Nearly 70 percent of Idaho is in public ownership and provides tremendous recreational opportunities for sportsmen and the general public. It is no surprise the remaining 30 percent that is in private ownership is some of the most productive and desirable lands in the state. The original settlers of Idaho were smart; they selected to settle in fertile valleys and areas with abundant water.
Idaho has about 120 fish species within its lakes, streams, and reservoirs. Of those, only about 40 species are native, meaning they were in Idaho naturally. The remaining 80-plus species were intentionally introduced, mostly to provide recreational fishing opportunities. Managing these fisheries means balancing recreational angling with the conservation of native fish.
My three kids and I hiked into Bernard Lake (Frank Church) and fished from 8:15 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on July 4. We made it into the lake on foot in an hour and 57 minutes - a record for us! My 11-year-old daughter caught a 23-inch cutthroat on her first cast with chartreuse Power Bait. I have been fishing this lake since the 1970's and it was the largest fish I have ever seen caught there. Big ol' toothy make! She caught two additional 12 to 16-inch cutthroat. My 9-year-old boy caught six 12 to 17-inch cutthroat using a Panther Martin spinner. He broke his arm in June and so was fishing with a full arm cast so I think that slowed him down a bit. My 14-year-old daughter caught two 14 to 16-inch cutthroat also using a Panther Martin spinner. I fished for about 15 minutes using a stimulator fly and had one take but did not hook the fish. The rest of my time was spent helping teach the kids to tie knots, undo reel messes and changing tackle. So, eleven fish total. We consumed two of the medium fish for lunch before packing out. Thank you for continuing to stock this great lake. I hope my children will take their families into this beautiful area. We will be returning to the lake in August to do a little fishing but also to do some cleanup as there is a bit more trash around the shoreline and in the fire rings than one would expect for such a pristine lake. We fished in the southwest corner where the Deadwood Outfitters usually come in down the steep trail. - Stephen B.
The Sawtooth Hatchery is posting photos and information of retuning Chinook salmon on their Facebook page. Check in out!
The Chinook harvest increased this past week on the upper Salmon River, but once again, anglers upstream of the Pahsimeroi River fared better than those downstream. Anglers downstream of the Pahsimeroi, in location codes 16 and 17, averaged 81 hours per Chinook caught and 162 hours per Chinook kept. Upstream in location codes 18 and 19, anglers averaged 18 hours per Chinook caught and 38 hours per Chinook kept. At this point in the season, an estimated 44 hatchery adult Chinook have been harvested downstream of the Pahsimeroi and 324 hatchery adult Chinook have been harvested upstream.
The Salmon River has been slowly dropping for the past week. It is currently flowing at approximately 2,410 cfs through the town of Salmon, which is down from 3,000 cfs a week ago. Mid-day water temperatures have been in the low to mid 60s, and the visibility is good. As of today, 1090 Chinook have returned to the Sawtooth hatchery and as of July 3rd, 311 Chinook have returned to the Pahsimeroi hatchery. - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region
Fishing effort and catch has really dropped on the Snake R from Dug Bar to Hells Canyon Dam. - Jaime Robertso, Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region
Chinook anglers on the upper Salmon River had mixed results this past week depending on where they decided to fish. Anglers downstream of the Pahsimeroi River, in location codes 16 and 17, were working hard to find the fish and averaged 202 hours per Chinook caught. Upstream of the Pahsimeroi, in location codes 18 and 19, anglers did much better and averaged 13 hours per Chinook caught. At this point in the season, an estimated 23 hatchery adult Chinook have been harvested downstream of Pahsimeroi and 123 hatchery adult Chinook have been harvested upstream. For more details go to the Chinook Harvest Report.
The Salmon River near the town of Salmon was on the rise most of the week, but it did begin to drop again Sunday morning. As of today, it is back down to approximately 3,000 cfs and the visibility is good. As of June 27th, 150 adult Chinook have returned back to the Pahsimeroi hatchery and as of June 30th, 157 adult Chinook have returned to the Sawtooth hatchery. - Brent Beller. Salmon Region Fisheries Technician
The bald eagle soared off the endangered species list in 2007, rebounding from 417 breeding pairs in the continental United States in 1967 to over 10,000 today. The recovery and delisting of the nation's symbol marks a major achievement in conservation. Idaho’s breeding bald eagle population has experienced a 20-fold increase, growing from about a dozen known nesting territories in 1979 to more than 250 today.
Chinook fishing opened on the upper Salmon River this past weekend, and fish were being caught right away. The river was running at approximately 3,000 cfs through the town of Salmon on Saturday and the visibility was good. Interviewed anglers harvested Chinook in all the river sections open to fishing. Anglers were having to put in a lot of effort to find them, especially in section 16 between North Fork and the Lemhi River. Fishing should improve as we move forward and more Chinook continue to move up river into the fishery while the river level keeps dropping.
As of June 19th, two adult Chinook had been trapped at the Pahsimeroi Hatchery and two adults had also been trapped at the Sawtooth Hatchery. - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician
Hi everybody, this is the Clearwater Region’s Chinook Salmon Update (6/24/14).
Because harvest shares haven’t changed from last week and many of the fisheries are ending, I’m going to jump right into what’s going on for each of the fisheries in the Clearwater Region.
Clearwater River Basin Fishery
First, I’d like to let everybody know that right now the only river reaches open to Chinook Salmon fishing in the Clearwater River Basin are the Middle Fork Clearwater, South Fork Clearwater, and Lochsa rivers and only Jacks are allowed to be harvested in these river reaches. Because we have met our overall harvest share in the Clearwater River Basin we will be closing the remaining open river reaches to all Chinook Salmon fishing at the end of fishing hours on Sunday June 29, 2014. That means on Monday June 30, 2014 the entire Clearwater River basin will be closed to Chinook Salmon fishing.
All in all I think this was a fairly good Chinook Season. The fish did come in fast and furious and as the result many of the fisheries didn’t last long, but that is the nature of the beast for Chinook Salmon fisheries. Most of the river reaches we managed got at least two or three good weeks of fishing, and unfortunately that is all about you can expect when the run doesn’t get spread out when migrating up the Columbia and Snake rivers (likely due to the lower and clearer water conditions in the Columbia during their migration.) Most of the river reaches we manage we were able to get within a few percent of our harvest goals. We may have been off a little more on a couple of the river reaches, but in reality it is very difficult for us to get more accurate than this.
Many of you had comments about how we might be able to do a better job managing this fishery in the future, and I look forward to chatting more about these ideas during our public meetings this winter.
Rapid River Fishery