Angler success this last weekend improved in all river sections. The majority of anglers were found downstream of North Fork, but activity also increased near Ellis and steelhead were even caught in section 19. Assuming that the river stays relatively clear and doesn’t muddy up then we are expecting the fishing to only improve this coming week. - Brent Beller
The steelhead fishing this last weekend on the Upper Salmon River appeared to be highly variable. Anglers were having good success on Saturday, especially downstream of North Fork in section 15, but by Sunday the fishing had cooled off considerably. The creel data for this weekend was collected by only one employee though, so we were light on data for sections 16-18. It is very likely that the fishing was better then what the data reflected for those sections. Deadwater is officially out, and has been for about a week now, so we expect the coming weekend to be very busy in section 15. There is one other thing worth mentioning. The boat ramps that had been closed due to the ice jam have now all been cleared of ice and opened. Good luck fishing! - Brent Beller
On February 16, 2012 the Idaho Fish and Game Commission increased the bag limits for steelhead in sections 15 through 19 on the upper Salmon River from Long Tom Creek – about three-quarters of mile upstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River – to a posted boundary about 100 yards downstream of the Sawtooth Hatchery.
Effective February 16, for the remainder of spring 2012 steelhead season, the limits are six steelhead per day, 18 in possession and 40 for the 2012 spring season.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Thursday morning, February 16, increased the bag limits for steelhead in part of the upper Salmon River, effective immediately.
The daily limit is six steelhead, 18 in possession and 40 for the spring 2012 steelhead season. The increase affects river sections 15 through 19 on the upper Salmon River from Long Tom Creek – about three-quarters of mile upstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River – to a posted boundary about 100 yards downstream of the Sawtooth Hatchery.
All other seasons and rules remain unchanged. For more information on steelhead fishing in Idaho, check the Fish and Game website http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.
On April 13, 2011 we were fly fishing the Main Salmon between Challis and Ellis. Twelve fish in the boat!
- Mikel Mcintosh
I haven't missed going up and fishing for steelhead on the Salmon in 20 years. I look forward to it all year. This year I took a friend who had never been steelhead fishing. When we arrived I walked him down to a hole that has always been successful for me. I was explaining the hole to him and kind of where to cast and what to feel for. Anyway I took his pole and cast out the line (this was the very first cast of the trip) to kind of show him how to do things. It hadn't been in the water only 10 seconds and Wham!! There he was! I handed the pole to him and he reeled in his first steelhead - a wild one! Second steelhead of the day was smaller but a keeper. Good Times!!
- Lance Murray
If you think you saw Harry Potter's owl, Hedwig, recently, you are not far off. Snowy owls are moving into the northern part of the U.S. this winter. Here in Idaho, these large, mostly white owls are being seen in numerous locations. A large population of lemmings in the Arctic has contributed to high nesting success in these tundra-dwelling owls. Now that winter has arrived, young owls moving to wintering areas are not able to compete for food with adult owls. As a result, these young birds are heading south across Canada, into the United States in search of prey. Observations across the country indicate that many of the snowy owls that are being seen are, in fact, young birds.
The wide-spread movements of birds in the winter is known as an irruption. It is typically seen in species such as pine siskins, common redpolls, and red-breasted nuthatches. These seasonal movements are often related to food, with birds leaving their normal range in years when the seeds they feed upon are not abundant. Lack-of-food also causes irruptions of several species of owl, although this does not appear to be the case with the irruption of snowy owls this winter.
Snowy owls are on the wish list of many birdwatchers and wildlife photographers. These birds prefer open fields and marshes in the winter where they catch rodents and birds. They can often be seen during the day, sitting on the ground or perched on fence posts or other open perches. Wildlife watchers observing these owls need to make sure to keep their distance. In addition to their long flight, these young birds are still learning the finer points of hunting. Many are able to catch only enough prey to barely survive. Disturbing these birds will cause them to use precious energy that is needed for hunting and staying warm. Using binoculars, spotting scopes, and telephoto lenses to observe or photograph the owls will lessen the chance of getting too close and disturbing the owl. Enjoy these magnificent visitors from the far north!
Slightly warmer weather this weekend allowed more anglers to come out then the previous weekend, and they had more success. Fishing actually improved this weekend with the hours per fish caught dropping or holding steady in all sections. The season is definitely slowing down and beginning to wrap up, but as long as above freezing temperatures continue to persist and keep the slush ice away, the fishing should remain solid.
Also, this will be the last report issued for the Fall 2011 season.
"My Dad and I up at Stanley with a couple of steelhead. Mine is BIGGER."
- John Keaney
"It was a lot of fun to catch this fish on the Salmon River just upstream from White Bird. This was my first Idaho Steelhead."
- A.J. Balukoff