For the past 60 years, Butch Harper has lived and breathed fishing. Butch smiles as he reminisces over childhood memories of hopping on his dad’s bike and venturing off to the Snake River in search of Carp with his old man.
Born and raised in Idaho, Butch returned home in 1957 after attending college in Colorado. Upon his return he joined the US Forest Service and Sun Valley Ski Patrol. He gave 30 years to these careers while, like any true Idahoan, always remained passionate for fly fishing.
Eventually, he retired his skis and gave his full attention to his next favorite set of toys, a rod, reel and flies. In 2003, Butch joined the Silver Creek Outfitters and became a certified fly casting instructor. You will find him wading in the waters of the Big Wood River, the Magic Reservoir and the Duck Valley Indian Reservation, patiently awaiting the rainbow trout and perch that swim his way.
When asked about a favorite fishing memory, his story of catching a sparkling, wild steelhead along the majestic Thompson River comes alive. This unique species holds a place in every sport fisherman’s heart because they are known to be elusive and put up a good fight once hooked.
Growing up in Idaho has given Butch a great deal of unforgettable memories from season to season. When he is not skiing or fly fishing, you will find him out hunting upland game, training his new pup and exploring the trails of the Wood River Valley with his wife.
Butch’s favorite flies to use are the still-water and classic steelhead patterns. He recommends all newbies to the sport to hire a guide and spend a day on the river, asking questions and playing around with the technique. “It’s not as easy as it looks but not as hard as you think,” Butch said. There is always a vast amount to learn with fly fishing and he loves teaching all ages and skill levels the happiness you can find on the river.