Fly fishers relish various flows on cutthroat streams
Near average snowpack reports indicate Inland Northwest trout streams this season should settle into the sweet spot between prolonged runoff and low flows dangerous to trout survival.
“It should be a good flow year for fish and fisherman,” said Jim Fredericks, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager.
The Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers continue to hold excellent cutthroat trout populations, he said.
“Cutthroat fishing is pretty straightforward,” said Sean Visintainer of Silver Bow Fly Shop in Spokane. “Fish the riffles and drop-offs, the dark green emerald pools.
“Every road turnout along these two streams seems to be near a deep, good-looking pool that obviously holds fish.
“But if the river is busy, walk an extra 50 yards or so up or downstream and you often can find some riffly runs that are waist- to neck-deep and holding some fish.”
Both rivers come into prime conditions in June or July after runoff subsides. Visintainer points out the fish are still there regardless of the water level and anglers with boats shouldn’t overlook the excellent opportunities for spring high-flow fishing.
“Fish the back eddies, side channels and the softest currents you can find along the bank when the rivers go up,” he said last week after a great day of fishing the lower St. Joe at 5,500 cfs.
He said he guides anglers from boat up to 7,000 cfs on the Joe. Wading becomes comfortable when flows drop below 2,000 cfs.