Salmon

Steelhead Fishing on Upper Salmon River 11/17/14

Steelhead fishing on the upper Salmon River was effectively shut down this past week due to the below average temperatures we have been having. Slush ice has been flowing through Salmon since Tuesday of last week and as of today the ice jam is upstream of North Fork near the Bobcat access site. Anglers were found below Deadwater over the weekend but in very low numbers.

Downstream of the Middle Fork, in location code 14, anglers averaged 16 hours per steelhead caught and 363 hours per steelhead kept. Upstream, in location code 15, anglers averaged 11 hours per steelhead caught and 31 hours per steelhead kept. There are some open areas of water downstream of Deadwater and fish were caught on Sunday, but slush ice is flowing in most areas and shelf ice has already formed.

The data included in this report for location codes 16 and 17 was collected on Monday the 10th and no angler effort has been observed in those areas since. Anglers within location code 16 averaged 8 hours per steelhead caught and 13 hours per steelhead kept, while upstream in location code 17, anglers averaged 7 hours per steelhead caught and no steelhead were reported kept.  Check Harvest Reports for more details.

As of November 17, the Salmon River through the town of Salmon is flowing at approximately 1,130 cfs with the water temperature near freezing and good visibility.  - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region

Upper Salmon Weekend Steelhead Creel Survey 11/02/14

Steelhead fishing on the upper Salmon River continued to improve this past week. Interviewed anglers downstream of the Middle Fork, in location code 14, averaged 12 hours per steelhead caught and 58 hours per steelhead kept. Upstream, in location code 15, interviewed anglers averaged 13 hours per steelhead caught and 26 hours per steelhead kept, which were large improvements over the previous week. Interviewed anglers in location code 16, between North Fork and the Lemhi River, averaged 8 hours per steelhead caught and 12 hours per steelhead kept. Between the Lemhi and Pahsimeroi Rivers, in location code 17, interviewed anglers averaged 11 hours per steelhead caught and 14 hours per steelhead kept.  Go to Harvest Rerport for more details.

As of November 3rd, the Salmon River through the town of Salmon was flowing at approximately 1,440 cfs with water temperatures in the mid-40s and good visibility. - Brent Beller,  Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region

Steelhead Fishing on the Salmon River 10/19/14

This week, we have shifted away from reporting data only from the weekend to reporting creel data from the entire previous week (Monday-Sunday). This week's report covers the time period of 10/13/14 through 10/19/14.

Steelhead fishing on the upper Salmon River picked up during the previous week as more fish, and anglers, began showing up in the region. From Monday the 13th through Sunday the 19th, interviewed anglers in location code 14, downstream of the Middle Fork, averaged 11 hours per steelhead caught and 85 hours per steelhead kept. Upstream, in location code 15, interviewed anglers averaged 16 hours per steelhead caught and 48 hours per steelhead kept. Between the Lemhi River and North Fork, in location code 16, interviewed anglers averaged 15 hours per steelhead caught and 38 hours per steelhead kept. Angler effort was the lightest upstream of the Lemhi River in location code 17, but interviewed anglers were able to find some steelhead and averaged 16 hours per steelhead caught or kept. For more details, go to the Harvest Report.

As of Monday, October 20th, the Salmon River was flowing at 1,160 cfs through the town of Salmon with water temperatures in the mid to upper 40s. - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region

Steelhead in the Upper Salmon 10/12/14

This past weekend a weather front that made its way through the area hindered steelhead anglers with precipitation and strong winds, but anglers were still able to find some steelhead. Interviewed anglers in location code 14, downstream of the Middle Fork, had the best success with an average catch rate of 16 hours per steelhead and a harvest rate of 140 hours per steelhead. The majority of angler effort was located in location code 15, between North Fork and the Middle Fork. Interviewed anglers there averaged 44 hours per steelhead caught and 400 hours per steelhead kept. Between the Lemhi River and North Fork, in location code 16, interviewed anglers averaged 48 hours per steelhead caught and 190 hours per steelhead kept.  Angler effort in location code 17, upstream of the Lemhi River, was once again minimal and no steelhead were reported caught. For more details check out the Harvest Report. 

