio and take in the view, or if he is a golfer, there are numerous choices to consider. One is to take the whole family to the Sawtooth Putting Course for 18 holes of fun for every skill level and age. Playing the front or back nine at the storied Trail Creek or White Clouds courses would also make many men very happy.

Dad not a golfer or a biker? How about a scenic trail ride on horseback from the Horsemen’s Center. These gentle rides last up to an hour-and-a-half and offer never-ending vistas and views from atop Dollar Mountain. Then head down to the Konditorei at the Sun Valley Village for the finest coffee drinks, pastries, hearty breakfasts and fabulous lunches. This time of year, dining on the Konditorei deck cannot be beat.

Local trails are convenient and great for hiking or mountain biking.

Local trails are convenient and great for hiking or mountain biking.

Or how about a family hike up nearby Proctor Mountain with a picnic lunch up top? The Short Line Deli in the Sun Valley Village will prepare made-to-order sandwiches and offers chips, drinks, desserts and salads to round out the meal.

Maybe the best Father's Day for dad is some alone time with mom. Book a creekside table at Trail Creek Cabin to enjoy great food or a drink.

Maybe the best Father's Day for dad is some alone time with mom. Book a creekside table at Trail Creek Cabin to enjoy great food or a drink.

Maybe a romantic dinner is in order for the man in your life. Book a babysitter and make a reservation on the deck at Trail Creek Cabin or at the Ram patio in the Sun Valley Village. Both offer fine dining in a beautiful atmosphere. Please call restaurant reservations at 208.622.2391 to book your table.

Treat dad to the latest in mountain lifestyle fashion from Brass Ranch.

Treat dad to the latest in mountain lifestyle fashion from Brass Ranch.

As far as gifts go, every store will offer endless ideas. Pop into Pete Lane’s for the latest and greatest bike and hiking gear; the Pro Shop at the Sun Valley Club sells only the best names in golfing hardware as well as the latest styles for the game; Brass Ranch will help any man achieve the look of the mountain lifestyle. Before Father’s Day, take a few hours to shop the Village stores. Dad will be stunned by your thoughtfulness at finding the perfect gift.

There is really so much to do, perhaps you should make a weekend of it. That would allow for fly fishing, as well. There may not be a more relaxing activity for the man who does so much for so many than to wander hip deep into one of the area’s glorious rivers to unplug and unwind.

No matter how you celebrate Father’s Day, be sure to acknowledge the great fathers you know. They deserve a day to remember.

–RES

For my dad (pictured here with an amazing steelhead caught near Stanley this spring), nothing says Father's Day like time on the river. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

For my dad (pictured here with an amazing steelhead caught near Stanley this spring), nothing says Father's Day like time on the river. Happy Father's Day, Dad!

 

 

Free Fly Fishing Casting Clinics – Sun Valley Lodge Lawn. Tuesday – Saturday from 5:30pm – 6:30pm.

Come join the Silver Creek Outfitters professionals for a free fly fishing casting clinic. These clinics will take place Tuesdays through Saturdays on the Sun Valley Lodge Lawn from 5:30pm – 6:30pm. All equipment will be provided. For additional information please call Silver Creek Outfitters at 208 726 5282.

Sun Valley Welcomes Mile-High City

It’s been a season of great news in Sun Valley when it comes to making it easier than ever to visit this amazing all-season playground. This week, Fly Sun Valley Alliance, the Friedman Memorial Airport Authority and Sun Valley Resort announced new non-stop air service connecting the busy Denver, Colorado, hub with Sun Valley’s Friedman Memorial Airport starting this summer. Beginning July 2, United Express flights operated by SkyWest Airlines will fly between the two destinations and service will continue through September 23. It will be a great Fourth of July celebration, indeed!

Starting this summer, Sun Valley will welcome direct fights from Denver

Starting this summer, Sun Valley will welcome direct fights from Denver

CRJ 700 regional jets will bring 70 travelers to Sun Valley from the Mile High City. Six seats will be in United First Class with 64 in the economy cabin. Sixteen seats are extra-legroom Economy Plus seats providing options for every flyer with every budget.

Denver is a huge hub for travel from the east coast and south, making it easier than ever to come hike, mountain bike, fly fish, swim and golf Sun Valley this summer.

