A portrait of Mike Richmond taken on Silver Creek a number of years ago. This was before Social Media blew up when the brown drake thing got going. Mike, who I had never met before, happened to have driven over from Boise on what was one of the more prolific brown drake spinner falls I have ever seen. There were hundreds of thousands of drakes in the tall grass and Mike had shown up in the middle of the day. As luck would have it, with nobody else around, the clouds rolled in and Mike and his fishing buddy had a massive daytime spinner fall all to themselves.

Silver Creek, Idaho

Spring creeks, for starters, are my favorite type of river or stream.  They have an inviting aesthetic that’s generally accompanied with cold, clear water and aquatic vegetation unique to spring creeks, harboring hundreds of thousands of aquatic insects. The combination of cold water and lots of bugs means great habitat for trout.

There are not a ton of spring creeks in the west and a majority of them seem to flow through private land. Silver Creek, however, in south central Idaho, runs through a large swath of Nature Conservancy land, and as such is available to the public. Farther downstream there’s also more public access on this high desert spring creek.

Brown drake spinners and evening light. The days are finally longer, it gets dark around 10 pm at this point in June, and fish are often eating the spent bugs or emergers long after dark. The sound of a large fish eating after dark is pretty enticing.
Early June on Silver Creek means the start of a new season and brown drakes kick it off. Sometime near the end of May and the first two weeks of June, brown drakes emerge en masse starting just east of Picabo, Idaho. It’s a linear hatch meaning it works its way from downstream to its upstream terminus. Lasting only about a week, it terminates at the HWY 20 bridge just upstream of The Willows.
A rainbow just after feeding elegantly dips back down below the surface.
A brown drake morphs from dun to spinner in the tall grass common along the banks of Silver Creek.
Brown drake dun.
A rainbow about to eat a spent trico. Tricos typically start in earnest sometime in mid-July and can be quite prolific.
Three Mercer’s epoxy back green drake nymphs and one natural green drake nymph.
A PMD dun not long after emerging on an overcast June day on Silver Creek.

The combination of cold water and lots of bugs means great habitat for trout.

A female trico not long after emerging.
A female trico and its reflection.

As a photographer and a guide, I’m constantly drawn to Silver Creek. The fish are not always easy to catch but they are both abundant and can stretch the tape beyond 30 inches. Silver Creek is a microcosm for insects that trout eat and it is my backyard photo lab for macro images of bugs, rising trout and landscapes. It’s a true gem and I’m incredibly lucky to live near it. More importantly, Silver Creek, like all other trout streams, is vulnerable to drought and is worth protecting.

Nick Price

An October caddis.
A tiny female trico morphs from dun to spinner or subimago to imago. A mayfly, as a dun, cannot sexually reproduce until it sheds another layer and becomes a imago or spinner. At that point, its wings are close to transparent and it becomes an adult. Male tricos are jet black and females have a yellowish abdomen.
Female tricos and their respective egg sacs caught in a spiderweb. Silver Creek, Idaho.
Cicada. We don’t get a ton of cicadas on Silver Creek, but every once in awhile we get some. Their singing gives them away.
A mating damselfly couple hits the water and other males fight for attention.
A rainbow on Silver Creek takes advantage of the 2017 damselfly smorgasbord. Male and female damselflies meet up on the weeds that come to the surface and often clumsily fall to the water while mating as trout lie in wait below.
A quick surface feed is often the sign of either an erratically moving bug or the need to be the first to the meal.

Contributed By

Nick Price

Nick Price is an Idaho based photographer specializing in fly fishing, travel and outdoor lifestyle. His editorial work has appeared in The FlyFish Journal, The Drake, Anglers Journal, Condé Nast Traveler, and others. He travels regularly but has a love for Silver Creek, his home water. Nick also guides Silver Creek among other rivers based out of Picabo Angler. He’s married with two sons.


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