Coeur d'Alene Fishing Report

In many people’s opinion, the Coeur d’ Alene area offers the best native westslope cutthroat fishing in the world. That’s because you can hit the St. Joe, Coeur d’ Alene and North Fork Clearwater rivers, plus Kelly Creek, any day between July 4 and the end of October and expect to land a bunch of fish on dry flies. But cutts aren’t the only game in town—great bass, pike, perch and even muskie options can be found on the area’s plethora of lakes.
  • Coeur d Alene Fishing Report

    Coeur d'Alene River

    The Coeur d'Alene River is fishing well.  With the cooler weather the last few days, things have perked up a bit.  The hopper fishing is still good and smaller sizes will get more looks than the great big patterns.  Morrish hoppers are fishing great in a size 10-12# followed with a smaller black ant or a beetle.  There are decent pmd hatches mid-morning to midday, and surprisingly, a few fish are eating them up in the midday sun.  The late afternoon fishing will still be the most consistent.  Caddis will be the game and a smaller x-caddis or tried and true elk hair caddis, in a 14-16# followed with a soft hackle in a 16# or smaller, will do the trick just fine.  Swinging the soft hackles in the riffles after the sun has gone off the water will do wonders.  Streamer fishing and nymphing have been ok, running a deeper bead headed dropper off a chubby or stimmie will still catch fish too.

    St. Joe River

    The St. Joe River is fishing great.  We had a great day yesterday on the Joe.  There were lots of fish in the flat tail outs sipping on pmds from early morning to the late afternoon.  They were pretty picky, and the pmds were small 18-20's.  They were more interested in the emergers though.  We had a few eat the adult but the majority were landed on the emerger dropper.  This should continue for the next week, or so, as the temps are supposed to be a bit cooler than last week’s scorcher 100+ temperatures. 

    It looks like we will get some cloud cover this week too. This will help immensely with the fishing.  The hopper fishing should still be good, we ran the typical chubby in a size 10 with a bead head or a beetle dropper and got eats on all said rigs.  The riffles midday will be where you will want to concentrate your efforts.  There is a ton of yellowjackets and bald-faced hornets out skimming the water in the mornings, so try a foam bee pattern and see what happens.  The fish will again turn their attention to the caddis and pale morning duns in the late afternoon to evening.  Things are looking somewhat "fallish" on the St. Joe, trees are just starting to change and the scrub brush on the hills is getting that reddish color.  I can't wait for mid-60-degree days and cool mornings. I wouldn't mind a giant bugling elk at 15 yards either.

    Clark Fork River (MT)

    The Clark Fork River is fishing well. It is still on the slow side during midday.  Fishing the mornings and evenings are still the way to go on the Fork.  Tricos are hatching early morning to mid-morning.  You’ll want to try running a smaller pmd with a trico spinner for a dropper or a smaller caddis with a trico spinner dropper.  There is still quite a few residual caddis in the mornings from the night before. They are flying around in the early mornings.  You’ll want to concentrate on the faster-shaded water if you are fishing at midday.  Crayfish patterns this time of year will get some good attention too.  Try banging the banks with them and stripping them very quickly along the banks.  You’ll want to try fishing late in the evening until past dark.  The caddis game in the late evening is fantastic but short lived.  Fish a large chernobyl after dark and twitch it off the banks pretty aggressively.  This can be good fun and will turn big fish too.

    Local lakes and Early Steelhead

    The smallmouth have been on the prowl, big time, on the local lakes. If you are tired of catching trout on the rivers, give the lakes a go with fly or spinning gear. This can be some of the best bass fishing of the year.  We've been finding good bass in 15 to 20-feet of water and jigging with a root beer colored plastic with a neon orange or green 1/8 oz jig head. It is pretty standard gear but producing well. The rocky clean bottom areas in the 15 to 20-depth will produce good fish too.  The perch fishing has been great as well.  We have been catching some monster perch on Pend Oreille in 10 to 12-feet of water in the tall weedy bottoms.  Smaller jigs or drop shot rigs with will do the trick. 

    Also, the Clearwater River is seeing a decent number of early "A" run steelhead coming through. A few fly caught fish already, and it should be getting better too.  Swinging traditional hair wing flies in smaller sizes like 6-8's in black and purple will do the trick just fine.  You’ll want to just keep moving from the top of the run downstream and let the fly dangle at the bottom of the swing and hold on. 

    See past reports from the CDA region here, or click here to view all northwest regional reports.