Sun Valley is thrilled with new service connecting Sun Valley with San Francisco this winter and looks forward to welcoming visitors from Denver in time for July 4 celebrations

Sun Valley is thrilled with new service connecting Sun Valley with San Francisco this winter and looks forward to welcoming visitors from Denver in time for July 4 celebrations

“This new nonstop route to Sun Valley will allow additional connectivity to eastern US cities and other destinations in United’s global route network,” said Vic Kerckhoff, United’s director of leisure sales. “We are pleased to be expanding our service to the Sun Valley market and look forward to a long-term successful partnership with this important destination.”

The initial flight schedule shows jets departing Denver at 7:15 p.m. and arriving in paradise at 9:03 p.m. Flights return at 7:30 a.m., arriving in Denver at 9:11 a.m. This takes advantage of connections from all major eastern markets.

Welcome to Friedman Memorial Airport -- the gateway to our year-round playground

Welcome to Friedman Memorial Airport -- the gateway to our year-round playground

The new summer flight will run daily from July 2 – August 25 and 5 times per week from August 26 – Sept 23 and represents 5,500 additional seats into Sun Valley for the 2014 summer season.

“We are extremely excited about this additional new United Airlines nonstop service to Denver,” said Eric Seder, Board President of Fly Sun Valley Alliance, an organization engaged in strategic air service development efforts for the Sun Valley area.  “Our community has shown its support for improving air service and we are getting results.”

Ron Fairfax, Chairman of the Friedman Memorial Airport noted, “This is one more very positive step in the ongoing public-private partnership work underway to improve air service to Sun Valley for the benefit of our visitors, our businesses and our local residents.  The airport is proud to be a part of this collective effort.”

The friendly professionals at Friedman Memorial Airport will make your travels as worry-free as possible

The friendly professionals at Friedman Memorial Airport will make your travels as worry-free as possible

To book the new flights, please click http://www.united.com.

I am personally really excited to learn about this new service as I hope it makes it easier for my brother and his family to come visit from their home in Colorado. I also know it will entice all my east coast friends to come out to see for themselves why I always say Sun Valley is just as beautiful in the summer as in the winter. The welcome mat it out!

This new service is the latest in direct flights that link Sun Valley to Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Salt Lake City.

Welcome to Sun Valley. The fun starts now!

Welcome to Sun Valley. The fun starts now!

Sun Valley looks forward to welcoming visitors from the Denver-area and beyond this summer and hopefully next winter, too. Everyone is hard at work to add winter service for 2014-2015.

It’s all good!

–RES

 

2014 Fly Fishing Film Tour @ The Opera House, Wednesday, February 19 at 7:00pm

Casting Coach

Interested in fly fishing? Try a free casting clinic at the Sun Valley Lodge

Interested in fly fishing? Try a free casting clinic on the lawn by the Sun Valley Lodge

The Wood River Valley and surrounding area boast some of the most scenic, productive trout streams in the world. If you find yourself staring longingly at the Big Wood River as you drive near Boxcar Bend or over a bridge, or if you have heard tales of storied Silver Creek and would like to face off against those mythical trout yourself, this is the summer to learn to fly fish.

Not sure where to start? The easiest way to learn the basics of casting and gain confidence that, yes, this sport can be you, is to wander over to the broad green expanse of lawn in front of the Sun Valley Lodge at 5:30 p.m. on any convenient Tuesday through Saturday. This is when a different kind of ‘happy hour’ takes place — when Silver Creek Outfitters, with locations both in the Sun Valley Village and in Ketchum, provide a free casting clinic to interested anglers.

Guide and teacher Jim Curran introduces students to the sport he loves

Guide and teacher Jim Curran introduces students to the sport he loves

On a sunny afternoon last week, I met up for a clinic with teacher Jim Curran, a fisherman nearly as storied as the waters he has fished every day for the past 50 years. With rods laid out at the ready, Jim, a Certified Fly Casting Instructor, invited his group of seven students to grab one and find a spot on the lawn. Soon, the filament was flying, but without hooks on the end of the line, this was a fail-safe way to get a feel for the action of casting. Jim also let the students know, “there is nothing you can do wrong here today. You can let the rod fly over the back of your head and land on the ground and it’s just fine.”

