A fine evening on the Pend Oreille River

IveofIone

Active Member
#1
Last week at this time I was camped on the Kootenai River in NW Montana. The weather was brutally hot and the fishing was slow. The fish were small and there were damned few of them. In total I was there for 2 days and drove over 450 miles and fished my ass off till dark each evening. It was still a fun trip with excellent camping but the fishing was nothing like I remember from a decade ago.

This evening I drove about 6 miles down river and fished below Box Canyon Dam. As usual I had this enormous river all to myself without another fisherman in sight. In about an hour and a half I caught a lot more and much bigger fish than I did on the Kootenai in two days! All were smallmouth with the biggest around 15'' but it was a handful in the current on a 5x tippet. It took a #14 caddis dry with a splashy rise. Several other fish came on a #14 green caddis pupa fished in the film-the same fly I hammered fish with on the Coeur D'Alene a few weeks ago. Towards dark I put on a cone head Muddler and caught several more fish. I only fished up to the first riffle since I got such a late start but there was plenty of action. And I didn't have to drive far to get to it or even put on waders.

I was mostly just killing time until just before dark when I returned to the city park in Ione to scout the bay for a hex hatch. No action at all but about 7 miles up river I have seen good hex hatches on the river. It would sure be nice to locate a spot where hexes were coming off, fish go absolutely crazy during those hatches. The river below the dam gets an early sunset and it is a pleasant place to spend a hot summer evening with a fly rod in your hand. The smallmouth are the cherry on the sundae.
 

IveofIone

Active Member
#5
Yeah Pat, it is finally down to just under 20,000 cfs, just about 4X what the Skagit is running now to put it in perspective. Some of the points that create back eddies are now exposed with some good current seams and little riffles. The good water only extends for a few hundred yards below the dam then it becomes frog water and doesn't produce as well. One good spot will produce a lot of fish though. There is a lot of dry fly action right now but a spey rod would be needed for some of those big heads out in the center!