If you’ve never been to Northern Idaho, it’s worth a visit. It’s a beautiful and mountainous area. You’ll find plenty of mountain lakes, rivers, and forests to explore, and the scenery is outstanding. When it comes to fishing, you’ll be hard pressed to find any place better than Lake Coeur d’Alene.
Picture yourself floating gently on the beautiful lake, surrounded by forests and wildlife. You’ll be fishing with osprey, and if you’re here in the winter, you’ll be fishing with bald eagles. It’s a spectacular piece of Idaho, and you’ll be fishing in an incredible part of the state. Whether you want to hit the lake yourself or hire a fishing guide, Lake Coeur d’Alene has a wide variety of fish for you to try and catch. You’ll be able to fish for chinook salmon, smallmouth and largemouth bass, northern pike, and kokanee salmon. And the lake has plenty of room. It’s 25 miles long and almost 10 miles across, with over 135 miles of forested shorelines.
Get Ready to Fish
Before you can fish at Lake Coeur d’Alene, you’ll need an Idaho Fishing License if you don’t already have one. There are several fishing outfitters and guides where you’ll be able to buy a license at Coeur d’Alene, Idaho if haven’t purchased one ahead of time. If you’ve never fished in Idaho, or you need to refresh yourself on the regulations, be sure to check out the rules at the Idaho Fish and Game.
There are daily limits for fishing at Lake Coeur d’Alene:
· Two chinook salmon, over 20 inches.
· Six bass, both largemouth and smallmouth.
· 15 kokanee salmon. 25 on tribal waters.
· Six trout, with no harvest of cutthroat.
Beyond that, if you are coming from out of state with your own boat, you’ll need to purchase an invasive species permit for $22. If your boat is already registered in Idaho, the invasive species permit is included in the cost of registration.
Catching the Fish
If you’re heading out onto the lake yourself, you might need some tips and information to increase your chances of catching fish. Otherwise, there are fishing charters and guides available, and you’ll have the experience of these fishermen at your disposal. Bass fishing runs from spring to summer, while chinook salmon fishing is year round.
· Bass in the Spring. From April to May, you’ll want to fish in shallow water. The warmer the better, like near the Coeur d’Alene beach by the city. The best lures to use are: rattle traps, crank baits, and tube jigs.
· Bass in the Summer. From May to June, you’ll still want to stick to warmer water. Fishing from docks is good with crank baits and tube jugs. For water up to 30 feet deep, depending on temperature, you’ll want to use lead jigs with twin tail grubs.
· Chinook Salmon in the Spring. From February to April, you’ll find the salmon up to 30 feet deep. Most of the salmon will be in the south end of the lake. Use herring, rapalas, and diving plugs.
· Chinook Salmon in the Summer. From April to September, you’ll typically find the fish between 30 feet and 80 feet deep. You’ll want to stick to the main body of the lake or to the east. Use flashers, herring, mini squids, and dodger flies or herring.
· Chinook Salmon in the Fall. The salmon are going deeper from September to December. You’ll be fishing between 70 feet and 100 feet deep. Mini squids will be your best lure, and you’ll want to mainly fish mid-lake.
· Chinook Salmon in the Winter. The salmon go even deeper from December to February. Fish between 70 feet and 115 feet deep. Once again, you’ll be fishing mid-lake, and herring is your best choice for the late winter.
Outfitters and Guides
While you’ll have several options for fishing guides and outfitters, the two main ones for Lake Coeur d’Alene are Fins and Feathers Tackle Shop and Guide Service and Adventure Guide Service. Either one will help you catch that fish you want, and bring home a trophy. They have plenty of experience and an intimate knowledge of the best places to catch fish at the lake.
You can make a real trip of fishing at Lake Coeur d’Alene as each guide offers full day trips. Or, rent one of the vacation homes, and fish from the comfort of your own private dock or fishing access. Lake Coeur d’Alene is a beautiful place to visit, and you’ll enjoy spending time in the mountains of Northern Idaho just as much as you’ll enjoy the fishing.