Silver Creek Outfitters provides all the gear you need to practice your casting

Silver Creek Outfitters provides all the gear you need to practice your casting

The group that flocked to the lawn that evening was comprised of: one family from the Bay area where the father, an experienced fisherman, wanted to share the activity with his young sons and wife; Paul and Karen from San Diego who own a vacation home along the Big Wood River and wanted to join in the action they see outside their windows; and a man whose girlfriend loves to fly fish. It was learn, or be left behind.

Though the students came to the lesson with varying aptitudes and experience, Jim quickly had everyone working on proper casting technique. “Elbows in,” “wrists taut,” “thumb on top of the rod,” “stop at 12 o’clock, cast at 2 o’clock,” Jim repeated as he gave each angler individual attention and instructions in what he calls substance and style.  In short order, the group was laying out nice straight line, false casting  and roll casting.

By all accounts, everyone in the class felt that after only 45 minutes, their skills had improved exponentially and that fly fishing was really not as complex as imagined.

Silver Creek Outfitters provides, free of charge, rods, reels and priceless instruction from guides like Jim every Tuesday through Saturday from now through Labor Day weekend. Whether you are curious, rusty, or could just use some professional tips, come on out. Then, if you’re, um, hooked, be sure to book a guide from Silver Creek to explore the area’s pristine waters and put those newly honed techniques to work.

See you on the river!

–RES

The Lodge is a picturesque backdrop for your first venture into fly fishing

The Lodge is a picturesque backdrop for your first venture into fly fishing

Summer, Your Way

Summer in Sun Valley is pretty darn spectacular. Get out there!

Summer in Sun Valley is pretty darn spectacular. Get out there!

The Memorial Day weekend is upon us and with it, the promise of endless sunny days filled with, well, whatever makes you happy. Sun Valley summers are rife with possibility, whether your tastes tend to climbing mountains, biking single track, swinging at tennis or golf balls, sunbathing, stargazing … the possibilities truly are endless.

For my family, summer is all about being outside. When, in late June, the sun rises at 6 a.m. and sets at 10 p.m., there is time to indulge in everything that makes the season so memorable.

After much consideration and heated debate around the dining room table, here is a list of the top five activities that define our Sun Valley summers. It would have been easy to name 50, but the winners are:

When you reach Pioneer Cabin, this is your reward

When you reach Pioneer Cabin, this is your reward

Hiking
My favorite way to enjoy the wilderness and scenic beauty of the Wood River Valley, the Sawtooth Mountains and beyond (and beyond and beyond) is on foot. Whether I have a two-hour window in my schedule or the luxury of a full day to get out into the woods, the possibilities for eye- (and lung!) popping hikes are as limitless as the amazingly well maintained, beautiful trail system that originates in our backyard. In-town hikes like Adams Gulch, Proctor Mountain and Chocolate Gulch offer diverse topography and challenge. A short drive from town gets you into the White Clouds, the Smoky Mountains, the Pioneers and the Boulders. Tucked among these mountain peaks are some of the most spectacular high altitude lakes you will ever see, and even during “high season,” many of these trails are surprisingly lightly traveled. My all-time favorite in the Smoky Mountains is the Norton Lake/Big Lost loop — spectacular and easily manageable in a half-day. Given a full day, the Sawtooths are my destination of choice, with trailheads in the Stanley area about an hour’s drive north of Ketchum. One of the destinations in that region isn’t called Shangri-La for nothing! Oh! And hiking up Baldy to Roundhouse for lunch and a gondola ride down is pretty terrific, too! And cresting the final ridge up to Pioneer Cabin is probably one of the most beautiful payoffs, beauty-wise, in the world. This list goes on and on!

People travel from all over the world to fly fish Sun Valley. Try it and you'll see why

People travel from all over the world to fly fish Sun Valley. Try it and you'll see why

Fly Fishing
As the band the Talking Heads sang in the 80s, “Take me to the river, drop me in the water,” and for our family, this is gospel, as long as we get to bring our fly rods. Sun Valley is surrounded on every side by some of the most pristine, productive trout water in North America. Steps from town, the Big Wood River fishes fantastically throughout the summer, tempting novices to get hooked and offering more sophisticated fishing to experienced anglers. For children, Penny Lake is fishing heaven and a great introduction to the lifetime sport. Over Trail Creek pass, Copper Basin and the Big Lost River beckon with some of the most spectacular scenery in the state and south of Bellevue, Silver Creek draws fly fishing aficionados from around the world with its notoriously selective natives that challenge and delight.

