Copyright 2017 James Marsh
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Fly Fishing The North Fork Coeur
d'Alene River Idaho
As compared to other Idaho cutthroat trout streams, the
North Fork Coeur d'Alene River is probably just as good
of a fishery as any of them, yet it's usually only fished
by locals. Years of abuse did take its toll on the river
but for the past several years, reparations have been in
progress and the stream is much improved from
damages down by timber cutting and mining. We have
several customers who fish this river regularly and
consider it among the best Idaho has to offer. Not many
streams are left un-damed with native cutthroat.
The river is small in its uppermost reaches and has
long, shallow riffles connected by deep runs and pools.
The average size cutthroat is probably 9 to 12 inches.
Of course, larger ones do exist. The trout are native
westslope cutthroats and there are plenty of them.
The upper section of the North Fork Coeur d'Alene
River is accessible from the 15 mile long National Coeur
d'Alene Recreational Trail. The stream is small and
mostly fast flowing, pocket water but the fish are
plentiful. This section starts just above Tepee Creek.
There are "catch-and-release" only sections located on
the North Fork above Yellowdog Creek and on the Little
North Fork above Laverne Creek. This includes
Yellowdog Creek and all the tributaries to the streams.
The Little North Fork tributary of The Coeur d' Alene
river also provides excellent fishing opportunities. The
special regulations sections open July 1 for fishing and
close November 30th. Access to the North Fork of The
Coeur d' Alene from road # 209 that runs along the
Dry fly fishing is usually excellent during most of the
season. The river, especially the lower elevations, has
a good population of mayflies including Blue-winged
Olives, Pale Morning Duns, Yellow Quills, Pale Evening
Duns, Western Green Drakes, Mahogany Duns, Tricos
and a few other less important ones.
There are plenty of stoneflies including Golden
Stoneflies, Winter Stoneflies and Little Yellow
Stoneflies. The Little Yellows are very plentiful at times.
We have also found a few Skwala stoneflies.
Caddisflies are also plentiful with Little Black Caddis,
Spotted Sedges, Short-horned Sedges and October
Caddis representing the major species. There are
several others but of far less importance.
Terrestrial imitations work well during the summer
months. Carpenter Ants, Japanese Beetles, and grass
hopper imitations are all effective. We have also found
flying ants during the month of September.
There are lots of sculpin and baitfish in the river and
streamers are among the most effective flies. Our
brown sculpin streamer has produced lots of trout from
Seasons follow the general Idaho fishing season but
are different in the special regulations areas. These are
subject to change so make certain you check the
current regulations and seasons.
After the runoff, fishing is usually good.
Summertime is the best time for fly fishing the North
Fork Coeur d'Alene River.
Fall, especially the early part of Fall, presents some
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Fishing Report January 19, 2017
(near bottom of the page)
North Fork Coeur d'Alene River Fishing
01/21/16 The river is just a little high right now. Notice we have added a USGS
real-time stream data link on your upper left.
01/28/16 The river is very high right now, flowing at 4100 plus cfs at 62 feet high. You
will have to give it some time to come back down to normal levels.
02/11/16 The flows are down to normal for this time of the year. The water is cold,
averaging only 36 degrees. The weather is going to be warmer this coming week.
02/25/16 The weather has been much warmer the past two weeks but it has melted a lot
of snow and iced in the watershed and is keeping the water temperature down in the low
thirties. It is also staining the stream to the point it is about 12 inches of visibility.
03/10/16 The river is blown out and will be a few days receding down to a level you could
fish with any opportunity to catch trout. .
03/17/16 The level is still very high but it is falling and should be back down to a good
level unless the weather pattern changes.
03/31/16 Good conditions exist right now, with March Browns, Blue-winged olives, Little
Brown Stoneflies, and Skwala Stoneflies hatching. Stream levels are down just above normal.
04/21/16 Stream level are in good condition for this time of the year and the water warming
up some. Hatches of stoneflies and mayflies are continuing and anglers are catching trout.
Runoff could begin this coming week, so check the levels.
05/05/16 The stream is in good shape with several hatches taking place. Blue-winged
olives, midges, Skwala, March Browns and the little Black Caddis, or the Mother's Day hatch
is about to begin.