The Salmon River is currently running near 1,200 cfs through the town of Salmon with good visibility. The water temperature has been in the low 50s for the past couple of weeks, but with colder weather moving in it should begin to drop into the 40s.  - Brent Beller,  Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region

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

Nationwide, Fishing Continues to Gain New Followers

Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) Releases Special Report on Fishing

Report Reveals Nationwide Increased Participation among Women Youth Hispanics

The lure of recreational fishing remains strong, according to the 2014 Special Report on Fishing, recently released by RBFF and the Outdoor Foundation. According to the report, there were 4.1 million newcomers to fishing in 2013, an increase from the 3.5 million average new anglers per year between 2007 and 2012. Additionally, women, children and Hispanics showed increases in participation.

"We're happy to see new, diverse and young audiences take up fishing at historic rates," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "These numbers reinforce our initiatives to engage and retain first-time and Hispanic anglers, and validate our overall efforts to increase fishing license and boat registration sales, which contribute to state fish and wildlife conservation efforts."

"Fishing and boating represent two critical outdoor activities that are key to keeping Americans involved in the outdoors,” said Christine Fanning, Executive Director of the Outdoor Foundation. “We’re thrilled to partner, once again, with the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation on this important research project."

The sixth annual report details fishing participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geography.

TOP 10 REPORT LEARNINGS:

Women anglers – Almost 42% of first-time fishing participants are female
Number of outings for Hispanic participants – Hispanic fishing participants average 24.4 days on the water per year; almost five days more than the average for all fishing participants (19.7 days)
Youth – Fishing participation as a child has a powerful effect on future participation - 83.7% of adult anglers fished as a child
Influencers – Parents, siblings and friends continue to be the largest influencers to the introduction of fishing; specifically, parents introduce 81.8% of 6-12 year olds and 76.6% of 13-17 year olds
Social – Over 83% of fishing trips involve more than one person
Most popular – Freshwater fishing remains the most popular type of fishing (almost 38 million), with more than 3x the number of participants as saltwater fishing
Fly fishing – 14% percent of fly fishing participants were new to the sport
Spontaneous – Most fishing trips are spontaneous or planned within a week of the trip (79%)
Reasons to fish – Catching fish and enjoying the sounds/smells of nature. Over 80% of participants report catching fish during their last fishing trip
License purchase – 27% of fishing participants (of license-buying age) are not buying fishing licenses, which means revenue used for conservation is being left on the table

Sure Sign That Fall is Close

Kokanee Salmon add Color to Idaho Streams

As autumn approaches many outdoor adventurers enjoy watching a natural transformation that changes the look of Idaho’s high country; while the autumn sky is filled with the colors of changing leaves, so are many small Idaho streams filled with the color of spawning kokanee salmon.

Kokanee are a land-locked version of the anadromous sockeye salmon which spend most of their adult lives in the ocean then return to places like the Stanley Basin to spawn.  The domesticated kokanee planted in Idaho reservoirs and lakes originated in Washington state in the 1930’s and 40’s.  They have been successfully introduced into many lakes and reservoirs around Idaho including:  Lake Pend Oreille, Lake Coeur d’Alene, Priest Lake, Dworshak Reservoir, Payette Lake, Warm Lake, Lucky Peak, Arrowrock Reservoir, Anderson Ranch Reservoir,  Deadwood Reservoir, Island Park Reservoir and Ririe Reservoir – just to name a few.

Kokanee can grow to 18 inches but the “typical” Idaho kokanee is 10 to 14 inches long. Many would argue they are the most flavorful freshwater fish found anywhere.

Kokanee spend much of their lives eating plankton and aquatic insects, following food sources in the water column. In spring and early summer they can be found in as little as five feet of water, but as temperatures warm in the summer, kokanee go as deep as 20 to 30 feet. Immature kokanee are silver to blue (hence the north Idaho name “blueback”) with a “football” shaped body. Like their salt water cousins the sockeye, their meat is pink to red and is highly prized for its rich flavor.

Kokanee reach maturity and spawn between the ages of 2 and 4 - depending on how fast they grow. When they prepare to spawn, their colors shift to a vibrant red with a green head. This transformation makes kokanee highly visible in streams and along shorelines – not only to people but to predatory birds.  In north Idaho, large groups of bald eagles congregate to prey on the spawning fish. This provides wildlife watchers multiple opportunities to observe nature in action.

Early spawning Kokanee are visible in Mores Creek, the Middle Fork Boise, South Fork Boise and Deadwood River as early as Labor Day Weekend.  Spawning in north Idaho generally starts a few weeks later, and peaks around Thanksgiving.