chinook fishing

Clearwater & Salmon River Steelhead Update 10/22/12

River sections 01 and 03 had the best catch rates for steelhead this week at 13hrs/catch and 9hrs/catch. The North Fork of the Clearwater has documented harvest this week of 6 steelhead. The Salmon river catch rates were poor this past week.   - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Region Fisheries Technician

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS For Weekend of 10/22/2012    
River Location No. Anglers Checked No. of Hours No. of Fish Kept No. of Fish Released Total Fish Hours/Fish Water
caught kept Temp (F) Conditions
01   Snake River - Downstream from Salmon River 82 392 3 27 30 13 131 58 CLR
02   Snake R. - Salmon R. to Hells Canyon Dam 22 151 2 2 4 38 76 60 CLR
03  Clearwater River - Mouth to Memorial Bridge 58 208 13 9 22 9 16 51 CL
05   North Fork Clearwater R 25 126 6 0 6 21 21 50 CLR
10    Salmon R. - downstream from Whitebird Cr. 12 45 0 1 1 45 -- 50 CDY
11   Salmon R. - Whitebird Cr. to Little Salmon R 61 357 4 4 8 45 89 50 CDY
12   Salmon R. - Little Salmon R. to Vinegar Cr. 150 845 10 9 19 44 84 46 CDY
13   Salmon R. - Vinegar Cr. to South Fork Salmon R.. 25 305 1 2 3 102 305 48 CD
14   Salmon R. - - South Fork Salmon R. to Middle Fork Salmon R. 8 192 0 4 4 48 -- 46 CDY

Upper Salmon River Steelhead Report 10/07/12

Hello again, this is the first weekend update for the 2012 upper Salmon River fall steelhead fishery. These updates will be sent out each week from now until December 3rd and they summarize the creel data collected during the previous Saturday and Sunday.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game technicians began creel activities for the upper Salmon River steelhead fishery on October 4th. Since then, we have observed steelhead caught from Salmon downstream to Corn Cr. None of the river sections were very busy this weekend and many holes were left open. The majority of anglers were found in section 15 between the North Fork and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Section 15 also had the best hours per fish caught at 13 hours. Section 16 was a ways behind at 37 hours. With more steelhead moving into the sections every day, though, we expect the catch rates to only improve as we move into mid-October. Along with better catch rates, more anglers are also expected. Section 17 received very limited effort this past weekend and no data was collected. We will begin regular creel activities in section 17 this week, and that data will be included in the weekend report next week.

Two other things that are worth getting the word out on are the river level and the condition of the river corridor downstream of North Fork. First, the water level of the Salmon River is quite low for this time of year. As of today, it is 78% of normal just downstream of Cove Cr. I would suggest using smaller weights than last year because the current in most holes is much weaker than a year ago when it was above average. The second issue I wanted to discuss was the Mustang Fire. While the vast majority of the north side of the river corridor in section 15 did burn this summer, it was primarily an understory burn on the slopes near the river. Very few trees were lost on those slopes and in some places it is already difficult to see where the fire burned through. It is my hope that anglers will not be deterred from fishing in section 15 because, in most places, it is just as scenic as ever. Hope everyone has a great week.  - Brent Beller, Salmon Region Fisheries Technician

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS For Weekend of 10/07/2012    
River Location No. Anglers Checked No. of Hours No. of Fish Kept No. of Fish Released Total Fish Hours/Fish Water
caught kept Temp (F) Conditions
14   Salmon R. - South Fork Salmon R. to Middle Fork Salmon R 33 196.5 0 3 3 66 -- 46 CLR
15   Salmon R. - Middle Fork Salmon R. to North Fork Salmon R 61 165.5 8 5 13 13 21 44 CLR
16   Salmon R. - North Fork Salmon R. to Lemhi R. 27 110 0 3 3 37 -- 44 CLR

Fall Chinook Update on Clearwater and Snake Rivers 10/02/12

Section 3 of the Snake River (Couse Crk –Cache Crk) had great catch rates this week and the highest amount of adults and jacks harvested. The guides are hitting Heller Bar hard and bringing in a lot of jacks this past week. Almost every Chinook that our clerks have been able to get their hands on has beeped positive for coded wire. We also saw a left opercule punch on a jack up at Heller Bar. I have not yet received Section 5 data, but as soon as I do I will get it out to everyone. - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Fisheries Technician

