Thompson River Salmonfly Hatch

Thompson River Report: Salmonfly Hatch 2016

The infamous Montana Salmon fly hatch is out on the Thompson and the water is running clear. The river was raging with Brown Trout last weekend and it was not to miss. Salmon-Fly-Hatch

The Thompson River originates in Upper Thompson Lake and flows generally south to join Clark Fork near the cute town of Thompson Falls. A beautiful two-hour drive along the CDA River and then over the Thompson Pass is one of our favorites if you are spring fishing. As soon as the pass opens, we’re there.

The water levels are low right now and Jared and I packed along a chainsaw just in case we needed it and we certainly did after navigating two barely passable logs. We were able to chainsaw the third and enjoy the second half of our trek down this gorgeous river, Salmon Flies abound. This big 3″ bug hatches right after the river runoff ends and clear water emerges…along with the Forsythe’s.


One thing in particular that Jared and I love about this river is its ease of access. Navigating this river can only be done for a two week period and it has beautiful pull offs to throw a rod a for a little while and then hop back in the truck all while wearing flip flops. No waders necessary on this little gem. It’s so clear they’d see you standing there – best to either go by boat or stand on the edge and sneak your attack by combing the river while eating some chips!

We had our fill and I personally caught a magnificent 15″ Brown Bubba on my fancy four weight.

Here is a tip: Lewis the humongous Moose lives about half way upriver. A sighting is usually daily. Stay at Clark Memorial Campground which is above the Copper King Campground where the rest of the herd that is addicted to the Thompson stays. Clark Memorial has only three sites and you can sleep to the sound of the river and not a generator.

As of this report, the Clark Fork is still running muddy and the hatch will soon emerge there for perhaps the first time in 8 years for fishermen and women. The hatch is usually clouded by the runoff, but this year there may just be a chance due to timing and to water levels to fuel an amazing situation there in the next week or so for clear water fishing with the salmonfly. IMG_20160514_083914IMG_20160514_083919IMG_20160514_175955IMG_20160514_181907IMG_20160514_181922












The Thompson will always remain my favorite river. It just feels like home and always will. Perhaps it’s where a love story started on both levels. We all have those moments. This place just happened to be mine.

Water Water Everywhere

Fishing the CDAWater. It’s why people come here. We crave it and it’s sound transforms us. Sixty percent of our body is made of it. My brother who just visited from Long Beach, admired it. He acted like a child around it. More and more people are visiting Coeur d’Alene every year and what they want is water. Can our rivers and lakes fill the demand? We at CDA Adventures believes water conservation is a great way to get involved and to connect to the world around us.

What can we do about pollution and the conservation of our water? Concern about the Coeur d’Alene River, our lake, and the area is on the tip of everyone’s tongue, but to take action is stimulating, admirable, and joyful. Have you ever asked yourself what life might be like staring at the water, but not being able to get in it as Fernan Lake has been in the past? It does happen. Yet, there are many groups and organizations that make a difference in small ways and can inspire you to do something new at the same time.

Spokane Women on the Fly, a new organization in our area was developed for women looking for other women to fish with in the Inland Northwest. It is a conservation group, an education group, and a networking platform in which newbies and the experienced can get involved in fly fishing, but also get involved in some of the issues that go hand in hand with our obsession with water such as waters clean ups, a mentorship program, and education of the watershed which is also important for knowing which flies to use. We even drink beer and tie flies.

Coeur d’Alene Adventures, our company for example, has seen record bookings for their Combo Trip, a thrilling white water rafting adventure down the Alberton Gorge Clark Fork River all while fishing the deep gorgeous pools the Gorge produces. The Clark Fork is the largest river by volume in Montana and drains directly into Lake Pend Orielle. Many of the most polluted areas have been designated as Superfund sites. Nevertheless, the river and its tributaries are among the most popular destinations for fly-fishing in the United States and it’s right in our backyard. The clean up is going very well on the Clark Fork and if you haven’t been in awhile it’s a gem and the cleanest its been in generations. Adopt a campsite or river mile program through the CDA River Ranger District.

As for myself, I am starting a two-year conservation program next year at Lakeland High School in Rathdrum where I teach. It will focus on girls in art and science. Donate. Do something, but don’t do nothing. A great German poet once said, “May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” –Rainer Maria Rilke

Sara Forsythe, Coeur d’Alene Adventures