Skating on the outdoor rink isn't just child's play, but it certainly is fun

Skating on the outdoor rink isn't just child's play, but it certainly is fun

Skating Away
With two figure skaters in the family, much of our summer is spent at the Sun Valley ice rinks. But skating isn’t only for those working on their Double Salchow! Taking a few turns around the iconic outdoor rink that hugs the Lodge’s terrace is a fabulous way to spend an afternoon. In fact, it is the coolest place to be on hot summer days. Skate rentals, attire to make you look like a gold medalist and admission to general sessions are all available at the historic skate house, as is the opportunity to sign up for a few lessons with one of the rink’s highly accomplished pros. Then on Saturday nights, beginning in July, the stars of the skating world shine under Idaho’s canopy of stars in Sun Valley’s world famous ice shows. We love to enjoy the bountiful dinner buffet before the show or wrap up in a blanket on the bleachers to see, up close and personal, the finest athletes in the world. This year’s lineup includes luminaries like Evan Lysacek, Ryan Bradley and Ashley Wagner. This may be your last chance to glimpse future Olympic champions as they finalize preparations for Games in Sochi.

Dining al fresco
Dining outside is one of the great pleasures of life, especially when you live in a climate where it is only possible for a short window of time. Whenever eating out is on the calendar, we chose to go al fresco. At the Resort, dinner on the Ram terrace is our absolute favorite, both for the food and the terrific view of activity in the Village. The swan pond, surrounded by soft green grass, couldn’t be more picturesque if an artist painted it. Other terrific outdoor dining at the Resort includes the terrace at Gretchen’s restaurant overlooking the ice rink, light fare and drinks on the Duchin Room terrace and of course, my other favorite, outdoor dining at the historic Trail Creek Cabin. A short drive from Sun Valley takes you a world away to enjoy outstanding food as Trail Creek burbles nearby and the surrounding mountains look, at sunset, as if they are draped in velvet. Other al fresco dining opportunities also abound in Ketchum and Hailey when decks and patios are the place to see and be seen all summer long, whether you’re enjoying a burger or a gourmet four-course dinner.

The terrace at the Ram is a wonderful place to enjoy a meal under the sun or stars

The terrace at the Ram is a wonderful place to enjoy a meal under the sun or stars

Leisurely bike rides
Nearly every night of the warm weather months, my children and I hop on our bikes, hop onto the Rails-to-Trails bike path that runs right by our home and pedal the evening away. This paved path is appropriate for everyone as it gently leads past Hailey to the south and well past Ketchum to the north. The route often runs next to the Big Wood River and offers more than 32-miles of pedaling possibility. My advice? Don’t rush. This is a great opportunity to simply enjoy the surroundings and the company.

Family bike rides are a terrific end to a busy day (and no worries, my daughter only took off her helmet for the photo!)

Family bike rides are a terrific end to a busy day (and no worries, my daughter only took off her helmet for the photo!)

Summer possibilities are so varied, whether you are visiting for two weeks or have lived here for 20 years, there will always be new hikes to try, new mountain bike trails to explore, another stretch of river to fish or to whitewater raft, campsites you haven’t visited, a new stretch of beach at a mountain lake at which to picnic, a swimming hole to jump into, another opportunity to work on your handicap. Phew!

No matter what you like to do, though, the critical thing is to just get outside, be with friends and family and remember what summer is supposed to be about. Unplug, enjoy, unwind, explore. It’s summer in Sun Valley.

–RES

Everything that makes summer wonderful is at the end of this rainbow in Sun Valley

Everything that makes summer wonderful is at the end of this rainbow in Sun Valley

It’s Almost Time to Go Fish!

One of the exquisite, healthy trout in our local rivers (photo courtesy Bryan Huskey, Silver Creek Outfitters)

One of the exquisite, healthy trout in our local rivers (photo courtesy Bryan Huskey, Silver Creek Outfitters)

Unlike many people who relocate to Sun Valley or become frequent visitors because of our amazing skiing and snowboarding, my family was first drawn to Sun Valley by the area’s world-class fly fishing. Raised by a father who is a consummate fisherman and a mother who also caught the bug, my brother and I were put into waders, handed a fly rod and placed in western trout streams when we no more than eight years old. Fishing was just what we did.

