Photos: A Steelhead Engagement in Idaho

Written by: Andrew Thomas, Picabo Angler


Whitney Holts is all smiles, as she shows off a very meaningful Idaho steelhead.
Photos by Andrew Thomas

[Editor’s note: Some of you may remember the great subplot in the movie “Diner,” in which Steve Guttenberg’s character will marry his fiancee, Elyse, if she can pass his test about the history of the Baltimore Colts. This story of a guide and his girlfriend seems reminiscent of that.]

In March, I proposed to my girlfriend of six years, Whitney, on the banks of the Salmon River in Idaho. I had been telling her for some time–only partly tongue-in-cheek–that she would get a ring and we could get engaged the day she caught her first steelhead.


The author is a bit of a steelie fanatic, as evidenced by his deal with Whitney.

We have lived and fished together our entire adult lives, relocating from Virginia to Ketchum, Idaho in 2014. Steelhead are my passion, and I spend about 50 days a year targeting. Whitney had never caught one, and it took her three trips and about 16 hours of fishing to get the job done, which isn’t bad when you’re talking about catching steelhead on swung flies.

When we arrive at the first run on March 20, she took my pre-rigged Spey rod and hopped down into the water. After just five minutes, as I was rigging up my own rod, I heard her and the dogs going crazy. I ran over to the hillside to see the steelhead flashing in the pool. I yelled down at her that it was probably just a cutthroat and to stay calm, and then I ran to the truck to get the net and the ring.


An on-the-river proposal and a quick photo before it’s time to run off and tell the world the great news.

After a few minutes, the fight was over, and I proposed to her with the fish in the net. Then we were off to our favorite bar celebrate. We plan to be married on the banks of Silver Creek in September.

Andrew Thomas a guide at Picabo Angler in Picabo, Idaho.

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