Son of former Sun Valley mayor, Wayne Willich, Chris discovered the exceptional recreational opportunities, and iconic river system Idaho has to offer at an early age. Originally from Mercer Island, Washington, Chris grew up fishing the fresh waters of Puget Sound. He recalls spending long days learning to troll off the back of a sailboat for salmon and various catch. His admiration for adventure took him to Montana State University, and eventually back to the Sawtooth Mountain range.
Chris was introduced to Silver Creek Outfitters in the’80s when he bought his first fly fishing rod. He learned the ins and outs of the feeding channels upstream from Lake Creek Trailhead. In 2013, Chris became a guide and salesperson at SCO – he is considered a jack of all trades within the shop.
Chris prefers to fish in the fall alongside smaller crowds. Whether he is releasing is favorite fly, the Renegade, into the freestone streams or the Madison river in Montana for the much-anticipated Mother’s Day Caddis, he is always trying to soak up new tips and tricks. After a productive day on the river, Chris looks forward to sitting at a picnic table and recapping the day’s stories over a refreshing beverage or two.
When Chris is not wading through the rivers of Montana and Idaho, his perfect day consists of hiking to an alpine lake and setting up camp. Throughout the winter months, he loves strapping on his snowboard or skis for a morning ride, and throwing on his waders and hitting the river in the afternoon!
For anyone ready to plan their next excursion, Chris recommends packing along a 9 foot – 5 weight rod, a pair of sunglasses, and a refreshing beverage! He also encourages anyone new to the sport to not be intimidated by all the gear and casting/flies etc. “Fly fishing can be very uncomplicated, just stop in to your local fly fishing shop and they’ll be happy to give you tips and techniques for free!”