Saturday, February 4th, 2023
Saturday, February 4th, 2023

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Idaho's Clearwater Region Fishing Report July 20, 2012

This report highlights a few of the best places to fish, what anglers are using and what they are catching. The information is compiled from regional Fish and Game fishery managers, local tackle shops and anglers.

Late July and early August are prime time for fishing the Clearwater Region’s diverse offering of rivers and streams, especially for fly anglers.

For native Westslope cutthroat, head to rivers listed below.  Summertime finds these rivers and their tributaries very fishable and full of aggressive fish.  Anglers usually do best in the morning, when the water temperatures are cool.  To protect these Blue Ribbon fisheries, most of these rivers have harvest and gear restrictions, so review the fishing regulations before you go.

Westslope cutthroat are not fussy fish. So bring attractor patterns, such as Royal Wulffs and Trudes with you.  Flies with some orange or yellow usually get their attention.

Some anglers often underestimate westslope cutthroat and feel they'll "take anything." However, If you watch them carefully, you'll be amazed at how many flies are rejected. The reasons vary from tossing a fly that they don't like to a sloppy presentation.

A dead-drift through shady water is always a good bet. Bead-head nymphs, such as a bead-head Pheasant Tail or Prince, drifted through deeper water during the sunny midday hours is another strategy for all rivers listed below.
Lochsa River

Current conditions are excellent.  While the hot temperatures have given the trout a bad case of lockjaw, fishing has been good after the occasional afternoon thunderstorm. The storms cool the water temperature, and after the higher water has passed through, fishing is often better.

Look for hatches of pale morning duns and caddis. Terrestrials such as hoppers, flying ants, and beetles, will drop onto the water, too, so carry imitations with you. Attractor patterns such as lime or royal Trudes, Royal Wulffs, and Royal Stimulators works well on these trout.
North Fork Clearwater River, Kelly Creek & Tributaries

Kelly Creek is no secret and it attracts more and more people every year, especially on weekends.  The only thing that saves it is its remoteness. No matter whether you approach from the Montana side or the Idaho side, there will be 50 miles of forest service gravel roads to travel.  Don't forget anything. There are no fly shops, gas stations, or groceries except at the ends of those gravel roads.

If you're matching hatches, pale morning duns and caddis are your targets. For the PMDs, a PMD Cripple, Halfback Emerger, or Parachute PMD will take trout when they're rising to duns. A size 18 Pheasant Tail will attract trout that are feeding subsurface.
Selway River

Attractors, such as Royal Wulffs and green Trudes, are a good choice. Also, biggish dry flies with orange or yellow work well. It's amazing how confidently a cutthroat will inhale a size 6-8 Clarks Stonefly even when salmonflies haven't been around for weeks.

Pale morning duns are hatching this month. A PMD Cripple, Halfback Emerger, or Parachute PMD will take trout when they're rising to duns. Earlier in the hatch, a size 18 Pheasant Tail will attract trout that are feeding subsurface.

Caddis are also present, especially in the evening. A size 14-16 tan or olive Elk Hair Caddis can take a lot of trout.

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