Sandpoint/Ponderay Fishing Report
December 27, 2017
Now that old man winter has officially arrived, there won’t be much change in the fishing until spring arrives. For that reason, this will be my final fishing report until the weather warms and the bugs start hatching in February or March.
Clark Fork River ID
Currently flows are bouncing between 6,000 and 28,000 cubic feet per second, once or twice a day. I would expect this to be an everyday occurrence. This year (2017), we had a push of runoff in mid-to late March. This could happen again in 2018, but it is too early to tell. Once the mountains start puking chocolate milk, flows will hold steady at anywhere from 30,000 to 60,000 cfs. The fishing will remain slow/fair until we see warmer weather. When I fish this river in winter, I hope to catch one or two trout over the period of a few hours. The only hatch we’ll see is the occasional midge hatch mid-afternoon on a day above freezing. Streamers and nymphs will be the name of the game for the next few months. My go-to streamers for this river, no matter the time of year, are a #6 olive Woolly Bugger, a #6 Montana Mini Intruder, and a rust Baby Gonga. To fish streamers successfully, swing low and swing slow. Be sure to grab a couple five or 10-foot fast-sinking sink-tips before you hit the river. If you fancy yourself a nympher, tie on a double nymph rig with a split shot or two, six inches above your first fly. Try a #12 BH Rubberleg Prince, a #14 red Copper John, a #16 purple Lightning Bug, and a #20 silver Tufted Zebra Midge.
Flows are jumping from 20,000 to 25,000 cfs every other day. Be sure to always check the flows out of the Libby Dam before you hit the river. The flows are greatly influenced by the sturgeon in the river, and what they require to maintain a healthy life. Like most rivers, streamers and nymphs will be your best bet during winter. However, this river does get a great midge hatch that would allow a short window of dry-fly fishing. The hatches can occur anytime throughout winter, and are usually on a day above freezing. A #20 Hatching Midge or a #18 Griffiths Gnat will do the trick. Nymphing will likely be the most successful way to fish. Rig a double nymph rig with a split shot or two about six inches above your first fly. Try flies like a #8 purple Pat’s Rubberlegs, a #14 Tung Jig Yellow Spot, a #16 olive Guide’s Choice Hare’s Ear, a #18 gray UV2 Mayfly Nymph, and a #22 red Disco Midge. If you want to chase once in a lifetime rainbows, strip anything big and white. A#2 white Galloup’s Butt Monkey, a #2 white Circus Peanut, or a #6 silver Sparkle Minnow are all great flies that catch lots of monster trout on this river.
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North 40 Sandpoint/Ponderay; 477181 N. Highway 95; Ponderay, ID 83852; (208) 255-5757