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.


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)

SV SHRED: Holiday Treats

Family fun in Sun ValleyFun stuff to do for the whole family

By Mike McKenna

It’s tough to find a better place in this big, beautiful world of ours to enjoy the holidays than Sun Valley, Idaho. From fantastic skiing and snowshoeing to bowling, ice skating  and snow tubing, there are lots of fun ways to fill up a day around here.

To help you make the most out of it, here’s a rundown of some of the fun stuff the whole family can enjoy during the holidays in Sun Valley.


 Bowling & Game Room

One of the Pacific Northwest’s oldest bowling alleys, the Sun Valley Lodge Bowling Alley and Game Room offers a 1950′s atmosphere and features six lanes, video games, a Juke Box, pool table and snack bar. Open nightly from 4pm to 10pm daily, the Bowling Alley and Game Room can be reserved for private parties. For more info, check bowling alley hours and details here.

Cross Country Skiing or Snowshoeing

The Sun Valley Nordic & Snowshoe Center is located at the 58,000 square-foot Sun Valley Club in the backyard of the world famous Sun Valley Lodge. They’ve got all the gear to supply the whole family for some fun frolicking in the snow. For a round up of other local snowshoe trails, from easy to insane, check out Sun Valley Magazine’s "Walking in a Winter Wonderland."

Sun Valley Lodge Skating Crowd

Skating in front of the Lodge at Sun Valley's famous Outdoor Ice Rink

Ice Skating

There’s no doubt where the coolest place is in Sun Valley, it’s the Ice Rink. Open to the public and home to the legendary Sun Valley Ice Shows, the Ice Rink is a great time for the whole family. The ice rink is open daily at 10 am has a full range of rental sizes.

Fly Fishing

Even on the coldest days, fisherman of all ages can be found casting the day away on the Big Wood River. Check out the reduced winter guide rates, which include all the gear, for day of fly fishing with the world-renown guides at Silver Creek Outfitters or read about the basics here.


Micro-Stock Car Racing

Sun Valley’s Limelight Room will host the Micro-Reality Stock Car Racing Thursday, December 29 & Saturday December 31, from 6 to 10 pm. $25 per person at the door. Youngsters and those young at heart are welcome to join in the fun, which will include: Video Games, Fast Track Auto Racing, Guitar Hero, Hose Hockey, Giant Twister, Speed Pitch, Calf Roping Lessons, Electronic Putting Challenge, Music & Prizes! For more information or to make reservations call 208.622.2135.

Learning to ski under Sun Valley's blue skies

Ski Lessons

From daylong kids classes to private lessons for the whole family, taking or having the kids take a ski or snowboard lesson is always a good idea. Sun Valley Snowsports Ski School is well known and highly respected for helping shredders of any age improve their skills and have more fun on the slopes. Follow this link for Ski School basics. 

Forever Plaid

Celebrating their final season, Forever Plaid offers "Heavenly Musical Hits" the whole family can enjoy. Kids under 12 are admitted for free. For their full schedule, check out the Sun Valley Calendar of Events.


Situated in the heart of Sun Valley Village, the Opera House was built in 1937 and serves as Sun Valley’s charming 340-seat theatre. Call 208.622.2244 for check here for films and times.  The Opera House also plays the classic film, "Sun Valley Serenade" each afternoon at 4:30 and admittance is always free. Ketchum’s Magic Lantern Cinema also offers current films nightly and as matinees most days.


The two base lodges at Sun Valley, River Run and Warm Springs, offer live music most weekends and holidays weekdays. Check out the Calendar of Events for times and listings.


Sleigh ride to Trail Creek Cabin with Bald Mountain as backdrop

Sleigh Rides

A sleigh ride to Trail Creek Cabin for dinner has traditionally been one of the most memorable and fun Sun Valley winter experiences for the whole family. Round trip scenic rides are available Tuesday through Saturday and nightly during the Christmas holidays and President’s Week. Private bookings are also available. For dinner at Trail Creek Cabin, the half-hour long horse-drawn sleigh rides leave the Sun Valley Inn at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm for a family style dinner. For more info or reservations call 208.622. 2135 or check here.




Sun Valley Lodge offers two year-round swimming pools. The Lodge Pool is heated to a soothing 100-102° and cocktail service is available for aprs skiers. The Inn Pool offers breathtaking views of Baldy. The Lodge also offers a state-of-the-art fitness room. Check here for more info. The Wood River YMCA also has a pool and lots of other activities for the whole family, from a climbing wall to large fitness facility.

Tubing at Dollar Mountain is fun for the whole family


Rubber meets the snow in three 600-ft. lanes at Dollar Mountain’s Snow Tubing Park. Fun for the whole family, the tubing park is open daily. For more details, check here.

New Year’s Eve Party

Kids of all ages are invited to celebrate New Year’s Eve Sun Valley-style at the Inn’s Continental Room. Food & beverages are included. The family-friendly party runs from 7:30pm to 1:00am, $75 per person on New Year’s Eve. For reservations please call 208. 622.2135.