Spokane and North Fork Fly Fishing Outlook For Summer 2018

Local fly-fishing guides predict great conditions on the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene Rivers this summer. “June, traditionally, is a very good month on the Spokane,” says Sean Visintainer, owner of Silver Bow Fly Shop. “What we’re experiencing right now is classic Spokane run-off,” thanks to last winter’s deep snowpack.

Lower Spokane fishing season opens June 1—downriver from Spokane Falls—while the upper portion, Post Falls to Upriver Dam, opens the first Saturday in June, just a day later this year. Because the river has been closed to fishing since March 15, for spawning season, fish will be “eager to eat flies,” says Visintainer, who either guides or fishes nearly every day. Expect Caddis and Stonefly hatches.  “Angling the first weeks will be challenging,” he warns. “People need to be safe and cautious. You don’t need to go wading. Stay on the riverbank.” When the water is high, he says, fish are forced towards the bank. “Little areas where fish get pockets from main flow…closer to Stateline, it’s easier to find calm water with fish.”

As June progresses and the water level continues decreasing, “More [bank and wade] spots open up,” says Visintainer. “It’s going to be one of the best summers we’ve had in four years. Plenty of water, plenty of habitat, and the fish like that.” The lower the Spokane River flows, the more intake it receives from the aquifer, which keeps the temperature cold, which trout need.

The North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River will also be good this June, as long as the water level trends downward, with gradual snowpack melt, according to Bryan Gregg, a guide for Northwest Outfitters in Coeur d’Alene. “You might have to pick your days carefully for dry-fly fishing,” he says. Upper portions of the North Fork will offer protected water for trout and better wading spots.

Gregg also teaches in the Orvis Fly-Fishing School, offering one and two-day classes that includes classroom and video presentations at the Coeur d’Alene Resort, demonstrations, and on-water practice. All equipment is provided, and the two-day class concludes with a guided trip on the Spokane River. Northwest Outfitters also offers guided fishing trips on the Coeur d’Alene River. “Even with a half-day guided trip you can learn a lot,” says Gregg, with each half day trip offering four hours of fishing time on the river. //

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