salmon

Steelhead and Chinook Report in Cleawater 10/13/14

Clearwater Region Fall 2014

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

Snake and Clearwater Fall Chinook Update for 10/7/14

Guided anglers fishing Snake River around Hellar Bar

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

Clearwater Region Salmon Fishery 9/16/14

One nice thing about this time of year is while you are fishing for steelhead you could also catch a fall Chinook Salmon. This year, like the past four years, is supposed to be another good year.  In fact, we are anticipating that the returning Fall Chinook Salmon run to Idaho will be the second largest run we have seen in quite some time (last year was the largest).  We are expecting around 50,000 adults to pass over Lower Granite Dam and what is even more exciting is this year the majority of the adult fish are three-ocean fish that typically range from 18-22 pounds. On average, over 2,000 adult Chinook a day have been passing over Lower Granite Dam for the past week.  Soon we should exceed 3,000 adult Chinook a day. Catch rates for Chinook have been quite slow, but they should pick up with all these fish starting to move in.

One thing all of you should know is that only about 30% of the Chinook passing over Lower Granite Dam are clipped. That is because a lot of wild fish are returning and because around half the hatchery Fall Chinook released in Idaho are clipped (This was done to help build the run when numbers were low).   As such, you will have to catch around 4 unclipped fish for every one clipped fish you can harvest.

A commonly asked question that I get is, “why don’t you allow us to harvest Fall Chinook Salmon upstream of Memorial Bridge?” Because it is asked so often, I thought I would share my answer with all of you.  There are three main reasons.

  • First, only about 25% of the hatchery fish released into the Clearwater River are clipped. Thus, when you mix in the wild fish only about 15% of the fish are clipped.  That doesn’t leave a lot of fish to be harvested.  This clip rate is set until 2017.  Discussion will occur to decide what the new clip rate will be starting in 2018.
  • Second, the Clearwater River is a very popular place to catch-and-release Steelhead, and has been for many years.  Anglers come from all over the Nation to fish this unique fishery.  Opening a Fall Chinook season at the same time as this catch-and-release Steelhead season occurs would cause significant changes in the dynamics of this fishery (more anglers and more boats).  Many Steelhead anglers say they are not in support of this.
  • Finally, the Nez Perce Tribe is largely responsible for rebuilding the Fall Chinook run in Idaho.  Because most of the Clearwater River is in the Nez Perce Tribal Reservation, we need to be considerate of their concerns and interests before moving forward with a fishery that targets Fall Chinook in this area.  We will have discussions with the Tribe about this when we feel the time is appropriate.

This doesn’t mean that we will never have a Fall Chinook Salmon fishery upstream of Memorial Bridge, but it is important to realize there are many things to consider and address before we ever do so. 

Here's additional information on the Clearwater's steelhead fishery this fall.

Well, it is time for me to go.  The elk are bugling and I’m hoping one has my name on it.  - Joe DuPont, Fishery Manager, Clearwater Region

Clearwater Salmon Weekend Update 9/23/14

Salmon Fishing on the confluence of Snake and Clearwater Rivers

This past weekend on the Clearwater River was still pretty warm weather wise but, many anglers hit the water in the mornings and evenings. Many anglers  are off the water by 12pm. The confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers, which is creel section 1 river sect. 01, is still getting the most amount of effort of the creel sections. Most people coming off the water are commenting on the ratio of unclipped vs. clipped fish. Many people are using herring and eggs for bait. Check harvest information. - Jaime Robertson Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region

Clearwater Region Chinook Update (5/7/14)

First, let me tell you what we know about the number of Chinook Salmon we are projecting to come to the Clearwater Region.  Last week we had some exciting times when over a three day period over 40,000 Chinook Salmon passed over Bonneville Dam.  Since then the counts have dropped back down, but that spike in numbers caused our projected non-tribal harvest share to increase to about 4,000 adult fish in the Clearwater drainage and about 6,3000 adult fish for the Rapid River run.  If you recall, last week the projected harvest share was around 3,400 for the Clearwater drainage and 4,500 for the Rapid River run.   At this point I am not expecting any large changes in harvest share as typically by this time around 75% of the run of fish heading to the Clearwater Region has passed over Bonneville Dam.  If you are wondering how these harvest shares compare to previous years.  This is very similar to what we saw in the Clearwater River basin in 2008 and 2009-2012.  Last year the harvest share in the Clearwater Basin was 640 fish.  So this will be a marked improvement over that.  For the Rapid River run, last year the harvest share was 2,100 fish and the year before that  it was  4,500 fish.  As such this year will be an improvement over the previous two years.  All in all, I think we are in store for a very good season.

