NF CDA - Is still fishing very well. I access the river from Wallace via 9 mile canyon/Dobson’s Pass. From The 6th & Cedar Coffee Shop across the street from shop you just turn left and 20 minutes later I am in Prichard. I almost always turn right and head upstream. Lately the fishing has been better and it is less crowded. I fished a few evening this week, both above and below Prichard. Each night around 7:00 PM a prolific Stonefly hatch came off. I did land a few of some of the larger fish I’ve gotten this year. But not as many as I thought with the hatch that was occurring. There weren’t many fish rising. I took almost all of mine with a half drowned Kings CDC Golden #10 in the seam of longer, deeper runs. I think the fish are gorging themselves on stonefly nymphs in the late afternoon. Nymphing a two rig system deep through these deep runs and pools could produce some epic fish. I’d suggest large #8 Pats, Kyles Golden Stone, Gallup Warbirds or a Double “B” Black Stones.
If you have not been up to the NF CDA lately you should get up there. I fished both Sunday and Monday. Both days were good from start to finish. On Sunday I fished just below Lost Creek. If your crossing the river watch your step it is slippery. I know this from personal experience. Fish were actively rising throughout the late afternoon til dusk. Butthead Purples and Olives #10-12 were working very well as were varies stonefly patterns. Drake’s and PMDs were hatching but they were keying on stoneflies. Line control is also very important. I had about a half dozen fish in a row that when hooked turned and ran right at me. Since I was barbless I lost a few. Monday I headed up to the confluence for the entire day. Again fishing was good from start to finish. The hatches were a little scarce. Small Yellow Sallies were coming off. A basic #18 Yellow Sally did the trick. But like the day before they were keying on stoneflies #10-#12. Look for fish holding in deeper pools and runs. Cast up and over to the riffles above and drift it into the pool. It seems to take 3 fish hookups to quite the pool. You will probably get more strikes with a half submerged stonefly, rather than one riding high. The fishing should remain good for the next few weeks. Thunderstorms on Thursday, then warmer, sunnier weather moves in for the next week. Looks like summer is here.
Prichard 265 CFS, Catalonia 1,080 CFS
Little Yellow Sallies
Kings CDC Stonefly
Henry Fork SpGolden
Norm Wood Special
Rogue River Golden
Wilsons Little Golden
Chubby Chernobyl Black
Butthead Purple and Olive
Swishers PMX #16
Down Wing Drake
Current Flows - Prichard 317, Cataldo 1,240
If you have not been up to the NF CDA recently you are missing some pretty good fishing. Our shop is right off of I-90. There is not a day that goes by that someone comes in the shop and asks if the river are fishable because of high flows. If they are heading west from Missoula they pass over the Clark Fork numerous times seeing only a dirty river with high water. Or if they are traveling west from CDA they might still see that the SF of the CDA is still running a little high as well. So they make the natural assumption that that the NF CDA must be high as well. Nothing could be further from the truth. The NF CDA had its major runoff over a month ago. Since that time the river rivers flows have slowly come down and are stabilizing. We should see flows of 300ish for the next little while. This has made the river very wadeable, given access via wading to gravel bars, islands and the the "other" side of the river. Basically it has shrunk the river and concentrated the fish to deeper pools, tail outs, cut banks and pocket water. Right now we are seeing good action on Green Drakes and Golden Stone patterns. You will also see PMD's and Yellow Sallies throughout the day and a good Caddis hatch toward evening. If the weather is warm you will also encounter tubers and rafters below Prichard. But if you head up river the herd thins out and you will find some solitude along with some hungry North Slope Cutthroats. A drake or golden stone pattern drift through the ripples into a deep pool will almost always produce a strike. A soft hackle pattern like a down wing Green Drake swung can also be very effective. I have also found that a half drowned Golden Stone fly works much better than a Golden riding high in the water, so go sparingly on the floatant. For the weekend we can expect cooler and cloudy weather and possible rain with temps moving into the 80's by the end of next week.
CDC Kings Golden Stone - this has been my top performing fly
Butthead Purple and Butthead Olive
Norm Wood Special
Sedgehammer Hares Ear
Green Drake Fripple
Larson's Legend Stone
Galloup Tilt Wing Olive
Or just stop by the shop and I'll show you.
