A chance of sunny skies and cutthroat.
Ahhhh yes, the traditional jumping off point for most anglers looking to hit moving water. Memorial Weekend is a classic turning point for outdoor enthusiast, a promise of warmer weather, camping, dropping river levels, insect hatches, and yes sunshine. Hopefully. All of these are looking pretty optimistic for the upcoming weekend. Temps around 80 degrees +/- and light winds. Sounds pretty legit to me.
While the Spokane River is still closed for a few more days we are very fortunate to have our nearby streams like the NF Coeur d'Alene and St. Joe as year round options. For ten years straight I camped up the NF Coeur d'Alene River drainage on Memorial Day Weekend and every one of those years the river was always in shape to fish. Some years more volume than others, but always fishable and cutthroat were always looking up. This year looks to be like a classic Memorial Day Weekend with average water levels and the potential of salmonflies, yellow sallies, drakes, ants, and even a few straggler insects like skwalla stones, March Browns, and gray drakes buzzing the skies. This is the time of the year the pale morning dun mayflies and golden stones really kick off so don't leave home without 'em.
Jennifer and I wandered up the St. Joe last Sunday all the way to the end of the road, or what is currently the end of the road at about mile marker 5 before Red Ives Rangers Station and Spruce Tree CG. According to the Idaho Forest Service Website the last few miles there is shutdown to traffic while culverts and the road get repaired from washouts this spring. No official word when that will re-open. No worries though we have 75 plus more miles of river that is available to fish! We fished different pockets up there from the road and most all of them had at least one or two fish willing to eat a big 'ol stonefly off the surface. Anglers headed to the St. Joe to foot fish will have options, just limited options. As levels drop those fishable nooks and crannies will open more and more. The more you are willing to scramble a bank the more water cutthroat will be at your mercy. If you got a boat the levels are great to float and that will open up much more water.
he St. Joe has a mix of bugs hatching right now too. Salmon flies, golden golden stones, and yellow sallies are all top hatches. PMD's, flavs, and brown drakes are about and big flying ants to round out the mix. This time of the year can be great streamer fishing on either of these rivers. My preference for streamer flavors this time of the year is flashy, olive, or white. Yes that is pretty vague, but there are many patterns that can work. If you haven't seen out meat locker fly display you should swing by, soooo many streamers and patterns available at the store!
Other options for the weekend? Anywhere that involves water and fish is a winner.
Have a great Memorial Day Weekend from all of us at the Silver Bow Fly Shop,
- Sean Visintainer