Fly-fishing the CDA River

My dad and my brother, Craig, came to visit us this last week.  They made the two-day drive from Fresno, California to Worley, Idaho.  We had fun showing them our beautiful new state, but the highlight was fly-fishing the Coeur d’Alene River.

Craig, Dad, Me and Peeve on the deck

Many, many years ago, I read A River Runs Through It and I have been enamored of fly-fishing since.  Mostly, I like the idea of standing in a beautiful river in waterproof clothing.  What could be better than that?  Little did I know that I live an hour away from a highly acclaimed fly-fishing destination, the Coeur d’Alene River.

Craig has been fly-fishing since he was a kid, so he had all the gear and my nephew loaned me his rod and reel.  I got some inexpensive and highly effective waders and felt-soled boots.  Let me tell you, fly-fishing is one sexy sport if big, baggy, and drab-colored is your thing.

On Tuesday morning, we headed to the CDA River.  We stopped at the fly shop near Cataldo on the way to get the lowdown on river conditions and which flies to use.  The two gentleman in the shop were very friendly and informative.  When I mentioned I lived in Worley, one of them asked me if I knew Tom.  Granted, Worley only has a population of 247, but I have yet to meet Tom.

We were given instructions to turn on Old River Road at the metal bridge, go past Hippie Rock (named for the kids that sunbathe naked and jump off the rock), then go down aways past the No Trespassing signs to find good fishing.  Since there is no cell signal on the river, we relied on these old-fashioned points-of-interest to guide us.

We fished a couple spots on the CDA on Tuesday, but we didn’t catch anything.  In the afternoon, two women upriver from us caught three or four cutthroat trout while we watched.  I took a lot of pictures, but my phone died shortly after and the photos were lost.  Craig took a few pictures of me.

I look just like Brad Pitt in A River Runs Through It

So after my first day of fly-fishing, I was pretty satisfied.  I got to walk around in a beautiful river all day without getting cold and wet.  The water is clear without sediment and the surrounding scenery is gorgeous.  My shoulder was a little sore from casting, but all-in-all a great day.

We had a few unseasonably cold and windy days, so we didn’t go out fishing again until Friday.  We went to the local fly shop in Coeur d’Alene the night before to find out what we were doing wrong.  Joe, the owner of Castaway Outfitters, gave us some tips, suggested some smaller flies, and sent us higher up on the river.

We found a nice section of the river with some deeper pools and spent the morning fishing up the river.  We spotted a few trout.  After lunch, we went back out and Craig caught one.  I had a few strikes and even had one on the line momentarily, but no luck for me.

Peeve is intent on making sure Craig doesn’t drown

I was surprised at how fast the time passed while fishing.  We didn’t cover a lot of ground (only about 2,000 steps according to my fitness tracker), but walking upriver in the current puts all your muscles to the test while trying to keep balanced (I’m happy to say I did not fall once in two days).  Once the fish started striking, the concentration on landing the fly in right spot was intense.  Before I knew it, 6 hours had passed.

The scenery was beautiful, and I found a few new flowers too.  There are large grassy meadows along the banks of the river and these tall white flowers are everywhere.  According to my plant identification app, they are California false hellebore.  They are about 4 feet tall.

Some type of thistle. I’d like to see it in full bloom because it was huge.

So, let me know if you’re in the area and want to go fishing…