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 flow is 1,010 cfs and dropping at Cataldo.  Well, with the mild winter folks have been taking advantage of the fishing opportunities.  We have seen temperatures lately close to the 50s and mid-40s with very little snow in the low elevations.  The river flows have been fantastic too with really no ice to speak of either unless you get really far up the river.  The upcoming forecast is calling for cooler temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s which is still fair game in the trout world.  There is no real need to get out early. You’ll want to hit the river midday when the water has had a chance to warm up and get the fish as active as they are going to get this time of year.

    We have been getting rather decent reports of folks nymphing with 6-plus fish days and, for this time of year, that is not bad for the CdA river. The fish will be in the slower moving pools and tail outs.  Pat’s rubber legs with a San Juan worm dropper is a great rig to use for now.  All your bead head nymph varieties are good options too; pheasant tails, prince nymphs, 20 inchers, double bead stone nymphs.  Just trust your indicator and set it on even the slightest budge. Also, you’ll want to get your bugs down quick with the right amount of split shot and try long drifts to take advantage of keeping your flies on the bottom.  Finally, spring is right around the corner, so come stock up on gear. We have tons of really good deals on Simms right now, so get it while it’s still in stock.

    St. Joe River

    The current flow is 782 cfs and climbing slightly at Calder.  It’s a bit of a further drive than the Coeur d'Alene, but not a horrible option right now.  There is no need to go very far upriver, from 16-mile bridge upstream to maybe Calder is a good area to check out.

    The same gig here guys and gals, nymph and, or, streamers on the bottom.  The streamer has actually been producing pretty well this winter.  Big options aren't necessary either, think black dumbbell eye buggers or olive.  You’ll want to get them down with a fast sinking poly leader or sink tip line, split shot, or whatever means necessary.  Keep tension on the line as the fly is on the bottom and any "tick" or slight tug, sets the hook quickly.  The fish do not really attack the streamer this time of year. It’s more of a slow pull or pluck when they take the fly.  You’ll want to use the same patterns as the CdA as far as nymphs go. Do look for the rare sipper in the back eddies, these guys will be on midges most likely.  Also, be on the lookout for Nemoura stoneflies, midges, and possibly a blue-winged olive mayfly. These bugs are usually the first players as we start to get warmer into mid-February.  And, hey, catching a couple beautiful cutthroat trout in some pretty killer scenery in January is better than lounging on the couch getting punished by your 10-year-old at NHL 17 on PlayStation.

    Clark Fork River (MT)

    The current flow is 2,800 cfs and climbing slightly at St. Regis.  From what I hear, most of the boat launches are pretty accessible around St. Regis and Superior.  So, if you want to go do a float, by all means, get after it.

    We have seen some decent reports from the Missoula guys too.  Again, nymphing and streamer fishing is the go-to.  Back eddies are a great place to find fish this time of year on nymphs.  Foam lines and pools will hold more fish than faster riffles will on the Clark Fork in these conditions.  You may even see a few up in the foam sharking on midges.  It is still a bit cold to really get the midges going, but not too far off.  If we keep getting these days where we touch the high 40s or possibly 50s and sunny... GO!  The early spring fishing on the Clark Fork can be remarkable -blue-winged olives, midges, Nemoura stoneflies, and the mighty Skawala stonefly.

    Steelheading

    Well, even with the low numbers this year we have had some pretty good reports in lately.  Between the Clearwater and the Grande Ronde, the last two weeks there have been quite a few hopeful reports coming through.

    We will see an increase in the flows this week with the rain but really it shouldn't be a huge increase.  Also, it looks like we will get some rain and some broken sunny days in the mix too.  Swinging bigger leech patterns in black, blue, and purple will be good options.  Get the fly down with a proper sink tip for the run you are in, you should be close or near the bottom for the majority of your swing if you can help it.  Nymphing can be very productive too, so stonefly patterns with rubber legs or hot bead nymphs are always good options.  The gear guys are doing well on the normal stuff too, jigs and bobbers, pulling plugs out of the boat has been producing fish.  Come down and talk to one of our guys here and will get you set up.

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