Salmon River

Salmon River - Weekend Steelhead Creel (3/3/13)

This weekend on the upper Salmon River, the number of anglers increased, but compared to the week before, the fishing was not as good. The best catch rate was found in section 18 where anglers averaged 11 hours per steelhead. Section 19, with a catch rate of 12 hours per steelhead was the second best, while sections 15 and 16 were at 15 and 16 hours per steelhead caught, respectively. Fishing within sections 14 and 15 was hindered by muddy water conditions due to the Deadwater ice jam breaking apart.

As of yesterday (3rd) the ice jam had receded nearly to Deadwater and most likely it will break up entirely sometime within the next few days. Anglers should use caution when fishing on, or next to, the bank ice left behind by the ice jam. This weekend, an angler fishing off of a large piece of bank ice ended up in the river when the ice collapsed and catapulted him into water 8-10 feet deep. During the next couple of weeks many more of these large blocks of bank ice will collapse into the river as they melt, and anglers should keep that in the back of their minds when choosing a safe spot to fish from.   - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician, Idaho Fish and Game

SALMON RIVER - STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS   Weekend of 3/3/13            
14 Salmon R. - South Fork Salmon R. to Middle Fork Salmon R 29 199.5 3 1 4 50 67 32 MDY
15 Salmon R. - Middle Fork Salmon R. to North Fork Salmon R. 42 205 7 7 14 15 29 32 MDY
16 Salmon R. - North Fork Salmon R. to Lemhi R. 70 433 16 11 27 16 27 33 CDY
17 Salmon R. - Lemhi R. to Pahsimeroi R. 64 186.5 5 6 11 17 37 36 CDY
18 Salmon R. - Pahsimeroi R. to East Fork Salmon R. 22 74 3 4 7 11 25 36 CDY
19 Salmon R. - upstream from East Fork Salmon R. 8 35 2 1 3 12 18 36 CLR

Salmon River Steelhead Creel - Weekend of 2/24/13

Angler effort on the upper Salmon River this past weekend was fairly similar to the previous weekend, but the catch rates were much more inconsistent between the river section.

Section 16 had the best catch rate of the weekend at 5 hours per steelhead caught, and section 17 had the second best catch rate at 9 hours per steelhead caught. The rest of the river sections (14, 15, 18, and 19) had catch rates equal to, or above, 20 hours per steelhead caught. Fishing downstream of Deadwater was hindered by poor water visibility which most likely factored into the poor catch rates observed in sections 14 and 15. Very few anglers were found fishing upstream of Ellis in section 18, and no anglers were found in section 19 during the weekend.

Boat ramps between Salmon and Red Rock are now open, but ramps between Red Rock and Deadwater are still ice affected. In section 18, the boat ramps at Watts Bridge and Cottonwood campground are closed because of ice as well.  Also, as of Sunday (24th), the ice jam was approximately one mile upstream of North Fork, and it is receding. - Brent Beller, Idaho Fish & Game Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region

14 Salmon R. - South Fork Salmon R. to Middle Fork Salmon R 10 66 1 2 3 22 66 32 MDY
15 Salmon R. - Middle Fork Salmon R. to North Fork Salmon R. 41 186.5 8 1 9 21 23 32 MDY
16 Salmon R. - North Fork Salmon R. to Lemhi R. 50 236 33 11 44 5 7 33 CLR
17 Salmon R. - Lemhi R. to Pahsimeroi R. 60 178 16 4 20 9 11 33 CLR
18 Salmon R. - Pahsimeroi R. to East Fork Salmon R. 10 20.5 0 1 1 20 -- 32 CDY

Upper Salmon River Steelhead Weekend Summary (10/21/12)

Fishing this weekend on the upper Salmon River improved over the previous one. The best hours per fish caught were still found in section 14 and were at 15 hours per fish. Sections 15 and 16 both showed a decrease in the hours per fish caught and angler effort in both sections increased as well. Section 15 was at 22 hours per fish caught for the weekend, while section 16 was at 19 hours per fish. Section 17 again had minimal effort for the weekend, but interviews were obtained. No fish were observed caught in section 17 by creel personnel, but most likely some steelhead harvest has occurred upstream of Salmon. It is also worth noting that the Salmon river was cloudy most of the weekend due to ash runoff from the Halstead fire near Stanley. As of today (22nd), the river is looking much better. Any more rain may push additional ash into the river again, but hopefully it will not have as big of an effect on it as it did this weekend.  - Brent Beller, Salmon Region Fisheries Technician

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS For Weekend of 10/21/2012    
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 24 90 0 6 6 15 -- 44 CDY
15   Salmon R. - Middle Fork Salmon R. to North Fork Salmon R 166 475.5 8 14 22 22 59 44 CDY
16   Salmon R. - North Fork Salmon R. to Lemhi R. 76 412.5 14 8 22 19 29 43 CDY
17   Salmon R. - Lemhi R. to Pahsimeroi R. 7 19.5 0 0 0 -- -- 43 CDY


More of Upper Salmon River Opened to Chinook Harvest

Idaho Fish and Game has opened another section of the upper Salmon River to Chinook salmon fishing.  The Ellis area is now open from the posted boundary about 100 years upstream of the mouth of the Pahsimeroi River upstream to the Highway 75 Salmon River bridge about 250 yards upstream of the mouth of the East Fork Salmon River.  The Stanley area of the upper Salmon opened June 23. Both areas remain open until further notice. -  IDFG News


