Sandpoint/Ponderay, Idaho Fishing Report 08.09.18

Fishing Report Ponderay

Clark Fork River (ID)

The flows from Cabinet Gorge dam are between 4,000 to 28,000 cubic feet per second. For anyone who doesn’t understand cfs, it means the river rises and drops roughly six feet a day. The best time to fish the river for trout has been when flows are at its lowest. Caddis, western yellow mayflies, pmds, rusty spinners, hoppers, ants, and beetles are all a part of the trout’s diet. If they aren’t eating flies that match the hatch, throw a #14 purple rocky mountain mint, a #10 purple chubby chernobyl, or a #12 H & L Variant. Nymphs like a #14 red copper john, a #14 Taylor’s gut instinct, and a #16 tan three-dollar dip are great choices to drop behind a dry. Streamers like a #2 complex twist and a #8 olive balanced leech will attract some major strikes.

Lake Pend Oreille

Water temperatures are ranging from 72-76°F, but I suspect it will rise a degree or two with the coming heat wave. Clarity has been around 7 to 8 feet. Fishing in the mornings and evenings is a must. Once 11 a.m. rolls around, water temperatures are fairly warm, and the fish become sluggish. Not to mention the recreational boaters have taken over the lake by then.

Pike fishing has been hit or miss. They are still out there and heavily feeding every day. The problem is, a lot of the sloughs and bays are slowly being choked out with weeds. However, I am hearing places like Denton Slough are still fishable and have been producing a few large northerns. There, I prefer to fish floating line with flies like a red jackknife or a chartreuse pike slider.

Bass fishing has been great! Abrupt points near drop-offs have been important structure. Find this in 10 to 15 feet of water, and you will be in great shape. You’ll want to use fast-sinking line with flies like a #4 chartreuse Clouser, a #2 deceiver, or a #2 jiggy worm. Poppers have been a blast in the mornings and evenings when the lake is calm.

Lake Cocolalla

The water temperature is ranging from 73-77°F. Clarity is between 3 to 4-feet. The mornings have been fishing better than the evenings. And, by mornings, I mean the crack of dawn. Bring your selection of leeches and fish the flats in 6 to 10 feet of water. I prefer to fish intermediate line in these scenarios and switch to fast-sinking line as the day warms up. Flies like a #6 olive woolly bugger, a rust baby gonga, a #8 balanced leech, or a #2 complex twist will move fish.

The largemouth have been under lily pads and docks trying to avoid the heat. Lily pads are very important this time of year. They create oxygen-rich ecosystems in shallow water while providing shade. Rig a weedless popper, and fish the pads.

Kootenai River

Flows out of Libby dam are around 9,000 cfs, and the clarity is perfect. The river has been at this level all summer. Water temps are at 54°F coming out of the dam right now. That is a saving grace for Idaho/Montana’s warm summers. This river will fish fairly well throughout the entire day, with mornings and evening being the best times to go. Caddis, pmds, rusty spinners, hoppers, ants, beetles, and crane flies are what the trout are zoning in on. If those aren’t working, chuck a #10 royal chubby chernobyl, a #10 pink J-slam, or a #10 red hippie stomper. Nymphs are an important part of fishing this river. If the fish aren’t up, fish down. A #8 Pat’s rubberlegs, a #6 lightning bug, a #12 dirty bird, and a #12 north fork special are great choices to use. Also, you’ll want to use a couple split shots 8 to 10-inches above your top fly to help drive the flies down. Never, ever, ever forget your streamers at home when planning to fish this river! There are trout in the Kootenai that can outweigh small dogs. You’ll want to toss an articulated sparkle minnow, double gonga, or dolly llama.

See past reports from the Sandpoint/Ponderay area here, or click here to view all northwest regional reports.

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North 40 Fly Shop is planted in one of the most beautiful places on Earth, smack dab in a vibrant town full of dedicated anglers and lots of fly-fishing energy. You can tap into that vibe right here, in the shop, before heading out to an endless number of quality fishing options, including the lower Clark Fork and Kootenai rivers where anglers cast to wild rainbows and browns that eagerly rise to dry flies . . . when they’re not hammering streamers and nymphs. If that’s not your game don’t fret; we are walking distance away from Lake Pend Orielle, which produces giant rainbow trout—meaning over 20 pounds—along with scads of smallmouth bass that range to five pounds or more. If big water isn’t your game you can tap into smaller lakes where tiger muskie, pike, perch, and more bass prowl. We have all the local info on these smaller lakes and the main attractions, so don’t be shy—stop by to stock up on flies and other tackle. The coffee is always on and we’ll happily fill your Thermos.

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