Recent Articles: steelhead fishing

Upper Salmon River Weekend Report 10/05/14

The fish are here. Creel clerks began interviewing steelhead anglers on the upper Salmon River this past Thursday, October 2nd, and a harvested steelhead was found that same day. This is quite different from last year when a kept steelhead was not found until mid-October.

Fishing over the weekend was slow, but steelhead were caught in multiple areas. Angler effort was heaviest downstream of North Fork in location codes 14 and 15, but there were numerous anglers found upstream in location code 16 as well. No interviewed anglers in location code 14, downstream of the Middle Fork, reported catching any steelhead over the weekend. In location code 15, interviewed anglers kept one steelhead and released another four while fishing for 198 hours. This resulted in catch rates of  40 hours per steelhead caught and 198 hours per steelhead kept. Upstream in location code 16, anglers fished for 122 hours and kept 3 steelhead which produced a harvest rate of 41 hours per steelhead kept. Few anglers were observed upstream of the Lemhi River in location code 17, and those anglers that were interviewed did not report catching any steelhead. Check harvest data for more details.  - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region

Snake and Clearwater Steelhead Creel Survey 10/5/14

Fishing on river section 01 (downstream from Salmon River) was really good this past weekend with 7 hours to catch a steelhead. We have documented anglers on the Salmon River around Pine Bar and further up river on river section 11 and 12 (Whitebird Creek to Vinegar Creek.) However, there was very little fish caught over the weekend on this section.  Check harvest data for more details. - Jaime Robertson, Fisheries Technician,Clearwater Region

Clearwater Region Steelhead Fishery 9/16/14

Hi everybody, I have been getting bombarded with questions regarding Steelhead and Fall Chinook Salmon runs, so I figured it is about time I give you all an update.  I have been holding off until I had enough information to give you something meaningful. So here you go.

For steelhead there are typically two different runs of fish destined for Idaho that people are interested in. One is the earlier arriving Steelhead that are typically dominated by one-ocean fish and are mainly destined for the Salmon River, the Grand Ronde River, and Hells Canyon Dam. This run of steelhead is commonly referred to as the “A” run. The other is the later arriving fish that is typically dominated by larger two-ocean fish and are predominately destined for the Clearwater River basin.  This run of steelhead is commonly referred to as the “B” run.

By this time of year, typically over 90% of the A run destined for Idaho has passed over Bonneville Dam so we pretty much know what we are going to get. When we look at the number of PIT tagged steelhead destined for Idaho we estimate around 70,000 A run steelhead will pass over Lower Granite Dam. This number will vary some based on what survival is between Bonneville Dam and Lower Granite Dam.  This is very similar to what we saw the last two years.

For the B run of steelhead destined for Idaho, typically by this time anywhere from 45 to 60 percent of the run has passed over Bonneville Dam. As such, there is some uncertainty on what is yet to come. However, if the trend holds, it looks like we could get about twice as many fish this year as we saw last year.  Again this is dependent on how the run holds out at the survival we see between Bonneville Dam and Lower Granite Dam. The graph below shows how this year’s projected B run compares to previous years.  Many have asked me whether we would be implementing restrictive regulations for steelhead on the Clearwater River this year.  I can tell you that if the run holds true to our projection, no changes to the rules will be necessary.

To date 22,000 steelhead have passed over Lower Granite Dam (since June 1), and over the previous three days at least 1,300 steelhead a day have been passing over the dam. Fishing has been fairly slow (> 20 hrs/fish) in the Snake River and Clearwater River downstream of Memorial Bridge where fish can be harvested.  But expect these catch rates to improve as more fish move into Idaho. Steelhead fishing in the catch-and-release area of the Clearwater River (upstream of Memorial Bridge) has been fairly good with catch rates around 5 to 6 hours a fish.  One interesting this about this year’s A run is that over half the fish that have passed over Lower Granite Dam are two-ocean fish (9-13 lbs). So, although the catch rates haven’t been all that great, people have been pleased with the size of the fish they are catching. Now that the B run is just starting to reach Idaho, the size of the fish should just get bigger.

