Winter During Fall

Sean Visintainer - 10/23/20

Michael Visintainer and Jacob Zirkle (G.Loomis and Umpqua Rep) fishing the Spokane River on a beautiful October day.

Straight to winter?!

Fall is going straight to winter it seems this weekend. This morning the snow started falling at the shop and our beautiful fall-like weather quickly turned into a December blizzard.

So what does that mean for angling around the region this weekend? Well, it will be tough fishing for a few days.

Typically the first cold snap will put the fish down considerably. A big drop in temps means a big drop in metabolism. Fish will be hunkered down in the deepest, slowest of pools.

Rivers like the St. Joe and NF Coeur d'Alene River are affected more so than rivers like the Spokane. Being freestone streams, the temps are directly related to overnight and daytime air temps. The Spokane River is different however, it receives water from the top of lake Coeur d'Alene which is warmer, and is greatly influenced by ground water seeping in from our underground aquifer. It is less affected by air temps, though that still plays a role.

While I'm sure you can drum up a "cold-cutt" on a streamer, or a deep indicator rig, on the north Idaho streams, by far the better option for cold weather is the Spokane system.

The Spokane River is close to home (for many of you reading this in Spokane / Coeur d'Alene) and being the warmest, it gives you the best shot at a fish or two. Like the North Fork or the St. Joe River it will be a subsurface game during these inclement conditions.

Nymphing a stonefly with a smaller hot bead (or hot spot) pattern should be the best shot. Streamers on sink-tips should also be good, I like patterns like the Jigged JJ Sparkle Minnow and marabou patterns like the conehead Chicklet are perfect. Some movement, some flash, and some weight are the meal ticket when it comes to selecting streamers in the winter.

Best of luck if you head out over the next few days, later next week we will hopefully resume more seasonable fall trout fishing conditions.

October snowstorm at the Silver Bow Fly Shop.