A forty minute drive East of Spokane brings you to Wolf Lodge Bay of Coeur D'Alene Lake to watch bald eagles soaring over you, diving down to catch the spawning kokanee in the ice cold water below.
Happy Birthday to me!! I turned 31 this year--holy moly! I'll never complain about getting old though--I still have so much to see and experience. My birthday always lands either on Thanksgiving or right around it, and this year it was the Sunday after Thanksgiving. After all that food, dessert (my family prefers dessert over dinner), and the men's sports talk, I was ready to get out for some fresh air!!
The bald eagle show comes to town every November and lasts through January, and it is quite the show indeed. Eagles migrate into the north Idaho panhandle, driven by the promise of a kokanee salmon feast!! Happy Thanksgiving for them too, right?! Kokanee are landlocked sockeye salmon that come to the gravel shores of Lake Coeur D'Alene to spawn every year. While it's easy to be distracted by the dozens of eagles above, don't forget to look down to the shore as the kokanee's bright red bodies are easily visible!
Wildlife officials have already counted up to 55 eagles as of late November with the numbers peaking around Christmas time--up to 200 eagles per season make their way here! WOWWY!
Driving east along I-90, as Wolf Lodge Bay comes into view on your right, you will already start to see the giants soaring in the sky along with their seagull friends to pick up the left over scraps! Take the Wolf Lodge Bay exit, and turn right on Highway 97. There is a pullout with restrooms that you can pull into and watch the show from your toasty warm car... we drove a little further, almost to the Mineral Ridge trailhead parking area and pulled off on a small shoulder. There is room only for a couple vehicles and certainly not a lot of space to walk along the road-- be very careful if you follow our footsteps along the guardrail!
We watched for almost an hour with eagles diving down right before us. We could see the salmon all along the shore, including many that had already perished after spawning. Then, in quite the exciting surprise, one eagle scooped up a snack and flew right behind us on a lower branch.
We watched this guy until our fingers were frozen before heading back to the car! I already want to go back!! If you want a more exotic way to watch the show, the Coeur D'Alene cruise boats adventure out to Wolf Lodge Bay for a two hour long ride to see the eagles. Check out their site at https://www.cdaresort.com/discover/cruises/tickets for dates and times-- they are limited!
While you are there, hike up the Mineral Ridge trail for some amazing views of Coeur D'Alene Lake (blog to come!). Maybe strap on some snowshoes if you adventure late enough in the season! Until then, happy eagle watching!