Steelhead Creel Survey 9/23/12

Hours to catch were decent this week on the Snake River in Section 1 (Blue Bridge –ID/WA boundary). Anglers commented that fishing dropped off when Dworshak stopped letting water out. Section 3  (Couse Creek- Cache creek) documented harvest over this past weekend. Section 5 on the Snake has still not had any documented harvest. On the  Clearwater’s catch rates for Chinook this week are poor, but the steelhead catch rates were decent.  - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Fishery Technician

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS For Weekend of 9/23/2012    
River Location No. Anglers Checked No. of Hours No. of Fish Kept No. of Fish Released Total Fish    Hours/Fish      Water
Caught Kept Temp (F) Conditions
01  Snake River -  Downstream from Salmon River 116 588 15 22 37 16 39 66 CLR
02  Snake River - Salmon River to Hells Canyon Dam  4 17 0 0 0 -- -- 68 CLR
03  Clearwater River - Mouth to Memorial Bridge 92 438 16 14 30 15 27 54 CLR
03A  Clearwater  - Memorial Bridge to Orofino Bridge 11 74 0 5 5 15 -- 54 CLR

 

Snake River Fall Chinook Update 9/24/12

 

Snake River Fall Chinook Sport Fishery Update for September 24, 2012      
                     
Snake River       Total  Total    Breakdown of salmon released  
  # Salmon Kept Salmon  Salmon ad-clipped  non ad-clipped   
  Adults Jacks Total Released Caught adults jacks adults jacks  
Sec 1 29 24 53 139 192 0 8 101 30  
Sec 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  
Sec 3 10 11 21 20 41 0 0 15 5  
Sec 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  
Sec 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0  
Total 39 35 74 159 233 0 8 116 35  
Snake R. Season Total 108 80 188 302 490 52 8 178 64  
                     
    # Angler Hours Hours/Fish        
    Boat Bank Total caught kept        
Sec 1   4237 0 4237 22 80        
Sec 2   375 0 375 - -        
Sec 3   434 41 475 12 23        
Sec 4   0 0 0 - -        
Sec 5   0 0 0 - -        
Total   5046 41 5087 22 69        
Snake R. Season Total   16324 100 16424 34 87        
Section Descriptions:
Section 1:  ID/WA State line (rm 139.3) upstream to US Highway 12 Bridge (rm 139.5)
Section 2: US Highway 12 Bridge upstream to Couse Creek boat ramp (rm 157.6)
Section 3: Couse Creek boat ramp upstream to OR/WA border (rm 176)
Section 4: OR/WA border upstream to Sheep Creek (rm 229.5)
Section 5: Sheep Creek upstream to Hells Canyon Dam (rm 247)

Snake River Fall Chinook Creel Survey 9/18/12

 

Snake River Fall Chinook Sport Fishery Update
September 18, 2012
   
   
Expanded Effort and Catch estimates for interval 3 (September 10-September 16, 2012)
                   
Snake River       Total Total Breakdown of salmon released
  # Salmon Kept Salmon Salmon ad-clipped non ad-clipped
  Adults Jacks Total Released Caught adults jacks adults jacks
Sec 1 58 36 94 76 170 36 0 22 18
Sec 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sec 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sec 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sec 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 58 36 94 76 170 36 0 22 18
Snake R. Season Total 69 45 114 143 257 52 0 62 29
                   
    # Angler Hours Hours/Fish      
    Boat Bank Total caught kept      
Sec 1   5375 0 5375 32 57      
Sec 2   432 0 432 - -      
Sec 3   0 0 0 - -      
Sec 4   0 0 0 - -      
Sec 5   0 59 59 - -      
Total   5807 59 5866 35 62      
Snake R. Season Total   11278 59 11337 44 99      

 

Section Descriptions:
Section 1: ID/WA State line (rm 139.3) upstream to US Highway 12 Bridge (rm 139.5)
Section 2: US Highway 12 Bridge upstream to Couse Creek boat ramp (rm 157.6)
Section 3: Couse Creek boat ramp upstream to OR/WA border (rm 176)
Section 4: OR/WA border upstream to Sheep Creek (rm 229.5)
Section 5: Sheep Creek upstream to Hells Canyon Dam (rm 247)

 

Clearwater Creel Survey Update 9/15/12

Creel section 1 of the Snake River saw the highest amount of effort this past weekend/week for Steelhead & Chinook. Saturday morning saw at least 70 boats out in the confluence, but most fishermen’s comments were that it was still pretty slow out there. However, the catch rates were pretty good for steelhead at 14hrs/fish to catch and 23hrs/fish to keep. The Clearwater harvest section (mouth of the Clearwater to Memorial bridge) only documented a total of nine fish caught and catch rates were not the greatest. The Clearwater did not have any documented harvest of hatchery adult Chinook while section 1 of the Snake documented 58 harvested hatchery adult Chinook. Water temps are still pretty warm out there but the water clarity is clear.  - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Fish Technician

