Big Wood River

The Big Wood River is born and tumbles south between the Boulder and Smoky Mountains, well north of the Sun Valley area as it heads for the fertile plains of the Snake River Basin.

The river is mostly a freestone stream, eventually impeded by a single dam as it enters the desert well south of Sun Valley, but the dam works to turn the lower river into a seasonal tailwater also providing excellent fishing. The “Wood” as the locals call it, is truly the lifeblood of the valley. In the winter its waters provides skiers the early season manmade snow for the “Swish”, and in the summer the water is Valhalla to anglers for the “fish!” It is a beautiful Sun Valley river all season long, rivaled by very few places for pure Rocky Mountain beauty.

Rainbow Trout, Brook Trout, Cuttbows, Brown Trout and Mountain Whitefish all call the Wood home at various places throughout its reaches. Starting in alpine forests this walk and wade stream is home to wild fish as it cascades through the cottonwood trees entering the towns of Sun Valley, Ketchum, Hailey and Bellevue, eventually transitioning into a desert river well south of these towns. It is this transition that makes so many Rocky Mountain rivers, like this one, extremely fertile and able to grow very healthy populations of large trout.

 The early season on Sun Valley’s Wood begins with an abundance of Green Drakes and a variety of Stoneflies allowing fish to fatten up after winter. By midsummer it is various Mayflies, Caddis, and Hoppers that keep the fish fat, and by the fall Blue Winged Olives, Western Red Quills, and more Caddis take the stage. If this wasn’t enough the winter fishing is prolific with quality Midge hatches that make the Wood a ten month a year fishery and a legendary western trout stream!

The wide variety of water types on  Sun Valley’s Big Wood allows Picabo Angler to guide absolute beginners as well as seasoned pros on these water. The close proximity and easy access on the Big Wood River also allows Picabo Angler to guide half days, ¾ days and full day trips within minutes of the Sun Valley Lodge.

Big Wood River Gallery

USGS water flow and temperature gauge for Big Wood River: HERE