Section 3 of the Snake R. had the best catch rates for Fall Chinook again this week. - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Region Fisheries Technician
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|
|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|
The Snake River creel section 3 (Couse Crk to Cache Crk) still has the best catch rates for Fall Chinook this past week. Section 5 of the Snake tailrace of Hells Canyon Dam has documented one hatchery jack harvested. - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Fisheries Technician
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 (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.
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