March puts the ‘sun’ in Sun Valley as days grow suddenly longer and brighter, the snow on the mountains begins to turn to corn, and the party at River Run, Roundhouse, and Warm Springs moves outside. Think bluebird skies, lots of live music, the sun on your face, and nothing to do but play all day. Lucky for so many that spring break falls smack in the middle of this munificent month. This year, the pleasures of a family spring break in Sun Valley are even more palatable with a Kids Ski Free special in March. Yes, you read that...
Much to the delight of anglers of all ages and abilities, Memorial Day weekend kicks off the general fishing season on the waters around Sun Valley. It’s that wonderful time of year when the lakes and rivers banks are alive with birds, insects and fisherman crying out, "Fish On!", "Grab me another beer!" and "Damn wind knots!"
To help make sure whatever you yell out when fishing the waters of South Central Idaho is positive, instead of profanity-laced, here's a rundown of spring fishing options around Sun Valley.
King of the Drakes!
There really isn't a better fly fishing experience than the world-famous brown drake hatch on Silver Creek. It usually takes place within the first few weeks of June and it brings people in droves almost as thick as the large mayfly hatches. At dusk for roughly a week each spring, both those who fish and those who just like to check out the awe-inspiring natural phenomenon flock to "the Creek."
The atmosphere surrounding the annual brown drake hatch, which draws people from across the Gem State and throughout the fly fishing world, is so festive and friendly that it’s earned a reputation as being the "biggest party outside of the Georgia/Florida game."
Hook `Em While They're Young!
There are three rather different Family Fishing Waters around Sun Valley. Lake Creek is nestled in the foothills of the Boulder Mountains just north of Ketchum. Penny Lake is a classic oval put-and-take fishing pond out on the end of the Warm Springs Road and it even has a fishing pier. And Hayspur Hatchery, down across from the eastern entrance to Silver Creek Preserve, offers good fishing and even better views of the Picabo Hills.
Find Some Magic!
Magic Reservoir, or "the Lake," is usually the most consistent place to fish locally in the spring. Everything from bait and lures to dry flies and streamers can be successful at Magic. It's large enough for boats and also offers loads of great shore access for anglers as well.
Go Big or Go Home!
The vastly underrated Big Wood River is unique in a lot of ways. The freestone fishery is a great place for folks to learn about fishing, especially fly fishing, in moving water. But spring run-off can often cause flows to be too fast or muddy to safely and effectively fish it in the early- to mid-season. But once the height of run-off has subsided, and the long warm days have arrived, it can be tough to beat a day of dry fly fishing on "the Wood."
Regulations on the Big Wood River are also rather unique, so make sure you're following the well-posted rules for different sections, or to check with a local tackle shop.
Get Some Elevation!
The weather in the spring can be pretty unpredictable in the Northern Rockies. Some days you can see a little bit of all four seasons, from snow and sleet, to wind, rain and downright hot sunshine. And in years like this one, when spring came on like a fastball—quick and hot—the lakes along the Sawtooth Mountains can offer some fun angling.
Just an hour or so drive north of Sun Valley, fishable lakes like Alturas and Stanley offer fun day trips.
Stay on the Trail!
Trail Creek runs through Sun Valley on its way to meet up with the Big Wood River on the southern edge of Ketchum. While the small mountain creek often rages like an adolescent at a rock concert during much of the spring, it eventually calms down and offers some pretty fun fishing.
There are numerous access points along Trail Creek just up the road from Sun Valley Lodge, and the walk and wade friendly fishery gets stocked regularly throughout the season.
For more information about fishing in the area, check out Silver Creek or Lost River Outfitters in Ketchum, or pick up a copy of the award-winning guidebook, "Angling Around Sun Valley" at Sun Valley Signatures and Gift Shop.
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