Copyright 2018 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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you decide which flies you need.
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Fishing Report July 15, 2018
(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.
02/09/17 The river has turned out some trout but it is on the rise and there's a flood warning
through Saturday. It will take a few days for the water to clear back up.
02/16/17 The levels were falling back down but started back up again yesterday. You will just
have to watch the levels.
02/23/17 The river is flowing at about 6000 cfs and normal is about 1500 cfs. It is falling and
won't be long before getting back down.
03/11/17 The stream levels are still very high. You will have to check back with us and view the
stream levels to determine the best time to fish.
03/23/17 The river is still very high and badly stained. This is going to take a few more days to
clear up. Check back with us and check the stream levels.
04/07/17 the levels are still high but getting into much better shape with clearer water. It should
be in good enough shape to fish very soon.
04/27/17 The flows are at 7570 cfs at 64.34 ft. Normal for this time of the year is about 5030.
Check back with us. It is dropping.
05/18/17 The flows are down to 3630 cfs, which is below normal for this time of the year but
still a little too high to wade most places. Stoneflies, Blue-winged olives, March Browns and
little Black Caddis are hatching.
06/15/17 The flows are at 884 cfs at 58.87 ft. These are very good stream levels. The water is
clear and there are a lot of insects hatching. Conditions are very good.
06/29/17 The river is in very good shape, running a little low and clear. There are lots of insects
hatching including PMDs, BWOs, spotted and Green Sedges or caddisflies, Little yellow
stoneflies, Green drakes and others.
07/06/17 More good reports from customers from the past week. Lots of insects are still hatching
and terrestrials are also becoming important.
07/20/17 Stream levels are down a little below normal making wading easy and safe most
places. There are still a lot of hatches taking place and we are continuing to get good reports
07/27/17 The stream levels are still a little below normal. We received two good reports from
customers this past week. Lots of PMDs, spotted and Green Sedge caddis, Little Yellow stones
and many more. Terrestrials are starting to work as well.
08/03/17 The river continues to be in excellent condition flowing just a little low but making
wading safe and easy. Both wading and drift boat anglers are catching lots of trout.
08/31/17 Excellent conditions continue. We received three good reports from customers fishing
the past two weeks. Lots of hatches are still taking place. Terrestrials are working too but don't
use them when something is hatching, or you will reduce your odd of success.
09/07/17 Sorry for the missed reports. It wasn't because fishing wasn't good. It has been and
still is great, with low water levels right now, but easy to wade. There are still some good
hatches and terrestrials are also working good. We are getting good reports from customers.
09/28/17 The stream levels are normal and wading safe and easy many places. There are a lot
of trout being caught. Conditions are very good with Mahogany duns, Dark Red quills, BWOs,
October caddis and other insects hatching.
10/19/17 Stream levels are in good shape and lots of trout are being caught. We received two
good reports from customers fishing this past week. This coming week should be good. There
are lots of Blue-winged olives, Mahogany duns, October caddis and Cream and Red midges
10/27/17 Conditions remain good, with good stream levels and some good BWO hatches. There
are still a few October caddis on the lower river.
12/02/17 The river is still a little higher than normal but falling. Fish the lower section of the
river. Midges are the only insects hatching. - Creams and Reds. Fish the larva and pupa
riigged in tandem for the best resutts.
01/26/18 The stream has been high a lot but better stream levels recently. Midges, creams
and Reds or blood midges, and Winter stoneflies are hatching good. Most all of the slush ice is
gone and the water about 35-37 degrees.
02/09/18 The river is back up and the levels too high and the water too stained for good
03/16/18 The river is flowing clear at a normal level. There are lots of cream and light green
midges hatching along with lots of Skwala stoneflies.
04/06/18 Runoff has started apparently. Stream levels are too high to fish. All you can do is to
check back with us.
04/29/18 The flows are at 8390 cfs at 65.05 ft. That is still very high. Check back with us. We
will keep you informed as to the status.
05/06/18 The flows are higher, at 11,800 cfs at 66.82 ft. This is blown out and from runoff.
Check back with us.
05/27/18 The stream levels are way down, a little below normal levels. It is too high to wade in
many sections but okay in some. There are some good hatches taking place. Send us an
email for a recommended fly list.
06/10/18 Stream levels are down and good numbers of trout being caught. There are lots of
hatches including Golden stones, PMDs, Green drake, Brown drakes, BWOs and Spotted and
Green sedge caddis. Send us an email for a fly list.
06/24/18 Stream levels are still down below normal, wading safe and easy with caution, with
lots of trout being caught. There are multiple hatches taking place. Send us and email and we
will help you with fly and gear selection.
07/01/18 Lots of trout are being caught. There's lots of hatching insects. We continue to get
good reports from the river.
07/15/18 Conditions remain very good with good hatches and stream levels. Good numbers of
trout are being caught.