Memorial Weekend Stream Forecast
Sean Visintainer - 05/22/23
Tis the season
For many anglers Memorial Weekend kicks off their fishing "season" with rivers like the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene, St. Joe, and Spokane as their main haunts if you live in our area. One could also throw the Kootenai and Clark Fork into that mix, but really it's the first three rivers listed that get the most attention. Of course there are smaller streams and tribs... but we aren't about to hotspot those on a public blog like this :)
The Spokane River opens this Saturday May 27th this year after being closed for spawning since March 15th. While we would love to get out on the river the last couple months it's for the best that it's closed to help protect the native Redbands and realistically the river is typically very high during this time period. The prediction flows are showing the levels dropping to a point where it will be "high-but-fishable" for opening weekend. Do exercise extreme caution if you get out, the river is no joke at this level, and really at any level it's a dangerous river to wade. I would expect a few salmonflies to be buzzing around and probably some trout willing to eat them and there will absolutely be caddis hatches in the afternoon and evenings. Big chernobyls, chernobyl/dropper combos, nymph rigs (a stone and caddis pupa), or streamer fishing will all be on the menu.
Probably the number one draft choice for many anglers this time of the season will be the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River. Being the first river to drop into shape after runoff and it's close proximity to Spokane and Coeur d'Alene, this makes it an easy target for anxious anglers wanting to get out. I will say that Memorial Day weekend is busier with campers rather than anglers, but there will be folks around for sure as they have for decades on this popular holiday weekend locale. Hatches here will be all over the place, depending on how high in the drainage you are. You could potentially see... caddis, yellow sallies, drake mayflies, salmonflies, and golden stone and pmd's really should be happening for Memorial Day weekend now too. How high can you go? Anywhere you want.
Dragging it's feet as usual the St. Joe River is a large drainage and takes it a little longer to go through it's snowpack so it'll be on the higher side of fishable for Memorial Weekend. The river is predicted to drop so don't overlook it. These panhandle streams with cutthroat fish well at higher levels and as always look for the banks to focus your efforts as the fish will generally be found in the eddies, side channels, backwater areas, inside bends, or soft sides of seams created by a point in the riverbank. The St. Joe should also have a mix of hatches like the NF Coeur d'Alene River. You could expect to see salmonflies, caddis, drakes, yellow sallies, and probably PMD's. And yes you drive up Red Ives if you so desire.
With runoff still rolling along in many areas the Kootenai and Clark Fork will not be options this Memorial Day weekend, and that is okay, if they were that means we would be outta water this summer!
We hope you have a fun and fish-filled Memorial Day Weekend! We are stocked and ready for all your fly angling needs so please see us before heading out. We appreciate your business.