Hi all, seeing I haven’t provided you an update recently, I thought I would let you know how the steelhead season is progressing and what we have forecasted for the upcoming spring/summer Chinook salmon season.
If you are wondering how steelhead fishing in the Clearwater has been recently, it actually has been fairly good with catch rates averaging less than 10 hrs/fish during most weeks. Fishing in the North Fork has, on the other hand, has been unusually slow. It should start picking up as the Dworshak fish start moving upstream. We haven’t been monitoring the Snake or Salmon rivers recently, so I don’t have updates for you on those rivers.
Some rumors were being spread that, due to the lower run size for Dworshak Hatchery bound steelhead, IDFG would be reducing limits or shutting down the steelhead season to make sure brood needs will be met. Well, let me assure you, this is a rumor and we have no intentions of changing the steelhead season. We are monitoring the number of steelhead ascending Lower Granite Dam that are bound for Dworshak Hatchery as well as how many of these fish are being harvested. This is what I can tell you. At the end of December, we estimated that around 13,000 hatchery released steelhead bound for the Clearwater River basin have passed over Lower Granite Dam. By the time the run is over this spring, we suspect around 15,000 Clearwater River bound hatchery fish will have passed over Lower Granite Dam. To give you some perspective, runs of Clearwater River hatchery fish have ranged from 20,000 to 57,000 fish over the last 11 years.