Monday's with Mike

Sean Visintainer - 05/01/23

Coeur d'Alene River Idaho

Shoulda fished it last week...

Mike has been finding some freetime from shop life and home projects and hit the local rivers before the latest heatwave. Last week up on the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River the water levels were still fishable, clarity good and snow lined some of the banks. This week not so much. Chocolate colored waters and levels so high they are reaching flood stages now on the graphs.

Last week too, the furthest you could drive up was the Shoshone Work Center... answering the age-old spring question at the fly shop... "how high can I go?". Honestly, I find that question kinda silly during the early parts of spring. If you know the lay of the land up on the North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene drainage, you know the river is in relatively mountainous terrain which means that while it can be fairly nice down here in the valley but that doesn't mean the mountains have thawed out yet. I do understand the appeal of fishing the upper North Fork Coeur d'Alene River drainage, it's an incredible place, I have fished there for almost the last 30 years, however, it's the same thing every year... it's still WINTER LIKE in the mountains every February, March, and most of April! EVERY YEAR! LOL! So I wouldn't even consider fishing the upper reaches until some point in May, even then it can be a different climate back there than it is here in Spokane. Rant over.

Both the North Fork and the St. Joe Rivers were fishing very well last week even as the rivers rose. Unlike some other fisheries, let's say the Clark Fork or Missouri Rivers, the Idaho cutties don't slow down too much when river levels are on the way up. Keep a mental note of that for next season and remember to not completely throw in the towel just because levels are going up a bit on the USGS graphs.

Thanks Mike for the pics and thanks for volunteering at the willow planting on the upper Hangman Creek watershed recently with the Spokane Falls Trout Unlimited and Coeur d'Alene Tribe Fish and Wildlife. Maybe one day we will see these once prolific salmon spawning grounds rehabilitated and restored.