Silver City, Idaho
Contributors: Amanda Reynolds, Kaitlin VanHooser
Recovering from our Alaska adventure means taking a weekend trip into the mountains.
For those of you who don’t know, here’s a bit of history on Silver City, Idaho…
During its “heydays”, Silver City had about a dozen streets, seventy-five businesses, three hundred homes, a population of around 2,500, twelve ore-processing mills, and was the Owyhee County seat from 1866 to 1934. Some of the largest stage lines in the West operated in the area, and Silver City had the first telegraph and the first daily newspaper in the territory in 1874.
-Historic Silver City, Idaho
The city itself has a history dating back to 1863 when the first miners began investigating the area, and quickly grew as gold and silver was found (Derig). The town itself still hosts several activities including an open house, Labor Day weekend activities, tours of the mines, town shops, and camping throughout the summer months.
For a more complete history of the area you’ll want to visit the Historic Silver City, Idaho website or review the History of Silver City, Idaho by Betty Bell Derig. Both are linked below.
Historic Silver City, Idaho: http://www.historicsilvercityidaho.com/
History of Silver City, Idaho by Betty Bell Derig: https://scholarworks.umt.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3586&context=etd
The road to get to Silver City is 10 miles of dirt and gravel. In some places it is almost washed out and eroding to leave river rock in the middle of the path. Though it is possible, cars with some height and good suspension are advised. We did see one small sedan, but they obviously DNGAF if the undercarriage of their car came off as they rattled down the road. That said, if your car is lower than an 08′ Honda CRV, consider taking or renting a different vehicle.
This time, we missed the rain.
We took our 1 wt and 3 wt rods with the intention to fish Jordan Creek after taking a self-guided tour of the town. Everything was closed and would open a week later, but we enjoyed the quietness of minimal people and wandering the town ourselves.
It is eerie to walk the restored streets and buildings of a ghost town. Knowing its history, it is hard to imagine so many people living here. But the infrastructure tells a story. We walked the town, and then fished near its entrance.
Then…the vodka gummy bears came out and we were done for the day.
The next morning we rose and packed up camp. It was scheduled to rain that afternoon, so we ate breakfast and explored Jordan Creek before the rain. Most of it is accessible by 4-wheel trails, and we drove our Jeep as far as the stone bridge before we got out and walked the creek.
We hooked into a bunch of small rainbows and landed the ones who were actually big enough to eat the flies we were using. The creek itself was higher than normal, but still wade-able in almost all places. The water is crystal clear and makes for some exciting-sneaky fishing for trout.
Then it started to sprinkle and look like rain, so we made our way back to the Jeep and headed out the 10 miles we came in. On our way we came across a small rattlesnake in the road who wasn’t too happy to see us using his sunning spot. We left him be, and I’m sure he felt all big and bad because of it.
Be Aware! Snakes are out this time of year, so make sure you know the difference between the rattle snakes in your area and gopher snakes. They both like to shake their tail, but only one can actually send you to the hospital.
For more information on how to identify snakes in the Southern Idaho area, visit this website:
From the Owyhee mountains we drove to Jump Creek just outside of Marsing, ID. Jump Creek is a fairly good creek to stream fish for smaller rainbows, and it was one of the first places I landed fish on a fly rod.
We were disappointed.
Not with the fishing, but with how it has been treated by its visitors. A normally beautiful clear-water stream was soiled with as much garbage from people as tumbleweeds. Remarkably, we still caught a good amount of fish, but it was disheartening to see what ignorance and inconsiderateness can do to a once beautiful stream.
I hope it can be restored by a bit of awareness, clean up, and a good rain. If not for the day-hikers, for the population of fish that still call it home.
Special Thanks To:
Kaitlin VanHooser for the Silver City photos.