NF CDA Flows - Cataldo 3,410 CFS, Prichard 700 CFS water temp 56 degrees
I was up in the NF CDA twice late last week and fished several spot up and down the river. Some fished well while other I came up short. I've been fishing streamers a lot and have had good success swinging smaller green and grey articulating streamer like a Heisenberg, or a Masked Avenger and stripping them slowly up the bank. Stones, Brown Drakes, PMDs and Yellow Sallies have been out on most days. Try applying a minimum of floatant and present your stonefly half sunk. They seem to key on half drowned stones. The weather will cool down this week and flows will be going down a little slower. We should start to see Green Drakes any day now. We have a good supply and variety of GD's in stock.
Chubby Golden Chubbies
Norm Wood Special
Butt Head Purple
Evans Foam Baby Tan
Goulds Western Lady
Skull Head Super Tinsel
Kicking Kling Mahogany
If you are looking for a guided trip on the North Fork give me a call at the shop for available dates, 208-556-1857.
Current River Flows;
NF Coeur d'Alene Shoshone Creek - 2,190 CFS, Cataldo 8,260 CFS Water Temp 48
St Joe 12,900 CFS
Clark Fork St Regis, MT 51,100 CFS BIG WATER!
Almost everywhere you go in Northern Idaho or Montana you will experience heavy runoff. Except on the NF of the CDA. We fished it Wed. and found the higher up you went in the the basin of the NF CDA the water became clearer and the flows were very manageable. You will have have to pick your spots and be patients, but your patience will pay off. We arrived at about 11:00 AM and until 1:00 PM we experienced a buffet of hatches. We saw Stones, Skawalla, March Browns, Caddis, and a few Salmon Flies. What we did not see were any risers. We had success on large stones fly nymphs, i.e. Pats, Gallop Warbirds and The Fly Formerly Known as Prince. But we caught the largest fish on streamers. Smaller articulating stream such as Mini Sex Dungeons, Heisenbergs, and Masked Avengers worked best. I started with brighter streams, oranges, yellows and purples because the the water is still a little cloudy and did not have much success. But when I switched over to grays and greens the action picked up. The fish we caught all looked very healthy, but with the water temp at 48 degrees the takes were very soft. If you are dead drifting on the swing keep your line tight or you could miss some hits.
The Joe won't be fishing for a while. But the NF of the Joe could be an option. Moon Pass from Wallace to Avery is now open. This tributary is fed by lower elevation snow and should be fishable.
The Clark Fork is blown out at 51,100 CFS and with the every stream and tributary emptying into it from Butte it could be a while.
That said, unless you are willing to travel to The "MO" or SE Idaho for the SF of the Snake or Henry Fork you will be hard pressed to find a fishable stream, EXCEPT the NF of the CDA. Stop by the shop to get a full run down on Flies or better yet book a guided trip to the NF of the CDA we have openings! The shop is now open Wed-Sun.
A high pressure system moved over western Montana and the Idaho Pan Handle in mid March. This produced about 5 days of sunny, calm weather with temps in the 40's-50's. In the Idaho Pan Handle we receive a lot of snow over the winter months. Currently at Lookout Pass which is located on the Idaho/Montana border they have received 450+' of snow so far this year. The snow also makes it hard to get around and fish. So when this high pressure system moved in I took advantage of it and headed over to Rock Creek just east of Missoula, Montana. As a shop owner and guide I am always right in the middle of fly fishing but I don't get to fish that often during our prime months. When I am out guiding I am usually on the oars on the Clark Fork River in Western Montana. Primarily my job is to choose the right fly, place the boat in the right spot and maintain a perfect drift without disturbing the fish. I look at this as fishing, except I don't have the rod in my hand and I cant set the hook. when I am in the shop I meet a lot of passionate anglers and we talk fly fishing. But it is not fly fishing. Its like dipping your foot in the pool on a hot day but you going for a swim. So the spring and fall are my season to get out.
I love exploring and finding new rivers to fish. Rock Creek wasn't lost, I had just never been there. I've driven by it a dozen times on the way to Bozeman or Island Park to fish other streams. Every time I said I'd stop on the way back and fish it for a few hours. But I never did. But with sunny skies and a clear roads I headed east. From Wallace, Idaho it is a 2.5 hour drive. Along the way I-90 crosses over the Clark Fork River 17 times. Seeing the river that often starts to pull me toward the Clark Fork and away from my objective, Rock Creek. So I tell myself I'll stop on the way back (and I do!).
