Recent Articles: Clearwater

Clearwater Steelhead Fishing 3/22/15

Clearwater Catch 2015

The South Fork of the Clearwater had a lot of anglers fishing along its banks this past week. Saturday had a high count of 114 anglers on the South Fork. We observed anglers fishing as far as mile marker 23 on highway 14. Many anglers are in drifting boats. It is also the area we documented with the highest amount of effort. Fishing has dropped off on the main stem (river sect 03) and the North Fork (river sect 05) but both areas still have good catch rates. The little Salmon River had the next highest effort and catch rates were good as well. The main stem of the Salmon River had very low effort but river flows were high which impacted effort and catch rates. So if you do not want to deal with the crowds the main stem of the Clearwater or the North Fork might be good areas to try.  Check Harvest Report for more details. - Jaime Robertson, Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region

 

Clearwater Steelhead Fishing 3/16/15

Anglers in the Clearwater Region experienced some of the best catch rates observed so far in the Spring 2015 Steelhead season. The catch rate of 5 hours/fish was documented on the Clearwater River below Orofino, South Fork of the Clearwater River, the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam and on the Little Salmon River. Anglers on the North Fork of the Clearwater produced a catch rate of 7 hours/fish.

Early in the week, river flows were low to average with clear water clarity. Through the week, flows increased and water clarity became cloudy due to rain. High flows and muddy water conditions were observed by Sunday afternoon on the South Fork of the Clearwater and the Little Salmon River. For more details go to the Harvest Report- Amanda Schmidt, Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region

Clearwater Steelhead Fishing Report 3/13/15

South Fork Clearwater Steelhead 2015

Above average weather temperatures and lots of sunshine made for a beautiful weekend for anglers in the region. Although stream flows were above normal for this time of year, catch rates were fantastic. The best catch rates were documented on the Little Salmon River at 5 hours per fish caught. Anglers also did very well on the South Fork Clearwater over the weekend. Check Harvest Report for more details. - Amanda Schmidt, Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region

Clearwater Steelhead Fishing Report 2/17/15

As stream flows began to decline the past week, angling effort increased and produced some great catch rates through the region on the Clearwater, Snake and Salmon Rivers.

Most of the success on the Clearwater River downstream of Orofino occurred just below the mouth of the North Fork and above the mouth of the North Fork near the Dworshak National Fish Hatchery.  

The North Fork of the Clearwater was a popular fishing area and some anglers did exceptionally well. Inconsistent catch rates may have been contributed to the increased flows released from Dworshak Dam.

Angler effort and success picked up on the South Fork of the Clearwater over the weekend. The best catch rates were observed below the Mt. Idaho grade and near the town of Harpster.

In the lower Salmon River drainage, the best catch rates were observed on the Little Salmon River.

Anglers who were contacted on the Snake River were fishing at the tail race below Hells Canyon Dam. Got to Harvest Results for more detials.  - Amanda Schmidt,Fisheries Technician, Idaho Fish & Game

 

Ice Fishing Report - Cascade Reservoir Feb 12, 2015

If you're a bird watcher this week's report might just make you happy. With all the open water on Cascade there has been a plethora of waterfowl visiting the area, lots of ducks, geese, and swans. If you're an ice fisherman the outlook isn't so optimistic. With all the warm and wet weather we've been experiencing this past week the ice on cascade has gone for the wayside. The south end of the lake I would deem not safe. Besides the large open water gap between the bank and the ice itself there lies many more problems throughout the southern end of the lake. These problems would include but are not limited to large areas of open water, large cracks with open water gaps between them, and some rotten ice.  With that being said I cannot say that anyone should attempt to fish on cascade south of Sugarloaf Island.  This includes all the way from sugarloaf to the town of cascade.   I have attached a few photos that I took today of Ice conditions on the southern end of the lake. 

Now that we’re done being pessimistic, the north end of the lake continues to be fishable, with one exception.  That exception is finding a spot to access the ice.  With the influx of water from the thaw the level of the reservoir has increased causing the ice to pull away from the shore.  Along with this the ice closest to shore is still fairly weak and soft.  But if you can find your way onto the ice things are looking good.  The ice depth around poison creek were still 6-7” of solid ice.  There was a few places that you can actually access the ice around poison creek and the surrounding area.  The area around boulder creek I wasn’t able to find a place that I could access the ice without going over the top of my boots and getting wet.  If you’re a diehard ice fisherman and need to get that last little bit of fishing in the north end is where it can happen.  With that being said extreme caution should be used especially right now with warm temperatures and thawing ice. 

I guess I could mention that fishing still has continued to be fairly slow with those that have made it out on the ice.  There seems to be a greater ratio of big to small fish but the overall number of fish being caught is fairly low. 

DP - We lost two anglers on Winchester Lake this past week when they fell through the ice.  Please be careful and if there's a doubt - save yourself to fish another day.

