We had a great salmon season and, as always, are sad the season is over. We caught quite a few big fish this year and it was a lot of fun. - Natalie
Very little effort was documented this past week. The Lochsa did not have any documented Chinook anglers. The anglers that were checked in this area were Cutthroat fishing. The Snake at HCD tailrace also saw effort drop and only one Jack was documented as harvested. Check Harvest Report for more details. - Jaime Robertson,
Senior Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region
Chinook angler effort was lower in all upper Salmon River location codes this past week, but catch rates remained good. Once again the majority of anglers were found in location code 19, near Stanley. Anglers near Stanley averaged 20 hours per Chinook caught and 42 hours per Chinook kept. Fewer anglers were observed fishing downstream of Ellis in location code 17, but those who did averaged 33 hours per Chinook caught and 47 hours per Chinook kept which were the best catch rates of season so far in the Ellis area. Currently, the Salmon River is flowing at 1,240 cfs through the town of Salmon which is 34% of average for today’s date. As of Sunday, July 5th, 700 hatchery adult Chinook had returned to the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery and as of Thursday, July 2nd, 914 hatchery adult Chinook had returned to the Pahsimeroi Hatchery. Additionally, on Thursday, July 2nd, 86 hatchery adult Chinook from the Pahsimeroi Hatchery were released at the 11-mile boat ramp to provide anglers a second chance at harvesting them. Salmon River location codes 18 and 19, from 100 yards upstream of the Pahsimeroi River to 100 yards downstream of the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery weir and trap, are now closed to the harvest of adult Chinook. The harvest of jack Chinook salmon, those under 24 inches, will continue until further notice. Anglers may harvest up to 4 adipose-clipped Chinook salmon under 24 inches per day and any salmon 24 inches or longer must be immediately released. Any anglers who harvest 4 jacks in a day or have 12 jacks in possession must discontinue fishing. - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region
Salmon anglers flocked to the Salmon and Little Salmon rivers near Riggins, ID in 2015.
This past week on the Clearwater creel section 1 closed after fishing hours on Sunday May 17th. Anglers fishing in this section still had the most success fishing from the railroad bridge to Flying J. with the majority of the effort on the hog line. Many anglers that were checked were using green plugs wrapped in herring. Creel section 2 had very good catch rates. Boat anglers reported the most success with back trolling around McGill Hole and just outside of the North Fork boundary using divers spin 'n glo with eggs kwik fish, or cut plugs. Shore anglers fishing at Big Eddy were also successful and they used tuna balls, eggs, and shrimp. Many shore anglers are also seen plunking with spin and glo’s with pink/purple shrimp or tuna balls. Creel section 4 effort picked up over the weekend with many anglers fishing from shore at Zan’s access site. Creel section 5 had very good catch rates. Most of the boat anglers were seen fishing just above Clear Creek back trolling. Shore anglers focused most of their attention at skipping stones and across the river on the dead end access sites. Check Harvest Reports for more details. - Jaime Robertson, Senior Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region
Hi everybody, this is Joe Dupont, Clearwater Fisheries Manager. It's time for my weekly update on the Clearwater Region’s Chinook Salmon fisheries (5/20/15). Before I get into the details, for those who fish the Clearwater River, please be sure to read the closure notice and read the section below on the Clearwater River Fishery, as another river section will be closing at the end of fishing hours on Friday.
By now the run of Chinook Salmon destined for the Clearwater Region has almost all passed over Bonneville Dam. In fact, the vast majority of these fish have also passed over Lower Granite Dam, the last of the dams they must pass over before entering Idaho. For that reason, the table below shows how many fish have passed over Lower Granite Dam (based on PIT tags), and what our harvest shares will be based on these estimates. It is important to know that not all the fish destined for the Clearwater Region have passed over Lower Granite Dam, so the run estimates and harvest shares listed below are minimums. One of the good things that happened this year is the survival of these salmon as they swim from Bonneville Dam to Lower Granite Dam has been higher than normal. I suspect this has something to do with the lower and clearer flows than normal. As indicated earlier, these flows allow the fish to migrate faster and farther from the river’s edge which makes them less susceptible to anglers, nets, and predators. Higher survival means more fish for us to catch.
