Do you like to fish? If so, plan on staying around Sandpoint and its surrounding waters for a while, because you could spend a lifetime learning the ins and outs of Sandpoint's fishing. The word "trout" is pretty much synonymous with Idaho, but in the case of Sandpoint's Lake Pend Oreille, you'd want to make that "big" trout.
Here in Sandpoint we have lots of lakes, slews, ponds, and waterways to choose from, but the best part is some of them hold trophy cool water game fish such as Northern Pike and Tiger Muskie. Finding the "Big Ones" is seldom difficult here, with the Northerns and Tiger Muskie exceeding 40'' in length.
Lake Pend Oreille is the largest lake in the state of Idaho and the 38th largest lake in the U.S.. 148 miles of surface area, 1,158 feet deep. Lake Pend Oreille has many different types of structure and thermals, so it is home to many different species of fish. Lake Trout (locals call Mackinaw or "Macs"), Large Rainbow Trout (locals call Kamloop or "Kams"), Kokanee Salmon, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Perch, Crappie, and newly discovered Northern Pike and Walleye, which found their way into the lake from the Clark Fork River.
Being such a large lake anglers must be very careful in bad weather for the lake can become very rough during spats of wind and weather, be very careful in small watercrafts.
For Macs and Kams the main style of fishing is to troll plugs, flys and flat fish, but talk to locals to find out exactly what they are hitting.
For Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass the style of fishing is the same as anywhere else accept where to fish them, look for shallow bays and deltas for weeds and structure.
For Kokanee Salmon the tactic is to troll jackiloids or small flat fish at a certain speed depending on the day and water conditions, and at the end of the spinners use a wedding ring tipped with maggot and white corn.
For Perch and Crappie use your usual favorites. Perch can be found in shallow weedy areas and Crappie are usually around docks, downed trees or underwater structure in shallow ares.
Clark Fork River in Bonner County is 15.2 miles in length. The Clark Fork River spills into Lake Pend Oreille.
The Clark Fork River has a vast amount of species of fish including Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Brown Trout, Lake Trout, Kokanee, Bull Trout, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike, Walleye and White Fish.
Clark Fork River is mostly know for it's Fly Fishing for Rainbows, Cutthroat and Brown Trout, but as you get to the end where the Clark Fork empties into the Pend Oreille Lake you can catch Bass and Pike.
Fly Fishing depends on the hatch at the time, but you can always stur up something with a stimulator or an Elkhair Caddas. Spinning the river is good with spoons, DareDevils, rooster tails and Mepps.
Other tactics for the other species of fish include spinner baits for the Bass and Pike and bottom grub jigging for Walleye, but more knowledgable baits will bring more success as well as knowing where to fish them.
The Clark Fork River has several dams, so be very careful fishing when the dam lets out water if you are waiding or achored to something, as the river can become a lot deeper in a short amount of time.
Cocolalla Lake in Bonner County is 803.8 acres. Cocolalla Lake is located just off of Hwy 95 on your way to Sandpoint, and it is a very good fishery with a wide variety of fish.
The species of fish include Black Crappie, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Channel Catfish, Largemouth Bass, Rainbow Trout, and Yellow Perch.
Most people fishing for Trout will troll spoons and spinners, but you can also sit fish for the Trout by using bait and casting off of shore. People come from all over to try their luck at catching the Channel Catfish that are in Lake Cocolalla usually with general Catfish techniques, and in the summer time you can fish the weed beds and grass for Largemouth Bass.
Crappie is usually best in Spring using jigs and bobbers, or small Rapalas. Look for downed trees, docks and logs under the water!
People love to ice fish Cocolalla in the winter for Yellow Perch and Trout through the ice, but be very careful and watch for the concentrations of people because the ice can be very sketchy in some areas.
Pend Oreille River in Bonner County is 39.5 miles in length. The Pend Oreille River stretches from Sandpoint, Idaho to the state of Washington near Newport.
Pend Oreille River has a broad spectrum of fish with the species being Black Crappie, Brook Trout, Brown Trout, Bull Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Kokanee, Largemouth Bass, White Fish, Pumpkin Seed, Rainbow Trout, Smallmouth Bass and Yellow Perch.
The tactics for fishing the Pend Oreille River are very simular to the Pend Oreille Lake since the are connected. You will find Bass in the shallow weedy coves and eddies. You will find the trout off of points and eddies of rocky areas.
Perch, Pumpkin Seed and Crappie can be found in the shallow areas and where bridges cross the river by using normal techniques like worms or jig and bobber. Some local anglers enjoy Fly Fishing for Pumpkin Seed with small grass hoppers or flys of that nature.
You can also Fly Fish areas of the river for the Trout when they are rising!
Gamlin Lake (Gamble Lake) in Bonner County is 102.6 acres. Gamlin Lake is seperated from Lake Pend Oreille by a strip of land to the East.
Gamlin Lake is a NO motor lake, so you will need to bring you canoe, raft or something of that nature to navigate the lake. The lake had a dock and a rough boat launch.
The Gamlin Lake is a warm water fishery with these species available for angling, Largemouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Crappie, Bullhead Catfish, Blue Gill / Pumpkin Seed Sun Fish.
Many people around here like to Fly Fish the small lakes for the warm water fish like Pumpkin Seed and Bass, but you can also bait fish from shore quite successfully.