 

 

Clearwater Steelhead Fishing Report 2/8/15

Fishing conditions and catch rates on the Clearwater River downstream from Orofino were good during the week but diminished over the weekend. On Saturday, cloudy water conditions were observed and water clarity decreased as water levels began to rise. By Sunday afternoon and the river flows reached 22,900 cubic feet per second causing swift and muddy water conditions with floating debris. The North Fork of the Clearwater was the most popular and productive fishing area over the weekend for both boat and shore anglers who were avoiding the muddy water conditions on the mainstem. On Sunday morning, approximately 100 anglers were observed fishing on the North Fork by IDFG personnel. The South Fork of the Clearwater was not monitored during the week, but anglers reported that they had caught more fish during the week days before water conditions began to become less favorable over the weekend. Saturday afternoon, flows on the South Fork began to rise and on Sunday water conditions were high and muddy. The majority of success over the weekend occurred as high upstream as the Mt. Idaho grade. Very little effort was observed on the Salmon River downstream of Riggins over the weekend due to the high muddy flow coming from the Little Salmon River. Most of the effort occurred above the mouth of the Little Salmon in river locations 12 and 13. A majority of the anglers checked from location 13 were anglers on guided trips. - Amanda Schmidt. Fisheries Technician, Idaho Fish & Game Clearwater Region

Cascade Reservoir Fishing Condition Report January 23, 2015

This week's ice conditions improved from last week with ice reported between 6-8" everywhere around the lake with some spots with 10+ inches. With that being said we also had a warm spelled sweep through the area on Sunday with rain and warm temps causing the snow that was on top of the ice to melt.  Since we have had cold temps the last couple of days that has frozen solid adding another layer of ice to what was already accumulated.  Since there is no snow on the ice, the conditions are very slick so caution should be had.  There have been a large number of people taking ATV’s and Snowmobiles out on the ice, although caution should be used when taking heavier equipment out on the ice.

The pressure this past week peaked on Saturday which saw a lot of anglers scattered throughout the entire lake both North and South.  But with the warm spell on Sunday the fishing pressure dropped quickly with very few anglers being seen on Sunday as well as through the first part of this week.  Even with the increased pressure on Saturday catch rates were still relatively slow.  Once again perch angler reports of mostly smaller fish and very few quality sized fish coming out.  The trout fishing on the South end of the lake near the city boat ramp and Blue Heron boat ramp has proved to be somewhat productive with some nice size trout being taken early this week.

This coming Saturday (1/24) the Hardwater Classic ice fishing derby is being held so pressure through the later part of this week into the weekend should increase significantly.  Hopefully with this increased fishing pressure more quality size fish will be found and anglers will have a better idea as to where to focus their effort.  Until then the best of luck to anyone out in search of perch through the ice.

Related to ice fishing, here is a picture from South Korea of what real ice fishing competition looks like.

Clearwater Steelhead 1/20/15

Tuesday was the first day the Clearwater steelhead fishery was sampled this past week. The Ahsahka Check Station was visited by many happy anglers who had fished the North Fork that day. One shore angler had kept his limit of 3 steelhead and had fished for less than 3 hours. The largest fish checked for the week was a 37 inch female caught by an angler fishing from the Ahsahka Bridge. Anglers fishing the North Fork on Friday and over the weekend were not as successful as those who fished on Tuesday.

Boat anglers fishing the main Clearwater River in the Orofino area on Friday had a very successful day. Multiple anglers who obtained their limit of steelhead were checked by creel personnel. Heavy rain on Saturday caused the Clearwater to become high and muddy on Sunday, but catch rates did not seem to be effected. Most of Sunday’s effort occurred between Cherry Lane and Orofino. - Amanda Schmidt, Fisheries Technician, Idaho Fish & Game

Cascade Reservoir Ice Fishing Conditions and Report 1/16/15

This week’s ice conditions have improved greatly since the previous week.  On the North end of lake(Boulder Creek, Poison Creek) there was a consistent 5-7” of ice extending out a few hundred yards from shore.  There are reports that ice on the South End(Sugarloaf, City Boat Ramp) is also in the 4-6” range.  With cold temperatures that ice depth should increase.  Angling pressure on both ends of the lake over the last week was fairly low with a majority of the pressure occurring over the weekend.  The most pressure was found on the north end of the lake, due in large to better ice conditions.  There was very little effort seen on the south end of the lake over the weekend.  Fishing success varied amongst groups of anglers but the majority of people were encountering tough fishing.  The majority of fish being caught were small (4-6”) with a few bigger fish being found.  There have been reports of some nice perch being caught, although this has not been reflected in the creel data gathered.  Hopefully as more people start fishing the success will pick up.

2015 Spring & Summer Chinook Salmon Return Estimates

Get your salmon fishing pole tuned-up and your boat ready to hit the water. Biologists have made their preseason forecasts for the 2015 Chinook salmon returns to Idaho.

Early indications show more adult Chinook salmon returning in 2015 than we saw in 2014 - which ranks as one of the best Chinook fishing seasons in years.