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS  For Weekend of:  9/15/2012
                                                                           NO. ANGLERS        NO.        NO. OF          NO. OF  FISH      TOTAL
SECTION     RIVER LOCATION                             CHECKED         HOURS   FISH KEPT        RELEASED           FISH
  01            Snake R.
                    - downstream from Salmon R.                 83                   386             17                  10                   27
  02            Snake R.
                     - Salmon R. to Hells Canyon Dam           7                     34                0                    0                    0
  03            Clearwater River
                    - Mouth to Memorial Bridge                     59                  322              5                     4                    9
  03A         Clearwater River
                    - Memorial Bridge to Orofino Bridge **    39                  185               0                    19                  19
 
                                                                                                     HRS/FISH              WATER           WATER       
01             Snake R.                                                              CAUGHT     KEPT       TEMP (F)     CONDITIONS***
                                - downstream from Salmon R.                  14               23                 70                   CLR
02             Snake R.
                                 - Salmon R. to Hells Canyon Dam            --               --                   70                   CLR
03             Clearwater River
                                - Mouth to Memorial Bridge                      36              64                  54                   CLR
03A         Clearwater River
                                - Memorial Bridge to Orofino Bridge **     10               --                   54                   CLR

Clearwater Steelhead Weekend Creel Numbers 9/8/12

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS  (Unexpanded Estimates*)

        For Weekend of:  9/8/2012

                                                                        NO. ANGLERS                       NO. OF        NO. OF  FISH                                            

                                                                          CHECKED             NO.      FISH KEPT   RELEASED   TOTAL   WATER              

SECTION          RIVER LOCATION                                       HOURS                                                       FISH     TEMP (°F)      

01             Snake R. –

                    Downstream from Salmon R.                      64             268            4                 7                         11               68    

02             Clearwater River –

                    Mouth to Memorial Bridge                          17               71             1                 0                          1                52    

03A          Clearwater River

                    Memorial Bridge to Orofino Bridge **         15              76             0                 0                          0                 54  

 

    * The values shown are unexpanded sample data and estimates of fishing effort and success.

   ** Before October 15, steelhead fishing upstream of Memorial Bridge of U.S. Highway 12 at Lewiston is catch-and-release only.

  *** CLR = clear; CDY = cloudy; MDY = muddy.

 

Update on Fall Chinook and Steelhead Fishing 9/05/12

The good news is that water temperatures are finally starting to cool down in the Snake River and higher numbers of steelhead are now starting to pass over Ice Harbor Dam (first dam on the Snake River).  You should expect those fish to start entering Idaho in about a week, so get ready if you like to fish the lower Clearwater or Snake Rivers. 

Now for the bad news.  Based on the number of steelhead we are seeing come over Bonneville Dam, it appears that the A-run steelhead (generally one-ocean fish that come in earlier) will come in lower than expected.  We are projecting that about 68,000 hatchery A-run fish will enter Idaho.  If you are wondering whether this is good or not, I can tell you that we have not seen this low of return since 1999.  Right now it is too early to project the B-run (generally two-ocean fish that come in later), but it doesn’t look good for them as well.  Early models are projecting that about 12,000 hatchery “B” fish will enter Idaho, but this could change considerably as it is still early.  If this comes true, it will also be the lowest B-run we have seen since 1999.  We aren’t sure why these runs are coming in so low as it seemed that river conditions were good during their out migration and ocean conditions when they entered salt water didn’t seem to be poor.  I obviously have much more to learn about steelhead survival.    I hope that this forecast won’t discourage you from fishing as often what you will see in these types of situations is lower fishing pressure which often results in higher catch rates.  In fact, I can recall one of my most memorable steelhead fishing days occurred in the 1990’s when steelhead numbers were down. 

On a good note, it appears the Fall Chinook are coming in as projected (over 18,000 to lower Granite Dam) which is good.  So, if you are having trouble catching steelhead, give Fall Chinook a try.  Most of these fish will be less than 15 pounds,  but every year we see several come over Lower Granite dam that exceed 45 pounds.  Those people who seem to be successful are fishing deep (using a downrigger or heavier weight) with a flasher and a super bait or plug cut herring.  Good numbers of Fall Chinook should start hitting Idaho in about a week as well.

Have a great Fall, and I will talk to you later.  - Joe DuPont, Clearwater Region Fishery Manager