Upper Salmon Chinook Fishery Update 6/25/12

Last Saturday (6/23) was the opening day for the upper Salmon River Chinook fishery in section 19, and we are happy to report that the fish are here! Three harvested adult Chinook were observed by creel technicians and a small number were also seen at the Sawtooth Hatchery weir. The majority of the angler effort was concentrated near the mouth of the Yankee Fork in the middle of section 19, but Chinook anglers were also found upstream and downstream of that area. It is also worth mentioning that the Salmon river was at a very good level for fishing in section 19 this weekend. The water is clear, the level is relatively low, and the river, as well as the fishing, should only keep getting better.   - Brent Beller, Salmon Region Fisheries

Expanded Effort and Catch estimates for (June 23 - June 24, 2012)          
Salmon River Stanley Area # of Salmon kept     Total Salmon Released Total Salmon caught Angler Hours     Hours/Fish  
  Adults Jacks Total     Boat Bank Total Caught  Kept
Section 19 Weekly Total 9 0 9 0 9 17 425 442 49 49
Section 19 Season Total 9 0 9 0 9 17 425 442 49 49

Weekly Chinook Update 6/5/12

Hi everybody.  It looks like people were catching fish about everywhere last week (May 28-June 3, 2012).  Hopefully there are a lot of happy anglers out there.  For those who like to fish the Clearwater River basin, I have some good news.  It appears that survival of migrating adults between Bonneville Dam and McNary Dam was higher than we typically see which has increased our projected harvest share to above 5,000 fish (see table below).  The bad news is survival for the Rapid River fish in this same reach appears lower than expected and has resulted in a lower projected harvest share estimate for these fish.  These differences in survival  are largely based upon when these runs migrated through the fisheries on the Columbia.  Rapid River fish came a little earlier this year which made them more susceptible to harvest.  The final harvest share estimate will be based on the number of fish that pass over Lower Granite Dam, so these harvest shares could still change some.  There was considerable harvest in the Lower Snake River (between Ice Harbor and Lower Granite) so we will have to wait and see how this influences our harvest share. (Click 'read more' for more information.)

Adult Chinook salmon run estimate based on PIT tags passing over McNary Dam
Release group Current number over McNary based on PIT tags Projected total run estimate to McNary based on late run timing Broodstock needs Estimated non-tribal harvest share above LGD
Dworshak 5,040 5,235 1,200 1,739
Kooskia (Dwrs) 2,389 3,460 800 1,161
Kooskia (Clwr) 1,138 1,155 NA 550
Selway 2,043 2,132 NA 594
Powell 1,305 1,360 694 311
SF Clearwater 3,478 3,664 1,014 1,127
Total Clearwater R. 15,395 15,850 3,708 5,482
Rapid River 11,220 11,338 2,000 4,240
Upper Little Salmon 646 653 NA 300
Total Riggins Area 11,867 11,991 2,000 4,540
Hells Canyon  2,253 2,276 400 847

In the Clearwater Region last week, people were catching fish from the mouth all the way to the South Fork Clearwater River.  The only place we didn’t document harvest was in the Lochsa River, although I know they were there.  Some of the best catch rates last week were from Cherrylane Bridge to Orofino Bridge, the North Fork, the South Fork, and yesterday I heard fishing was really good in the Kooskia area.  There should still be a couple thousand adult Chinook destined for the Clearwater yet to come over Lower Granite so don’t over look the lower Clearwater as well.  Finally, I have good news for all of you Clearwater anglers.  Because of the higher than expected survival, we will be proposing NO closures this week in the Clearwater River basin.  So go find your favorite place and catch some fish.  We will look at the harvest numbers next week and get back to you. 

Fishing in the lower Salmon River picked up last week which was good to see. Catch rates were not the greatest (20-25 hr/fish), but I certainly talked to some people who limited out over multiple days.  I was surprised to see that more fish were not harvested in the Little Salmon River last week; but after I was informed that high flows made the fishing difficult, it made more sense.  The rain we had over the last couple days brought flows up considerably in the Salmon and Little Salmon which turned the rivers muddy and has turned off fishing.  Based on the flow prediction services, flows should start coming down by Thursday which should mean the fishing will be good this weekend.  Obviously, this will depend on what the water conditions are like.  Let’s hope it stops raining, as the fish are there and ready to be caught.   

Upper Salmon River Weekend Summary 3/11/12

Fishing this last weekend dropped off slightly from the previous one, but the hours per fish caught were still fairly good. Poor weather on Sunday also affected our data because it limited the number of anglers who were out fishing. The best fishing was again found downriver of North Fork in sections 14 and 15. Hopefully we will soon observe the catch rates improving upstream which would indicate that the steelhead are beginning to move upriver. We did not have data from section 18 this weekend because of limited personnel, but angler pressure in that section did pick up and steelhead were being caught. We will attempt  to have data for all sections again next weekend.     - Brent Beller

Upper Salmon River Weekend Summary 3/04/12

Angler success this last weekend improved in all river sections. The majority of anglers were found downstream of North Fork, but activity also increased near Ellis and steelhead were even caught in section 19. Assuming that the river stays relatively clear and doesn’t muddy up then we are expecting the fishing to only improve this coming week.   - Brent Beller