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 fishing is great here folks.  Nights are getting much colder, so the mornings are not going to be too productive.  It’s banker’s hours now, so getting on the water by noon is totally acceptable as the hatches really won't kick off until then anyhow.  You’ll want to stay until dark as this is when the October caddis really start to kick in.  There is also a good amount of blue wing olives out as well as small caddis and mahogany duns too.  However, the clear, sunny days will make for much more technical fishing.  So, using longer leaders and good presentations are now the key. Don't be afraid to go back through some of the runs you just fished with dry flies and run a sculpin or streamer through them. Small spinners and soft hackles can prove to be deal sealers now.  Run a small 18-20 soft hackle behind your dun pattern and this will, more often than not, be the fly they eat.  Get it while it's good guys! The white stuff is making a showing up high, so enjoy this beautiful fall while you can.

    St. Joe River

    The conditions are the same here as the Coeur d’Alene River, incredible stuff!  Basically, the fishing on the Joe right now is straight up killer.  The days are in the high 50’s and 60’s with pods of slurping fish, how can you beat it?  You’ll want to use the same bugs as the CdA, so blue wing olives, small caddis, mahoganies, October caddis.  A #10 or #8 orange stimulator skated across and down through the riffles will draw some explosive strikes.  Or, try a small x-caddis with a pheasant tail soft hackle in a size #18, another killer set up.  In the flats for the sippers, using a blue wing olive dun or thorax pattern in a #18 or #20 with an emerger dropper will do the trick.  Longer 12-foot leaders with a downstream presentation will sometimes be necessary to get these tricky guys. I like to use a fly called a "skinny nelson" for a dropper this time of year.  It is normally fished as a chronomid larvae, but it also passes for a blue wing olive emerger too.  If we get some overcast and rain soon, that will be a good thing. It will make the fish a little less picky and bolster the hatches a bit.  Good luck and have fun!

    Clark Fork River (MT)

    The fishing here is fantastic!  If you are floating now, pick a shorter float as the fishing isn't kicking off until around midday.  Take your time through the day, if you find rising fish, drop your anchor and stay a bit.  Or, do a "re row" and find a soft inside seam to row back upstream and hit that same section again.  This time of year, the Clark Fork River is pretty vacant of folks, so you may just have the river to yourself.  This can be one of my favorite rivers this time of year, big rainbows, browns, and cutthroat happily eating dry flies like it’s nobody's business. Mahoganies and blue wing olives will be the two main players, and these will be the most consistent hatches this time of year.  There are a few October caddis, but not tons. The afternoons are still warm enough to get a few hoppers flying around and beetles and ants too.  Swinging soft hackles early before the hatches start in the mornings will produce a few fish here and there but keep trying this throughout the day. The Clark Fork fish love a swung soft hackle.

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