Steelhead Fishing in Idaho
- More than 50% of all Columbia River basin steelhead come from
- Anglers reeled in nearly 100,000 steelhead in Idaho in 2010.
- 141,000 hatchery adult steelhead are forecast to return to Idaho
- Anglers can fish for steelhead 24 hours a day in Idaho. Nighttime
fishing is popular on the Clearwater River.
- Anglers can fish for steelhead somewhere in Idaho from August
1 until May 31.
- The Idaho state record steelhead is 30 lbs 2 oz. and was caught
in the Clearwater River in 1973.
- The Clearwater, Snake and Salmon Rivers are suited to all styles
of fishing - drifting, backtrolling, bobber fishing, spin fishing or fly fishing
- from shore or from the boat.
- Spey casting - a specialized fly casting technique used to catch
large fish in big rivers with a two-handed fly rod - is used by steelhead anglers
across the state.
- Steelhead anglers who also hunt upland birds frequently combine
fall fishing with hunting for chukar, grouse and quail.
- In Idaho anglers with a two-pole validation can use two rods while
- Some of Idaho's best steelhead fishing occurs in wilderness areas
which include stretches of the Snake and Salmon Rivers.
- Sections of the Salmon River popular with steelhead anglers flows
through the River of No Return and Gospel Hump Wilderness areas.
- Idaho's steelhead are often classified into two groups, A-run
and B-run, based on their size and ocean life history.
- A-run steelhead generally spend one year in the ocean and tend
to range from 4 to 8 pounds and 23 to 26 inches in length. They typically start
arriving in the Clearwater River in July.
- B-run steelhead typically spend 2 or 3 years in the ocean before
returning to their home rivers to spawn. They generally range between 10 to 15 pounds
and are 31 to 34 inches long.
- Steelhead that spend 3 years in the ocean are often longer than
37 inches and weigh more than 20 pounds.
- Most of the larger B-run steelhead return to the Clearwater River
drainage and some return to tributaries of the Salmon River.
- Idaho's B-run steelhead typically start entering the Clearwater
River in September.
- An adult steelhead has the ability to spawn more than once, unlike
salmon which spawn and die.
- A spawned out steelhead or 'kelt' may try to return to the ocean.
- Idaho adult steelhead travel farther than any steelhead in the
Continental U.S. to return to its spawning grounds.
- Adult steelhead travel 500 to 900 miles to return to their spawning
grounds in Idaho.
- 7.6 million hatchery smolts were released into Idaho waters between
March and May 2010. In one or two years 1% to 4% will return to Idaho as adult steelhead.
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