My husband and I recently took a three week RV trip up to Canada, Montana, and Idaho, June 25 – July 14. The two fishing highlights were guided trips on the Kootenai River, Montana and the North Fork of the Coeur D’Alene River, Idaho.
I took a seven mile drift trip down the Kootenai River, In Montana. The fishing was hot and if I were a better fisherman, I would have landed more fish. I was able to land about 15 native rainbow fish, with the largest being approx. 13 inches. I hooked lots more and had a great time. I lost a lot of fish since I didn’t keep my rod tip up. The fish were able to easily shake off the hook due to my inexperience.
A few days later I hired a guide to take me on a “WALK AND WADE” guided trip along the North Fork of the Coeur D’Alene River, Idaho. This trip exceeded my expectations! The guide took me to six of his favorite fishing places. I was able to net fish ( Native Cutthroats or hybrids) at every location.
The first fishing spot on almost every cast I made there was a fish strike; It was a shallow bed with riffles. I netted 6 fish on this spot and hooked another 15. They were hitting on the “Moota Poota” size 12, with a red copper john with rubber legs as a drop. We later switched to a PMD and the fish still hit. Here are the GPS coordinates. 47.7251948,-115.9934120.
The next stop was a deep hole with upstream riffles. I netted a nice 12 inch cutthroat and hooked many more.
We went to another location in which we had to hike about ½ mile through dense wooded areas. We fished for less than an hour and I had over 20 hits and landed several more. They were hitting on the “Madam X” fly. We switched to the Moota poota and no hits off this fly at this time. Went back to the “Madam X” and continued to get lots of hits and landed one more. Still trying to get a Big fish, we switched to a streamer fly “Sculptzilla” and saw no action using this fly and called it a day.
In summary, if you know where to go on the North Fork of the Coeur D’Alene River you will get some fun fishing and lots of action. The dry fly Madam X was superb with the copper john rubber legs as a drop. If anyone, in the club, want the GPS coordinates of the fishing holes I will be more than happy to share.
Both guided fishing outtings were very different experiences and I feel I gained more knowledge and experience which will make me a better fly fisherman.
Things I learned -
· It is possible to wet wade and not be cold (wearing wet wading socks with boots)
· I can become a better fisherman with more time on the water, practice, practice, practice.
· There have been improvements in fly lines so I replaced my fly line with a new textured line which glides so much better in my rod ferrules.
· You can catch fish on the swing, in the past, I had always brought my line in too early.
· Practice tipping up the rod and stripping at same time, do it enough you will get muscle memory.
· When tying a fly with a clinch knot, go slow, if you go fast you can heat up the line and weaken your knot.
· Tippet over 3 years old should be discarded and replaced with new material. Why have your tippet line break due to old material when using old tippet can be avoidable?
· The KEEP IT WET movement (keep fish in water as much as possible ) is not widely practiced and more education is needed to continue to increase the mortality rate of catch and release.
Fun note about the Cutthroat fish in the North Fork of the Coeur D’Alene River. The Cutthroats in this area are protected and are catch and release only. The cutthroat we caught, many were hybrids between a rainbow and cutthroat. The hybrids look like rainbow trout but the distinctive cutthroat orange slash below the jaw. The guide told me a story about there were several fishing ponds stocked with sterile rainbow trout for the kids to fish in. When the flood waters came, it released the sterile rainbows in the Coeur D’Alene River. Somehow the fish breed and the hybrid fish began appearing in the River. Another fish story? I don’t know, but it was interesting to actually see a hybrid rainbow/cutthroat in person.
Hope to see you on the water soon. Now get out and go fishing.
Great write-up! Peter Tobin and I fish the Coeur D’Alene River every mid-October. We also fish the St. Joe about this time. These are walk in rivers and very accessible. The St. Joe can have larger trout during the spawn. The native cuts/rainbows are small but you can have fun with fishing dry flies.