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Spokane Valley guide proclaims April ‘awesome’ for fly fishers

Sat., April 15, 2017, 5:16 p.m.

A St. Joe River cutthroat rises in April to take a skwalla dry fly pattern. (Sean Visintainer)
A St. Joe River cutthroat rises in April to take a skwalla dry fly pattern. (Sean Visintainer)

April is the month in which everything wakes up on the region’s streams, and for that reason alone it may be the “most awesome month” for fly fishermen, a Spokane Valley guide said.

“Insect hatches on the St. Joe and North Fork Coeur d’Alene ramp up with activity,” Sean Visintainer of Silver Bow Fly Shop said.

“Skwalas, nemoura stones, March browns – yes, they hatch in April– and blue-wing olives to round out the mix.

“The cutthroat begin to move out of the winter water into some faster-paced currents. Air temps are more consistent in the 50s, water temps in the 40s.

“The rivers can be in a state of flux, but if you are a little flexible it can be some of the best fishing of the year in North Idaho. Throw in some days on the Clark Fork near St. Regis, and you can have some great dry fly action all around.

Fishing the St. Joe River in the past two weeks, nearly all of the fish Silver Bow guides and clients have caught have been on dry flies, Visintainer said.

“A lot of folks are assuming the rivers in Idaho are too high because the Spokane is still running full bore, but those streams drop considerably quicker, especially with cold night-time temps in the mountains. They also stay fairly clear, only turning muddy in extreme situations of runoff.”

High-water fishing is preferable to Visintainer because it forces more fish to hang right along the banks.

“Flooded structure and brush turn into new feeding zones,” he said. “It creates new challenges and areas that fish live in for only a short period of the year.”

Angler dry fly report: On Thursday, David Moershel left Spokane and was in Montana fishing on the Clark Fork by 10 a.m. He immediately caught a cutthroat on the surface with a skwalla pattern. Around 11, March browns were on the water and he had excellent fishing for rising trout until a rain squall came through and shut down the bite. An afternoon blue-wing olive hatch picked up the fishing again, although mostly for smaller trout.

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