In 1983, the trout streams we waded into were Sun Valley’s. That year, our family’s summer vacation included throwing flies from drift boats in Montana, exploring desolate waters in western Canada and, finally, landing in the Wood River Valley. Before our two-week stay in a Wildflower condo on the Resort property ended, my parents had hired a real estate agent. The fishing, and everything else that comprises a Sun Valley summer, was that good.

Fish on! Just another glorious day fishing in Sun Valley

Fish on! Just another glorious day fishing in Sun Valley

So, when the winter runoff begins in earnest, when ski runs begin to transition to hiking and biking trails and when facets of bright sunlight bounce off of the currents of the Big Wood River beneath the bridges on my daily errands, my mind turns to fishing.

With May just around the corner, so is fly fishing season. The Big Wood, the river that wends through Hailey and Ketchum, opens on May 25, as does fabled Silver Creek south of Bellevue. According to Silver Creek Outfitters, the area’s leading fly fishing authority with outposts both in the Sun Valley Village and downtown Ketchum, indicators are pointing to good early fishing. According to the shop’s report, “Our snow pack is currently at about 80 percent of average and the Climate Prediction Center at NOAA is calling for below average precipitation for the next several months in Central and Southern Idaho. For the angler, this means the fishing should be good earlier this year on our freestone rivers due to the lower flows and often when the flows are lower, the hatches, like the Green Drake, will also come off a bit earlier.”

Unlike the past two years, when the Big Wood ran high (making for tenuous wading) until well in the early summer, this year’s conditions may let us get our feet wet much earlier. All signs point to productive fishing on this very accessible and very beautiful river in the not-too-distant future, with wade-ability most likely by the end of June.

Bugs! Hatches! Dinner is served! (photo courtesy Bryan Huskey, Silver Creek Outfitters)

Bugs! Hatches! Dinner is served! (photo courtesy Bryan Huskey, Silver Creek Outfitters)

For novice anglers or those looking to enhance or refresh their skills as the season begins, Silver Creek Outfitters Fly Fishing 101 Clinics begin on May 4 and continue throughout the summer. These popular two-day classes cover the basics of a sport that may seem intimidating, but really isn’t – from casting to knot tying, bugs to wading. Beginning at the end of June, the shop’s top guides also offer free casting clinics on the lawn in front of the Sun Valley Lodge. 

And if May 25 seems like an awfully long time to wait to cast some line into a ripple, you can fish now on the Big Lost River. This tailwater gem (surrounded by some of the most inspiring, stunning views in the state) is about a two-hour drive from Ketchum near the town of Mackay. Again, Silver Creek Outfitter’s fishing guru reports, “Hatches on the Lost this time of year are a combination of Midge and Baetis and on the right day they can be spectacular. Some fish are spawning in the shallow riffles, so please wade with caution and leave them alone.”

Be sure to stop by the Ketchum location of Silver Creek Outfitters for the best advice on early season fishing (the Sun Valley store will open for the season when the season opens).

If you’re dreaming of clear trout streams, spectacular scenery and lazy lunches riverside, your wait is nearly over. Be sure to get your Idaho fishing license (for a day or a season), check your fly line, air out your waders and boots. And if you haven’t done so already, maybe it’s time to check in with a local realtor. You may get hooked, too.

–RES

Catching (& releasing) is only a part of fly fishing, but it sure is fun

Catching (& releasing) is only a part of fly fishing, but it sure is fun

 

 

Fly Fishing Film Festival

Fly Fishing Film Festival – Benefitting The Nature Conservancy

Friday, July 20

7:00pm; Sun Valley Opera House

Join us for fly fishing stories and adventures on the Sun Valley Opera House big screen.

Enjoy films from here in Idaho and far beyond, crafted by the likes of Felt Soul Media, Todd Moen,

Ryan Peterson, as well as our own Silver Creek Outfitters production.

Ticket Sales:  $15 in advance • Limited Seating

Pre-Party – 5pm at our store in the Sun Valley Mall

Call 208-622-5282 for more information

 

 

Product Fair

Saturday, July 21; 10am – 4pm

Silver Creek Outfitters, Ketchum Location

Live art from artist A.D. Maddox

BBQ by Apple’s Bar & Grill

Contact 208-726-5282