Pick a waterfall on Azure Lake, a creek mouth on Murtle or Clearwater Lake, or drag a fly on Alice or Shadow Lake, all are good for a couple of nice trout.
The truly spectacular spots are all catch and release on the upper Clearwater River, areas around Bailey’s Chute, and the Horseshoe, many that can be walked into and fished from shore.
In late September, experienced fast water fishermen find paradise on the lava beds at the south end of Clearwater Lake – not for the poorly equipped or faint of heart. It’s nice to watch someone else do, but I won’t recommend it to anyone.
Ask the Boat Tour folks, the Marine Patrols on the lakes, and the local fly shops to find out what’s biting and where.
Think size 6-8 hooks.
Favorite flies: Muddler Minnows (deer hair with gold or silver wrap), leech and dragonfly nymph patterns, especially in the smaller lakes like Placid and Alice. Try dry patterns on the river, like sedges and damsel flies. Nothing too big.
Fly fishing for Salmon? You’re braver than me.
World Class catch and release fly fishing really gets going July 1st when the Clearwater River opens, but good trout fishing can be had in most of the park’s larger lakes as soon as you can get access to them in May. Check Freshwater Fishing Regulations for openings and restrictions. (add link)
Fishing From Your Boat
Trolling the drop offs, cliff bottoms, past waterfalls, and river mouths seems like the thing to do. The north end of Clearwater Lake, west end of Azure, and around Rainbow Falls are all popular destinations.
Dragging a spinner behind your canoe when paddling to your next campsite will get you a trout dinner about half the time.
Mahood Lake sees few fishermen, and has a great variety of fish, so if you’re looking for an untapped fishing spot, this might be your best bet.
Rainbow trout (and other species) in these lakes are pretty uncomplicated fish – the most common mistake I see is people using gear too big for the fish. Small #6 or #8 hooks, smaller flatfish and spinners, willow leaf, wedding ring and worm combos seem to catch trout.
Depth in some of these lakes also seems critically important, so play around with your trolling depth a bit, it may improve your chances.
Local Tackle Shacks
The really good one is the Little Fort Fly Shop, at the Highway 5 and Highway 24 junction in Little Fort. Think local knowledge. It’s also the only shop in the area dedicated solely to fishing.
Fishing tackle (and usually licences) can also be purchased in Clearwater at Home Hardware and at Super Save Gas. A few other places carry a bit of stuff, but those are the main outlets.
Fishing licenses can be purchased online – there is free Internet service at the Shell gas station on Highway 5 in Clearwater, and at the Clearwater and Blue River public libraries.
In Blue River, the supermarket has some fishing related items.