Here's information on the Clearwater Region's Fall Chinook salmon fishery.   - Joe Dupont, Fisheries Manager, Clearwater Region


Clearwater Salmon Weekend Update 9/23/14

Salmon Fishing on the confluence of Snake and Clearwater Rivers

This past weekend on the Clearwater River was still pretty warm weather wise but, many anglers hit the water in the mornings and evenings. Many anglers  are off the water by 12pm. The confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers, which is creel section 1 river sect. 01, is still getting the most amount of effort of the creel sections. Most people coming off the water are commenting on the ratio of unclipped vs. clipped fish. Many people are using herring and eggs for bait. Check harvest information. - Jaime Robertson Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region

Upper Salmon River Chinook Report 7/27/14

Chinook fishing on the upper Salmon River closed at the end of fishing on Sunday, July 27th.

During the previous week, anglers in location codes 16 and 17 averaged 45 hours per Chinook caught and 84 hours per Chinook kept. Upstream, in location code 18, anglers did not report harvesting a Chinook and averaged 70 hours per Chinook caught. For the season, an estimated 79 adult Chinook were harvested out of location codes 16 and 17 and an estimated 529 adult Chinook were harvested out of location codes 18 and 19.

This is the last weekly report for the upper Salmon River Chinook season. Our weekend steelhead reports will begin Monday, October 6th. - Brent Beller, Salmon Region Fishery Technician

Clearwater Chinook Update 7/18/14

Hi everybody. This will be the last update I provide regarding fishing for spring Chinook Salmon in the Clearwater Region for you die hard, never say stop Chinook anglers.

Currently the remaining river reaches open to Chinook Salmon fishing in the Clearwater Region include:

  • Little Salmon River from its mouth to Hwy 95 bridge near Pollock (adipose clipped jacks only).
  • Little Salmon River from Pollock 95 bridge to the Smokey Bolder Road (adipose clipped adults and jacks)
  • Snake River from Dug Bar to Hells Canyon Dam (adipose clipped adults and jacks)

All Chinook Salmon fishing will end on July 27 at the close of fishing hours in these waters.  After July 27 no Chinook Salmon fishing will be allowed in the Clearwater Region. 

As a heads up, the Fall Chinook Salmon season starts on September 1. It is supposed to be another great run, so it is never too early to start planning. Unfortunately we were not able to get a permit from NOAA fisheries that would allow us to harvest unclipped fish.  As a result the rules will remain the same as in past years where only adipose clipped fish may be harvested. - Joe DuPont, Clearwater Region Fishery Manager

Upper Salmon Chinook Update 7/21/14

The Chinook season in location code 19, upstream of the East Fork of the Salmon River, was closed at the end of fishing on Saturday, July 19th.  The season is still open in location codes 16, 17, and 18 until the end of fishing (10:00 PM) on Sunday, July 27th.

During the previous week, the best Chinook fishing was still found upstream of the Pahsimeroi River in location codes 18 and 19. In location code 19, which is now closed, anglers averaged 13 hours per Chinook caught and 75 hours per Chinook kept. In location code 18, anglers averaged 34 hours per Chinook caught and 85 hours per Chinook kept. Downstream of the Pahsimeroi, in location codes 16 and 17, the fishing was slower. Anglers in location code 17 averaged 106 hours per Chinook caught and 138 hours per Chinook kept while anglers in location code 16 did not report any harvest. See harvest details.

The Salmon River has continued to drop over the past week and the water temperatures keep rising. As of today, the river is flowing at approximately 1,300 cfs through the town of Salmon with mid-day water temperatures around the middle to high 60s. - Brent Beller. Salmon Region Fisheries Technician

Upper Salmon Chinook Update 7/7/14

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