Since I’ve never been to Sun Valley I wanted to see and experience the fabled location of the Big Wood, and the classic spring creek of Silver Creek. We would find fantastic trout rivers and creeks filled with wild and willing fish that would take dry flies, streamers and emergers.
My friend Jason D. invited us to spend some time in Sun Valley to celebrate his 40th birthday and his family along with Todd B. and his girls would make the 11 hour drive from Bellevue towards the high mountain desert. Since we had our families and kids, it would be especially tough to find time to fit fishing in, but Jason was determined to get out. On Friday we had a few hours to visit the Big Wood, which flows from Galena down through Ketchum, Hailey, and Bellevue, ID. Clear freestone streams with wild trout, not big trout, but definitely willing and fun on the 2 wt rod which I rigged up with a nymph set up at first and then went with a stimulator dry to finish the day. It was nice, but I yearned for bigger fish.
That evening after dinner and putting the kids down to bed we pushed off at 7:30 for the 30 min. drive to Silver Creek, which I didn’t realize was the setting for the short film: Doc of the Drakes. This is probably the toughest Spring Creek in North America with the smartest fish and wild big browns and rainbows that are glorious in every regard.
The section that we would fish would be the S-Curves which is only accessible via float tube which Jason had rented for our use. The first hour of fishing was rough, with wind from the west a setting sun and rising fish that refused our offerings it was going to be rough getting one of these trout to go for our imitations. I finally picked up my first fish which was on the small pheasant bodied copper thorax dropper, size 18. This fish wasn’t very large, but put up an amazing fight of a fish three times its size, I admired the brown trout while Jason took a photo and then I quickly released it back to find its feeding lane. After a few more fish on and then off, takes and having to squint so hard on the dry as it was getting dark I finally decided to switch up to an indicator with a size 20 copper bead headed pheasant nymph that I tied. I usually don’t fish my nymph boxes anymore as most of the fishing in WA that I do for trout end up being in the stillwater. With no tailwater fisheries here the need for micro nymphs wasn’t necessary, but was good that I grabbed that box as it had the tools I needed to get the job done.
With each pass of this set up with the copper head just positioned 12″ below the big indicator the fish would go crazy over it, exploding the fly so hungrily that the indicator was shoot upstream with fury. I simply couldn’t believe how strong these fish were putting on a show. The colors the scenery and the place were all magical. Once it got dark around 10 pm we packed up and headed out towards the bridge where Todd and Jason had another idea of trying to fish for large browns with big patterns. I was done and resting in the car when I heard screaming of ‘bring the net’ and bring the camera! Todd had coaxed three big browns with his double bunny baitfish imitation and was rewarded with a 20″+ brown that gobbled the fly. Even though those guys didn’t connect in the soft water, they were rewarded with a trophy fish that we’ll all never forget.
Jason and I would return the following evening to try and fish on the wade only section without success and to also try the bridge with big hardware only to come back empty handed but with full hearts while fishing under the full super moon which lit up the desert sky. I don’t know if I’ll be back, but will definitely be prepared if I have the opportunity to fish this blessed place again.