Clearwater

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

Steelhead Creel Survey for 10/07/12

 

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
01   Snake River - Downstream from Salmon River 150 798 14 18 32 25 57 65 CLR
02  Snake R. - Salmon R. to Hells Canyon Dam 18 134 9 4 13 10 15 65 CLR
03   Clearwater River - Mouth to Memorial Bridge 96 465 14 17 31 15 33 58 CLR
03A  Clearwater  - Memorial Bridge to Orofino Bridge 25 150 0 12 12 13 -- 58 CLR
11   Salmon R. - Whitebird Cr. to Little Salmon R 12 49 3 4 7 7 16 51 CLR
12   Salmon R. - Little Salmon R. to Vinegar Cr. 11 57 0 1 1 57 -- 51 CLR

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)

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