Thursday, February 02, 2023

River fishing could be short-lived

| June 24, 2010 9:00 PM

River fishing season could be short-lived this year, so even though a rainy June has caused the Coeur d'Alene River to run fast and high for now, anglers should still get out there while they can.

They'll have to go high up, to Tepee Creek, up by the McGee ranger station, or above Independence, but it'll be worth it, said Brad Zierer, of Black Sheep Sporting Goods.

"It's going to be shorter season more than anything," he said. "So get out there while you can."

That's because there isn't any snow stuck up in the mountains to melt off gradually through the summer. So once the rain ends, the river should drop too low for anglers to reap the harvest of too much fall hatch.

It's feast or famine, so get out there while you can, he said.

Hatches and flies will depend on where you go, but last week parachute adams or caddis patterns did the trick.

And there's always small mouth bass fishing on Hayden Lake. Near English Point they're chasing Senko worms, or plastic lizards 5 to 8 inches in length are working there 20 feet from shore.


"We've had a lot of recent rain, short term it's kind of a bummer, but in the long run, it's kind of a good thing," said Pat Way of Orvis Northwest Outfitters in Coeur d'Alene. "If you'd asked me a few months ago if the flows would be above normal levels now, I would have said you were crazy."

Way said before the rain, the Coeur d'Alene River had been fishing well.

"We've got lots of PMDs, green drakes and a few golden stoneflies," Way said. "With the water dropping, I think that the Coeur d'Alene is going to give up some fish soon."

The St. Joe is going to drop, he said. Tuesday morning it was up to 6,000 CFS at Calder.

"What that means is, it's going to be really tricky wading wherever you go," Way said.

"It's going to drop as quick as it came up."

Area lakes are fishing well, Way said. Smallmouth fishing on Coeur d'Alene and Hayden lakes has been very good.


Fishermen have their choice on Lake Coeur d'Alene.

Smallmouth bass are biting pretty well there, said Jordan Smith of Fins and Feathers Tackle Shop and Guide Service, who suggested using tube jigs.

"They're probably?around 10 to 15 feet (depths)," Jordan estimated, adding that the smallmouth range from 7 to 20 inches.

Northern pike are also plentiful in the lake these days, he added, most chomping on spinnerbaits.

Kokanee salmon is also getting snagged on the lake with wedding rings, he said.

Fernan Lake is good for trout and crappie fishing, Smith added.

Trout can be snagged from the shore with worms and a marshmallow, he said. Those in a boat should troll with wedding rings.

Any kind of crappie jig should suffice for catching crappie, Smith said.

Cutthroat trout are popular on the Coeur d'Alene River right now, he said.

Fly fishermen should try a dry fly like a Simulator, he suggested.

Those just casting can use any small spinner like a Rooster Tail.

St. Joe and Coeur d'Alene rivers

The rivers have been fluctuating greatly over the last few weeks, said Mark Roush of ROW Adventures in Coeur d'Alene.

"It looks as though we should have some more consistent weather and, in turn, should improve the quality of fishing," Roush said. "Be sure to pack plenty of PMDs, parachute adams and green drakes in a variety of sizes."

Also, be ready any day for the terrestrials to start showing up, he said.

The large cutthroat love nothing more than feasting on an over-sized hopper.

Nymphing is still very effective and look for fish to take mid-sized princes, copper johns and olive-bodied wooly buggers.

Area lakes

The crappie, bluegill and perch bite is still on at Hayden and Fernan, Roush said.

Fishermen are also pulling some really nice large and smallmouth bass out of Hauser, Hayden and the Chain Lakes.

Crankbaits are starting to be used more frequently and senko worms are also always a popular choice for bass.

Try pulling Firetiger Husky Jerks for pike in the Chain Lakes. Large, colorful spinnerbaits are also getting some looks from pike on Hayden Lake.

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