This wasn't my fist time out this spring. The two days prior to heading to Rock Creek I fished my home waters the NF and SF of the Coeur d Alene River. These two rivers have become very familiar to me, I knew exactly where I was going to fish and what I was going to use to catch those fish. It takes some time to figure out a river, getting to know its nuances and moods. As a guide you need to know these things, your clients want to catch fish. Rock Creek offered the exact opposite and that is what I needed. It is spring and time to explore and learn new things. I didn't read any reports or look at a hatch chart. At the shop I had just received a shipment of maps for the area and purposely left the Rock Creek map at home. I wanted my eyes to be wide open when I saw the river for the first time. Since I wasn't really sure what type of fishing I would do when I got there I took only one rod, my go to rod, my Burkheimer 590- Standard Classic. It's my go to rod because I can throw big and small dries, streamers and heavy nymph rigs. The quicker tip action can handle all of those situations. The day or the rod did not disappoint. It was cool when I arrived and snow still lined the road and limited access. When I got to the water I was alone, not another angler in site. This is another advantage to fishing in the spring and fall. For the first 10 minute I just sat on the bank and watched the water while I drank my coffee. I think, no I know, to many people arrive at the river and don't take that moment to watch and observe the river. They just jump on in and start casting. Back at the shop I meet these same type of people, they just want a dozen flies "that work". They don't ask what is working or why those flies are working or what they are imitating. Before selecting the dozen flies I ask them questions, where are you going, what time of day will you be fishing, and what type of fly fishing will you be doing. When I select the flies I explain what the fly is imitating, when it should be fished and why and how it should be presented. My hope is that this information can be a base as they become better anglers. I truly believe there is no substitution to just getting out on the water and figuring it out. Once you catch a fish and if you want to catch more you better ask yourself, "how did that just happen" and apply it in the future. It's not just about selecting the right fly, so much more goes into it. There is the wind, clouds, sun, air and water temperature to start. How deep is the water what is the current doing and do I see any fish rising. But most important is what the fishing are eating, nymphs, sculpins, emergers etc.. All of this information can be gathered while sitting on the bank having coffee. This is one of my favorite parts of going to a new river, I get to figure it out myself. So I sat there and watched and observed and repeated this a dozen times throughout the day. Sometimes I determined a streamer was right and in another sections it was nymphs. I didn't see any risers, but I did tie on a big skwala just to watch it drift and hope a fish would rise. Through the day my Burkie handle each situation with ease.
It was a good day. I only fished the lower sections and had some success and learned a few thing. I've been doing this for over 30 years and nothing gets my juices flowing like fishing new water. So I say, get out there, explore, don't ask questions or come armed with the latest fishing report, just go do it.
A nice high pressure system moved in and it produced some spectacular days of fishing. On Saturday I drove up the NF CDA river as far as the road allowed me to go, Kit Price Campground. The road was a little thick in the shaded portions but melted where the sun is hitting it. The photo above was taken at the entrance to Kit Price CG. In the higher elevations there is still a lot of snow. But even with all that snow I still saw a lot of variety of bug activity, but no rising fish. Midges were out after 11:00 until 3:00, March Browns and even a caddis or 2 made an appearance. I used a large, beaded hares ear to imitate a March Brown and that did the trick. But for 80% of the time I streamer fished. While I did not get a large number of fish, I did catch some large, fat, healthy Cutts in the 15-18' range. The water is very clear right now so you can do some site fishing. Look for deep holes of slack water on the edge of currents or where tributaries are entering the water. I used a very slow retrieve or just held the fly in the current and flicked the tip of the rod to give it some movement. This produced a few attacks and hook ups. I had success on #4 Lil' Kim, #6 Mini Sex Dungeon, #6 Black Bead Head Wooley Bugger and #4 Complex Twist. The water temps was between 38 and 42 degrees so these fish are still going to be sluggish.
On Monday my buddy Keith from the 1313 Club in Wallace joined me on an afternoon trip to the SF CDA. It was sunny, warm with air temps in the 50's and water temps right at 40 degrees. Just like on Saturday the fish were in the deep runs and holes. Streamers worked best with a slow retrieve.
Over the next week a series of small weather disturbances will be moving through the area. If we don't get to much rain and temps are in the 40-50's we could start to see some BWO's and Skawalas.
The shop is currently closed and will open in late April. We are OPEN for guiding though. If you are interested in a trip call me at 714-222-4852.
North Fork of the Coeur d Alene River
Flows, Prichard 308 CFS 1200 Cataldo
Water Temps - I took temps from Bumble Bee bridge to Devils Elbow, a consistent 38 degrees.
The river is looking good, slow flows and gin clear water. I took the streamer rod out and had a good day. The fish are healthy and fat with some strong fall colors. I headed up to Devils Elbow and had some good fishing through the slow deep holes. Casting across and slowly stripping so it can sink seemed to be the ticket. In one hole I had to fish from a high bank, but it made for some incredible site fishing. It was amazing how many attacks I saw of the fly but just kind of felt it in the line. A good tip sinking line is essential to getting the fly down in front of the trout. At 38 degrees these fish are not going to move very far for a meal. Complex Twist Tan/Orange, Mini Dungeon's Black/Purple and Sparkle Minnows did well.
