Bob Clark Photography

Outdoor Photography of the Rocky Mountain West

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My introduction to Silver Creek

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When I first visited Silver Creek, it was not the Silver Creek Preserve, the Nature Conservancy had not yet gotten involved. The year was 1968. I was in the Sun Valley area looking for a place to fly fish. I asked around town and was directed to a fly shop run by Dick Alf in Ketchum. Silver Creek Outfitters was not yet in existence. He could see that I was an avid yet young fly fisherman and decided to share a classic trout water with me. He drew a rough map on a scrap of paper and sent me off to the south, looking for this trout stream called Silver Creek. I found the dirt road off the highway and I found the wood bridge over the creek.

Not knowing if the old wood bridge would hold my car, I parked before the bridge and rigged up my rod. The creek was running almost to the top of the bank, a slow moving, glassy water that held promise. I couldn’t resist sneaking up and looking into the water, against my mentor’s instructions, and promptly spooked the fish in my immediate vicinity. I did see what looked like some of the biggest fish I had ever seen. Accustomed to fishing the small streams in the California High Sierra, where a “big” fish might be 12”, these looked like monsters.

I crossed the creek on the bridge and walked a distance upstream, trying to keep well back from the water. As I started fishing I was eager with anticipation. I cast the dry fly I bought from Dick Alf’s fly shop, which turned out to be a pale morning dun imitation. Back then I was using a 4 piece Wright and McGill fiberglass pack rod with a Pflueger Medalist reel. It was the veteran of many hiking expeditions in the High Sierra. Although my casting was good enough to put the fly where I wanted it, my presentation was too rough for these fish. My old double-taper line splashed the water, my leader wasn’t long enough, and in my eagerness I kept getting closer and closer to the stream edge and spooking the fish.

That was my frustrating and exhilarating introduction to the stream called Silver Creek. I have fished it many times over the intervening 40+ years since that first trip, sometimes successfully and sometimes not. I have seen the creek go from a little known “local” spot, to a popular “blue ribbon” trout stream under the watchful eye of the Nature Conservancy. I don’t know what would have happened to the creek without Jack Hemingway’s foresight in raising the funds and involving the Nature Conservancy in the stewardship of this classic trout water. I’m not so sure it wouldn’t have become a silted-in irrigation ditch if left alone.

As I return each year to fish the creek, I have seen many changes over the years, most of them for the better. Fisherman are more aware of the value of the resource and tend to treat the creek with respect. It does get over fished during some popular times in the summer. A couple of years ago I took my son there over the 4th of July weekend, and we had a hard time finding a place to park on the dirt road. When we did, we almost had to take turns with the throngs of fishermen working the water with their fly rods. I’ve been there at times in the fall, when the water level tends to be the highest, and the weather the coldest, and seen few fishermen taking advantage of the hatch coming off the water.

I’ve fished the Silver Creek Preserve waters, I’ve fished the hatchery access, the Point of Rocks access and lower Silver Creek below Carey. All sections are unique and offer the fly fisherman different experiences. Here is a photo of the creek from a vantage point above the visitor center. You’ll find more photos in the Silver Creek gallery in my photo archives. I hope you enjoy the photos.

I’ll see you this summer on the creek!



Last Updated on Monday, 21 February 2011 23:42  

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