The Coeur d'Alene River is an amazing free-stone waterway that sits just 25 minutes from the quickly expanding resort town of Coeur d’Alene, ID. Personally, I fish it anytime of the year, but the river really shines in the early and late spring; I recommend both. This time of the year can cater to the diehard dry guys tossing size 18-22 Blue-Winged Olives or Midge patterns, but indeed I won't be. From what I’ve learned from my days on the water, it’s all about the water temperature. Don’t ever forget that! Really cold springtime temps will always keep these trout low, I mean belly on the bottom low.
To the dilemma of cold springtime temperatures, I would answer in one of two ways – the first being “chuckin meat” (or streamers). Depending on water depth, a dry line on a 6 wt with 6 feet of 0x. The second way to address this dilemma is by using a dredge. Break out the 20ft of 150gr streamer tip and really get it in their face!
Using the streamers method usually produces bigger than average fish. It’s where the term “the tug is the drug” originates. This is because you don’t see any kind of eat, whether you’re chucking it to the bank and stripping back or swinging the bug through a run while standing on the inside of that run. Your tell is when the rod wants to get tugged out of your hand in one hard jerk. It’s a heart pumping adrenaline rush that happens instantly!
Most of the time the fish has already set the hook on itself from the aggressive eat. It’s always a good precaution to give it a bit of a tug right back, just to be sure. A traditional rod tip-lift or rod tip still-down and strip to set the line strait back works wonders.
The majority of bugs I like to chuck when it comes to meat are of a very natural color - black, brown, olive and even white. Now in darker water I’ll use something with a lot of flash. This is a technique that will get a trout to come from as far as it can to investigate and hopefully smash it!
On the other sub-surface hand of spring fly fishing, you have the nymph. Two methods can by applied using the nymph: Bobber dog er’ (the simple way) or Czech nymph it. Czech is something that takes a lot of imagination. By this I mean you have to imagine what, where, and how deep your bugs are at all times. I use the “indicator” method for many reasons, especially when it comes to teaching and guiding anglers. You save a lot of bugs when your guide is able to control the depth of the nymph without touching the rod.
This photo of an exceptional nympher shows off the great colors of the Rainbows that are few and far between on the North Fork. One easy way to tell you have a 'Bow on is they actually boogie out of the water, just like this feisty hen showed us.
Until next time, my friends. Fish On!