Normal techniques for Crappie, jig and bobber and small Rapalas and plastic worms and spinner baits for the Bass.
Worms of the bottom for the Bullhead around dark.
Priest River flows into the Pend Oreille River at the City of Priest River, and then connects to Priest Lake to the North.
The Species of fish that can be caught in Priest River include Cutthroat Trout, White Fish, Brook Trout, and Smallmouth Bass.
Fly Fishing is mostly popular for this body of water, but spin fishing and bait fishing also have it's place!
Spinners, spoons and Mepps work for the Trout.
Normal tactics for the Smallmouth which include spinners, spinner baits, and Rapalas.
Shepherd Lake is 97.2 acres. Located in Sagle, Idaho, Shepherd Lake is a NO motor lake, so bring your non motorized craft.
Hwy 95 between Sandpoint and Westmond, turn east on Sagle Road and proceed 1.3 miles, then go right onto Talache Road. Continue another 1.4 miles to the boat ramp access on the right.
Shepherd Lake is a unique fishing lake with Black Crappie, Blue Gill, Largemouth Bass, Pumpkin Seed, and Yellow Perch, but what Shepherd Lake is know for is it's Tiger Muskie!
Locals like to Fly Fish for the Blue Gill, Pumpkin Seed and Bass with large bug flies, but they can be caught with spinning gear or bait.
The Tiger Muskie are a bit harder to catch, but can be taken with large spinners, Rapalas or bait, the kicker is locating these hybrid planters. The Tiger Muskie are not as agressive as their cousins the Northern Pike which are usually fished more fast. Slow down your presentation.
Kootenai River (Above Bonners Ferry) in Boundary County is 27.4 miles long.
The Kootenai River is home to some of the best fishing in North Idaho with these species of fish to look for Brook Trout, Bull Trout, Burbot, Cutthroat Trout, Kokanee, White Fish, Pumpkin Seed, Rainbow Trout, West Slope Cutthroat, White Sturgeon, and Yellow Perch.
Most anglers float this river fly fishing for the large Rainbow and Cutthroat Trout.
Fishing for or targeting sturgeon in the Kootenai River is illegal
Make sure to know your floating and drifting stretches, because the Kootenai River is home to some of the most agressive whitewater in North Idaho, and also know your species of Trout because the Bull Trout are protected and need to be released.
Mackinaw (Lake Trout) are the main game fish in Priest Lake, and can get very large. The Idaho state record for Mackinaw (57 1/2 pounds) was caught at Priest Lake in 1971.
Fishing in Upper Priest Lake and Upper Priest River is catch-and-release only, no bait and single, barbless hooks. These rules are in place to protect the Bull Trout and to help in the recovery of the native Westslope Cutthroat.
The tactics for fishing the Macs on Priest Lake are mainly trolling with downriggers or leaded line, but can also be caught by jigging.
Try jigging 3 inch plasic minnows with a 1 once jig
Troll swim baits, flies or minnows.
McArthur Lake is a reservoir located just 13.2 miles from Bonners Ferry. Anglers will catch a variety of fish including Pumpkin Seed Sunfish, Rainbow Trout, Bream, Bluegill, Largemouth Bass and Perch.
From Bonners Ferry, go South on US 95 - 13 miles and look for signs.
From Sandpoint, go North on US 95 -18 miles and just North of the McArthur Lake Dam turn West on McArthur Lake Road at the Sportsman’s Access sign - take the first Left to get to the boat launch.
Basic Fly Fishing, spinning and bait fishing work well on this lake, while fishing the Trout, but you can catch the Bass with spinner baits, soft plasics or Rapalas.
Fly Fishing or jigs work well for the Sun Fish.
Jigs and bait work well for the Perch.
General Fishing Season for the Panhandle Region
Welcome to Lake Pend Oreille Idaho Club (LPOIC). Our club is dedicated to protecting and enhancing our lake. We are primarily a fishing club, but have a vested interest in keeping our lake in pristine condition through the help of many other groups and volunteers.
Phone (208) 265-2565
Toll-Free (800) 487-6886
Diamond Charters Fishing is a fishing and guiding service with the same owner and operator for over 19 years!
Phone (208) 264-5274
Owner David Beshunsky and Captain James Mullen invite you to come fishing on Lake Pend Oreille!
Phone (208) 597-5020
Go Fish! Charters provides scenic cruising and hands-on, multi-species fishing on Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River.
Phone (208) 265-6781
Cell Phone (208) 661-6250
Trophy Trout charter fishing for Gerrard Kamloops Rainbows, Bull Trout and Mackinaws on Lake Pend Oreille, Sandpoint, Idaho
Phone (208) 683-2960
Fishing, sightseeing, nature trips on Lake Pend Oreille. Home of world record rainbow trout Captain Pete Quigley welcomes you aboard!
Phone (208) 263-9973
Whether your adventure involves fishing for Trophy Mackinaw or just taking in all of the wildlife and beauty that surrounds you, we at Wilderness Charters would welcome the opportunity to be your guide. So come experience "The Last Frontier" of the lower 48....Priest Lake!
Please send us some ice fishing photos and we may put them up here! Contact Us
476999 Hwy 95 North Ponderay, ID 83852
Phone (208) 265-8332
477181 N. Hwy 95 Ponderay, Idaho 83852
Phone (208) 255-5757
M-S: 7 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sun: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
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