This past week fishing was slow in most areas. River section 03 (mouth of the Clearwater to Memorial Bridge) had catch rates of 8 hours a fish and river section 02 (Salmon R. to Hells Canyon Dam) was at 10 hours a fish. River section 04 on the Clearwater (upstream from Orofino Bridge) has ice over the river between the Zans boat ramp and 5 mile ramp. Anglers that fished on the North Fork reported slow fishing. One of the big comments is that the water is too clear. Anglers that used orange beads, orange headed jigs with pink hackle, or plugs have reported the most success. Check Harvest Report for more details. - Jaime Robertson, Senior Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region
Heavy slush ice made for difficult fishing conditions on the upper Salmon River this past week. Angler interviews were stopped after Tuesday due to the poor river conditions and low angler effort. On Monday and Tuesday interviewed anglers upstream of the Middle Fork in location code 15 averaged 18 hours per steelhead caught and 31 hours per steelhead kept. Anglers did not report catching any steelhead in location codes 14 or 16. Check Harvest Report for more details.
The Salmon River is currently flowing at 970 cfs through the town of Salmon, which is 80% of average for today’s date. Water temperatures were in the lower 30s throughout the week.
This will be the last weekly summary report released for the fall 2015 steelhead season. - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region
Steelhead catch rates on the Clearwater River this past week were good with 10 hours or less to catch. We are starting to document more anglers fishing above Orofino Bridge and we documented catch on the South Fork of the Clearwater. The Salmon River documented 18 hours or less to catch and the Snake River documented 18 or less as well. There are still quite a few people fishing up by Heller Bar on river section 01 of the Snake. Anglers reported that overall the catch rates have been pretty good in that area and are happy with the fishing. Anglers are drifting eggs, floating bobbers, jig with shrimp, bottom bouncing, and back trolling. Check Harvest Report for details. - Jaime Robertson, Senior fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region
With catch rates under 16 hours per fish in all location codes, steelhead fishing remained good this past week on the upper Salmon River. Angler effort was lower than the previous week but remained high for the middle of November. The majority of anglers fished downstream of North Fork in location codes 14 and 15, but an increase in angler effort upstream of Salmon was also observed. In location code 14, downstream of the Middle Fork, interviewed anglers averaged 8 hours per steelhead caught and 28 hours per steelhead kept. Upstream of the Middle Fork in location code 15, interviewed anglers averaged 13 hours per steelhead caught and 19 hours per steelhead kept. Upstream of North Fork, in location code 16, interviewed anglers averaged 8 hours per steelhead caught and 21 hours per steelhead kept. Interviewed anglers upstream of the Lemhi River in location code 17 averaged 15 hours per steelhead caught and 22 hours per steelhead kept.
The Salmon River is currently flowing at 1,270 cfs through the town of Salmon, which is 98% of average for today’s date. Throughout the week water temperatures were in the upper 30s with clear visibility. Check Harvest Report for details. - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region
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