End of Year Sale going on now $1.25 for ALL Dry Flies and Nymphs. Most items in the shop 20-50% off.
The shop is open Friday and Saturday 11:00 - 5:00 PM Friday and Saturday through Dec. 23rd. Then we are closing for the winter and re-opening in April.
I just finished up 2 days of guiding on the Clark River in the St. Regis area. On Thursday we floated the from Forestgrove to Superior and On Friday we floated from Dry Creek to St. Regis. Both days were had unsettled, overcast weather, but Friday temps were about 5 degrees colder. Fishing was fairly slow in the morning and early afternoon. Basic attractors such as Trudes, Royal Wulffs, Grumpy Frumpy's were bringing up the occasional fish. We also had success on a brassie dropper. But, at about 2:00-2:30 the hatch light came. PMD's, BWO, Mahogany's and the occasional Grey Drake came out. Friday on the lower river was much more active. We were in the canyon section below Sloway when the hatch started. They were pretty much rising all across the river. Mahogany Parachute and Galloup Tilt Wing Olives in #14 worked well. The hatch went on for the next 3 hours until we took off at 5:30. On Friday we probably boated 20+ fish.
If I was going up with some buddies this weekend I'd probably sleep in have a nice early lunch and put in at noon and fish one of the shorter sections. Sloway to St. Regis or maybe Dry Creek to Sloway.
The weather is going to turn warmer next week. With the cool water temps in the low 50's and air temps in the 70's it could be shaping up for a great week on the Clark. If your interested in a guided trip give us a call at 208-556-1857. We have few openings.
Flows - 3,160 CFS, Water Temp 50 degrees
Hatches - BWO's PMD's Mahogany's occasional Gray Drake
Basic PMD #14-16
Parachute PMD #14-16
Galloup Tilt Wing Olive
Galloup Tilt Wing Mahogany
Parachute Adams - Everyones favorite
Grumpy Frumpy Green and Yellow
Trude and Lime Trude
Thanks for reading the report. If you found the report useful or just entertaining support our shop! We are the oldest fly shop in Historic Wallace Idaho!
I just spent the last 5 days fishing and camping on the North Fork of the Coeur d Alene River. Hands down this was the best fishing I've had all year. While in the summer you will find smaller cutts in the 10"-12"range. The majority (80%) of the fish I caught were in the 16"-18" range the largest was 21". All the fish were fat and stocky with bright fall colors. If you've thought the season is winding down, you are wrong. I stayed at Devils Elbow Campground from Sunday Night till Saturday morning. During that time there were only 2 other campers and they just stayed for single nights. I had the whole campsite and the water in front of it to myself.
During the warmer, sunnier days hoppers ruled! Large tan or tan and yellow belly hoppers worked best. Look for the longer deeper pools or up against downed logs. Hoppers usually worked mid morning to mid afternoon. There was also a fairly regular caddis hatch from early afternoon to late afternoon. The hatches were not huge but they did keep the fish rising at a steady regular pace. When this happens take a step back and watch. You will notice that all rising trout are not created equal. Instead of just jumping in try targeting the larger fish. In the mornings nymphing worked well with basic Brassies and Copper Johns. Bu the real fun was throwing large streamers in the morning and early evening. The water is so clear right now you can track your fly the whole way and see the explosive hits. The river is the healthiest I've seen all year. The flows are low, but it concentrates the fish. The water is also gin clear and cool. The trout are very active.
Besides the caddis hatch, Blue Wing Olives and Mahogany's were also making an appearance. With the unsettled weather moving in next week the BWO's and Mahogany's will really start to pop. I'll be guiding on the Clark Fork twice this week. I will post a first hand repot later this week.
NF CDA Flows - 76 CFS Prichard, 340 Cataldo Water temp 58 degrees
Hatches - Hoppers, Caddis, BWOs and Mahogany's just starting
Hoppers! Tan or Gray #8-#10 We have a lot!
Tan Elk Hair Caddis
Hares Ear Sledgehammer Caddis
Ovulating Caddis - Swing It!
Carlo's Copper Haze
Galloup tilt wing Mahogany
SF Chernobyl Ant (small)
Galloup Mini Sex Dungion
Complex Twist, tan and fall orange
Big Horn Circus Peanut
Cheech Leech, Halloween and fall orange