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Sunday, October 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Fly fishing outlook, hatches promising for holiday weekend, guide says

FISHING -- A Spokane fly fishing guide is predicting a "buggy" holiday weekend ahead. While that may be a word that alarms campers, it's a rally call for fly fishers.

With light winds and temperatures forecast around 80 degrees, Sean Visintainer of Silver Bow Fly Shop is pumped about his annual Memorial Day weekend camping trip on a North Idaho cutthroat stream and he's optimistic about the prospect of trout-pleasing hatches.

As the Spokane River remains closed -- until June 1 from Plese Flats to Monroe Street Dam and until June 3 from Upriver Dam to the state line -- fly fishers can key on the Coeur d'Alene and St. Joe rivers with good success, Visintainer says in his blog's holiday weekend forecast:

This year looks to be like a classic Memorial Day weekend (on the North Fork Coeur d'Alene) with average water levels and the potential of salmonflies, yellow sallies, drakes, ants, and even a few straggler insects like skwalla stones, March Browns, and gray drakes buzzing the skies. This is the time of the year the pale morning dun mayflies and golden stones really kick off so don't leave home without 'em.

Jennifer and I wandered up the St. Joe last Sunday all the way to the end of the road, or what is currently the end of the road at about mile marker 5 before Red Ives Rangers Station and Spruce Tree Campground. According to the Idaho Forest Service Website the last few miles there is shutdown to traffic while culverts and the road get repaired from washouts this spring. No official word when that will re-open.

No worries though we have 75 plus more miles of St. Joe River that is available to fish! We fished different pockets up there from the road and most all of them had at least one or two fish willing to eat a big 'ol stonefly off the surface. Anglers headed to the St. Joe to foot fish will have options, just limited options. As levels drop those fishable nooks and crannies will open more and more. The more you are willing to scramble a bank the more water cutthroat will be at your mercy. If you got a boat the levels are great to float and that will open up much more water.

The St. Joe has a mix of bugs hatching right now too. Salmon flies, golden golden stones, and yellow sallies are all top hatches. PMD's, flavs, and brown drakes are about and big flying ants to round out the mix. This time of the year can be great streamer fishing on either of these rivers. My preference for streamer flavors this time of the year is flashy, olive, or white. Yes that is pretty vague, but there are many patterns that can work. If you haven't seen our meat locker fly display you should swing by, soooo many streamers and patterns available at the store!




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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