St. Joe River Fishing Update

Sean Visintainer - 03/10/20

A beautiful St. Joe River, Idaho Cutthroat Trout fell victim to streamer pattern while fishing late winter. Photo Credit - Jesse Retan

Time to play in Idaho!

The sleepy St. Joe River is beginning to perk up from its winter slumber. Recently Kenyon Pitts and angling friend Jesse Retan ventured over to this cutthroat paradise to see what was happening after the long winter.

Working their way up river they fished a variety of streamers and found more than a few willing cutthroat wanting a large, submerged meal.

They drove as far as Avery where they were greeted by over two feet of snow just past town marking the end of the line. That is very typical as they don't plow past Avery during the winter for recreational snowmobilist and I would be very concerned if there wasn't at least a couple feet of snow on the road at Avery in early March!

While the streamer fishing was exceptionally productive throughout the day they also fished an assortment of nymphs. Standard winter fair for anywhere right now when indicator fishing is any combo of the following: stonefly nymphs, san juans, hot bead patterns, midge pupa, pt's, and small attractor nymphs. After a long winter I will say cutthroat aren't the most selective when it comes to their subsurface meals, something with a little color and/or flash usually does the job. What's more important is where you find them... SLOW, DEEPER WATER!

Some midges were out and about and since they focused their efforts mostly above Marble they did not encounter any dry fly fishing higher up. The lower, slower stretches have been seeing more bug activity and on warmer days one could expect to have some shots at fishing midges, small parachutes or emergers, or winter stone style dries (small chernobyls). It's on the early side for skwalas and lots of people often mistake the small capnia or nemoura stones for skwalas, but the bigger guys are still a few weeks out.

The next couple days are looking good to hit the water, but the weekend forecast is looking a bit frosty for fishing with temps plummeting below freezing again. I would suspect the following week to improve and be a good option.

Thanks Kenyon and Jesse for the update and pics! Time to play in Idaho!

Boat Launch Snow Status:

Marble Creek - Mostly clear and usable.

Calder Bridge - Clear. This south facing launch generally clears out the fastest.

Big Eddy - Bring a long rope! Snowy, but doable for adventures anglers.

16 mile - Snowed in. This is the most shaded launch.

Kenyon Pitts from the Silver Bow Fly Shop in Spokane setting up the perfect drift on the St. Joe River, ID. Photo Credit - Jesse Retan