Sandpoint/Ponderay Fishing Report

North Idaho is a bass fisherman’s paradise, with lots of options for smallmouth and largemouth on large waters, like Lake Pend Orielle, and on smallish, “secret” ponds sprinkled through the area. The area offers great options for trout, too, with two great waters draining out of Montana and into Idaho, those being the Kootenai and Clark Fork rivers. In addition, small stream fishing here can bring big surprises, including chances to catch 10-pound plus trout. If you’re looking for variety, north Idaho brings it.
  • Fishing Report Sandpoint Ponderay

    Clark Fork River (ID)

    Recently, flows out of Cabinet Gorge Dam have been bouncing between 4,000 to 35,000 cubic feet per second. Water clarity is anywhere from 7 to 9-feet. The best time to walk/wade the river is when flows are between 4,000-15,000 cfs.

    Fishing has been best in the mornings and the evenings. You can still catch fish at midday. The trout just seem to be more sluggish. Caddis, pmds, western yellow mayflies, rusty spinners, hoppers, ants, and beetles are all a part of the trout’s diet. You can match-the-hatch with various flies, and if that doesn’t work, throw stimulators. Flies like a #10 purple chubby chernobyl, a #14 purple rocky mountain mint, a #14 Royal Wulff, and a #10 olive pmx will draw a rise. Plus, swinging streamers like a #8 olive balanced leech and a #6 Montana mini intruder with hook large fish too.

    Lake Pend Oreille

    The water temperature is between 73-78°F, and the clarity is between 9 to 10-feet. Ski boats take to the lake roughly from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., so if want to avoid the waves, plan accordingly. You will find the most boat traffic near Ellisport Bay, City Beach, and Dover.

    The pike fishing has been hit or miss. Not many fishermen are out chasing them at this time, but the ones that are, seem to be finding a couple. Last I heard, Denton slough is still fishable from a boat, but it will be choked out with weeds shortly. Using flies like a red jackknife or chartreuse pike slider will do the trick.

    Bass fishing has been excellent. Most of the bass are plump and hungry for more. Concentrate your time over points with 8 to 15-feet of water. Any kind of shade is good shade. Wooden docks have been producing more bass than metal docks. You’ll want to use fast sinking line to reach the bass. Flies like purple bushwacker, chartreuse clouser, and a blue deceiver are great options to use. Poppers have been fun in the mornings and in the evenings when the lake is calm. When throwing poppers, you will want to use a floating line.

    Lake Cocolalla

    The water temperature is currently between 73-79°F, and the clarity is around 3 to 4-feet. If you wish to chase trout, get on the water at daybreak. You’ll want to fish with intermediate, type II or III fly line to reach the correct water column. Flies like a #10 olive woolly bugger, a #10 black woolly bugger, a #10 black booby, and a #8 rust slump busty have been producing. Fish the flats, points, and drop-offs to find the trout.

    Most of the largemouth bass are under docks, lily pads, and fallen trees. Weedless poppers work well over pads and bluegill bushwackers kill it along weed lines. The smallmouth will be a little deeper along drop-offs.

    Kootenai River

    The flows out of Libby Dam are just above 9,000 cfs. Clarity is perfect, and the water temps are around 54°F. Air quality is extremely smoky near Troy, Montana. Fish food includes; caddis, pmds, rusty spinners, hoppers, ants, beetles, and crane flies. You can match-the-hatch or throw stimulators like a #10 pink J Slam, a #10 purple chubby chernobyl, a #10 red hippie stomper, or a #14 purple parachute. Nymphing usually produces fish when nothing else does. You’ll want to clamp on a couple of split shots and try a #8 Pat’s rubberlegs, a #16 lightning bug, or a #14 red copper John. Also, streamers are always a good choice. You’ll want to throw a dolly llama, a sparkle minnow, or a double gonga through the deep runs.

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