05/19/16 The river is low enough anglers can wade just about anywhere. There are a lot of
hatching taking place and our customers are catching a lot of trout. Conditions are very good.
06/01/16 Excellent stream levels and flows exist at this time. There are several insects
hatching including Green Drakes, Little Yellow Stones, Golden Stoneflies, Pale Morning duns,
Spotted sedges and more. Send us an email and we will help you with fly selections
06/16/16 The stream levels and water condition is excellent. Our customers are sending in some
very good reports from the past two weeks. Golden Stoneflies, Little Yellow stoneflies, Green
Drakes, Pale Morning Duns, Spotted Sedges, Green Sedges (both caddisflies) are hatching
good. Dry fly fishing has been very good.
06/23/16 The stream levels are still in good shape. There are several hatches taking place and
our customers are reporting some good catches. The weather forecast looks good as well..
06/30/16 Two good reports were received from customers. Lots of trout caught and mostly on
Pale Morning duns, spinner falls early morning, nymphs in mid morning, and duns during mid
07/07/16 The river is still in very good shape. The weather is turning cooler and this may slow
some hatches down but you should still have plenty of activity and catch plenty trout.
07/21/16 Good stream levels still exist and our customers are sending in some good reports.
There are still some Golden stoneflies, some Green drakes but lots of little Yellow stoneflies,
Pale Morning duns, Spotted and Green Sedge caddis and other insects hatching.
07/28/16 More good reports are coming in. The hatches are slowing down some and the water
a little low in places, but there are still a lot of trout being caught.
08/04/16 The water level is low but the much cooler air temperatures is helping the overall
situation and keeping the water temp down. There are lots of PMDs and caddisflies.
08/11/16 Our customers are sending in some very good reports. They are catching trout and a
lot of them from the surface. Pale Morning Duns, Spotted sedges, Green sedges, Little Sister
caddis, Tricos and other insects are hatching. Fish the last two hours of the day for the best
action. Egg laying caddis and some little Yellow stoneflies account for the action.
08/18/16 The stream is low and clear. Terrestrials such as ants and beetles are working. There
are some very small Blue-winged olives, size 20, hatching. There's few PMDs left and two
species of caddis. Trico spinner falls are taking place in the late mornings and hatches later.
08/25/16 The river is still low and clear. Little BWOs, Tricos, Mahogany duns, spotted sedges
and little sister caddis are hatching. Our customers are reporting good catches.
09/15/16 The water is a little low and clear but our customers are reporting some good
catches. Mahogany duns, Blue-winged olives, Tricos, spotted sedges and soon to be,
09/22/16 October Caddis are hatching along with several other insects. We received two
good reports this past week. Stream levels are currently in good shape as well.
10/06/16 Excellent conditions exist in all sections of the river. Anglers are catching lots of
cutthroat trout. October Caddis, Mahogany duns and Blue-winged olives are hatching good.
The Brown sculpin streamer is catching them early and late in the day.
10/20/16 The stream levels continue to be very high, not worth fishing. There is more rain in
the forecast. The weather is staying warm, but you will have to wait for it to drop.
11/03/16 Stream levels are very high, flowing at 3310 cfs. You will just have to water the
USGS data and wait for the levels to drop.
11/17/16 The river level is very high, flowing at 2910 cfs, at 61.00 feet. What the levels and fish
when it gets back down. Cream and Red midges will be the best fly options.
11/24/16 Stream levels are still too high to fish.
12/01/16 Stream levels are still high but it is possible to fish it from a drift boat. The water is
cold and Midges, creams and reds, would be the best fly option. Sculpin streamers will also
12/08/16 Stream levels are down to just above normal levels. Snow is forecast everyday for the
coming week. The weather won't exceed freezing anytime this coming week. The water
temperature is in the mid to high thirties.
12/22/16 Lots of slush ice and bank snow and ice. The water is just barely above freezing. It
isn't worth fishing and may be a while before warming up any.
01/19/17 The river has finally gotten down and warm enough to provide some midge fishing
opportunity. Cream and Red (blood) midges are hatching along with some Winter stoneflies.
Fish the midge larva and pupa in tandem.