Clearwater River Fishery
Before I get into how the fishing was in the Clearwater River basin last week, I want to point out the harvest share I used on the table below (6,500 adult fish) is what I believe is a conservative estimate. There are still more fish on the way so don’t be surprised if we end up with an even higher harvest share than this. Last week the fishing was excellent in the Clearwater Basin, with catch rates dropping below 10 hrs/fish in many areas. With this good of fishing, it is not too surprising that a lot of fish were harvested last week. In fact, fishing was so good in section 2 last week that we will be closing it down to ALL salmon fishing at the end of fishing hours on Friday May 22, 2015 (see attachment). Once again, we will not leave this section of river open to Jack fishing due to their poor return. Some people have been asking why we can’t leave river sections open to Jack fishing. The reason is that with so few Jacks coming back, we will be able to reach our harvest share on them without leaving river sections open longer. In case you were wondering, the best catch rates that we saw were in sections 2 and 5 last week. For those of you who like to fish the South Fork Clearwater River, I can tell you over 2,000 fish have already passed our PIT tag array in that river and more are on their way. For those of you who want to salmon fish for memorial weekend in the Clearwater River drainage, there should be some excellent fishing for you in the areas that remain open to fishing.
Rapid River Run
As expected, effort and harvest turned on last week for the Rapid River run. Fish were caught throughout the system with the highest catch rates actually occurring in section 1. Catch rates were also decent in the Park Hole (section 3) and Little Salmon River (13 hrs/fish). It did slow down on Sunday as the main Salmon River turned dirty due to the rains we had; but reports are that it has cleaned up some and harvest has picked up once again. Flows are supposed to climb on the Salmon River through Memorial Weekend, but they are not supposed to climb quickly. Let’s hope that it won’t cause water clarity to diminish substantially which can slow down fish movement and harvest. Once again, the harvest share I used below is an estimate, but I suspect that it won’t be too far from what we end up with. The message is, there are a lot of fish on their way to provide some excellent fishing in the next couple weeks.
Hells Canyon Fishery
Fishing below Hells Canyon Dam was good last week as we estimated that 161 fish were harvested (256 for the season), and catch rates were 9 hrs/fish. We started trapping fish below Hells Canyon Dam for brood stock and other purposes, so I wouldn’t be surprised if catch rates dropped some, but there still should be a lot of fish in the river to catch.
Memorial weekend is almost here. I suspect many of you are planning a salmon fishing trip, just as my family is. I hope to see some of you out on the river. Good luck fishing. - Joe DuPont, Clearwater Region Fishery Manager
This past weekend on the North Fork of the Clearwater (river sect 05) a 33in Coho was caught. The fish was weighed at Harvest Foods in Orofino at 11.8lbs with a girth of 17inches. Check Harvest Reports for more salmon havest information from last week. - Jaime Robertson, Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region
This past Saturday on the Clearwater was wet. It rained off and on most of the day. We are seeing more anglers fish from Orofino and up. Drift boats are dropping in at the Kooskia boat ramp or Button Beach and drifting down to Kamiah. This past week an angler caught a 18lb. Steelhead on the North Fork. Go to Steelhead Harvest Report and Coho Salmon Harvest Report for more details. - Jaime Robertson, Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region
Anglers are spreading out to fish in the Clearwater region. 185 anglers were checked this past weekend on the Salmon and Little Salmon River. 60 steelhead were caught over the weekend with just under 19/hr catch rates on the Salmon and Little Salmon River.
Of the 178 anglers that were checked on river section 01 of the Snake River this past weekend 91 came out at Heller Bar. These anglers fished a total of 746 hours with 28 hatchery steelhead kept and 48 wild released. No hatchery steelhead were released. Catch rates were 10hrs. 74 of the steelhead anglers that were checked at Heller bar were on guided trips. Please keep in mind that these numbers are for Idaho steelhead anglers only and are unexpanded numbers.
Anglers that are fishing above Memorial Bridge on the Clearwater (river sect 03) are using a variety of lures. Some of the lures were Purple Peril, Black Fly, Lady Caroline Skunk, black & blue Table Fly, Skater Fly, Green butted Skunk, Gold Hair Wing, purple & black fly, Orange Hair Wing, and Rust Colored Fly. Anglers are also using yarn with scent and eggs. - Jaime Robertson, Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region
The weather was beautiful in Lewiston with highs in the low 80’s. The best catch rates this past week were from US Highway 12 Bridge upstream to Hells Canyon Dam. The guides are taking people out to fish at Heller Bar in force. They spend a lot of time fishing in front of the ramp. They drive to the top of the riffle and drift along the soft water bouncing/drifting bait (usually eggs). It looks like an orchestrated dance between the boats. While we are seeing a lot of effort up the Snake river now we still have quite a few fishermen fishing down in the confluence below the blue bridge (Highway 12 bridge) and up into the Clearwater as far as Memorial Bridge. You can check harvest data on the Fish and Game website. - Jaime Robertson, Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region