Clearwater River Basin Fishery
The table below has about everything you need to know about adult harvest of Chinook Salmon in the Clearwater River basin, and I will update it every week for you.  It shows how many fish we estimated were harvested each week and where.  It shows our harvest share and how many fish are left. Finally, it shows how the public has indicated they would like the harvest share allocated to the different river reaches and how much harvest remains in each of those areas.  As we get close to reaching these different target amounts you can expect the fisheries to close in those areas (or at least the adult harvest).  Last week we estimated 21 adult Chinook Salmon were harvested in the Clearwater River drainage, all  near Lewiston.  Go to harvest data for more details.

Counts over Lower Granite Dam the last couple days were around 1,300 and 3,000 fish which is good.  Flows are also looking good, so those fish should spread upriver fast.  Expect the fishing to really pick up from here on out.

Rapid River Fishery
We did not see any harvest of fish last week on the Rapid River run, and as such I did not include a harvest summary table below.  However, once harvest begins I will display a similar table as above for this fishery as well.  I can tell you though that the first fish showed up at Rapid River Hatchery two days ago so it would surprise me if some fish are caught this weekend.  Flows are looking good right now so those fish coming over Lower Granite Dam now should start being caught in a week.

Hells Canyon Fishery
The Hells Canyon fishery is often one of the first to start up.  In fact, our creel crew check one adult last week and we estimated a harvest of three fish.  Expect this fishery to pick up in a week as well.

Well the fishery is upon us.  I hope you all are getting your gear ready as if the fish aren’t in the area you like to fish now, they should be there soon. - Joe DuPont, Clearwater Region Fishery Manager

 

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            
SECTION RIVER LOCATION ANGLERS CHECKED NO. OF HOURS  FISH KEPT FISH RELEASED TOTAL FISH HRS/FISH CAUGHT  HRS/FISH KEPT WATER TEMP (°F) WATER CONDITIONS
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

Weekend (3/2/13) Creel Numbers for Clearwater, Snake and Salmon rivers.

Catch rates were decent this week on the Salmon River. - Seth Crevison. Fisheries Technician, Idaho Fish and Game

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS   Weekend 3/2/2013                
SECTION RIVER LOCATION ANGLERS CHECKED NO. OF HOURS  FISH KEPT FISH RELEASED TOTAL FISH HRS/FISH CAUGHT  HRS/FISH KEPT WATER TEMP (°F) WATER CONDITIONS
2 Snake R. - Salmon R. to Hells Canyon Dam 5 23 2 1 3 8 12 37 CLR
3 Clearwater River - mouth to Orofino Bridge 102 694 18 13 31 22 39 38 CLR
5 North Fork Clearwater R. 29 172 2 0 2 86 86 41 CLR
7 South Fork Clearwater R. 94 381 3 15 18 21 127 38 CLR
11 Salmon R. - Whitebird Cr. to Little Salmon R. 8 25 1 1 2 12 25 38 CLR
12 Salmon R. - Little Salmon R. to Vinegar Cr. 93 412 19 12 31 13 22 38 CLR
13 Salmon R. - Vinegar Cr. to South Fork Salmon R. 14 117 3 2 5 23 39 38 CLR
20 Little Salmon R. 12 12 0 0 0 -- -- 34 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

SALMON RIVER - STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS   Week 2/24/13
SECTION RIVER LOCATION ANGLERS CHECKED NO. OF HOURS  FISH KEPT FISH RELEASED TOTAL FISH HRS/FISH CAUGHT  HRS/FISH KEPT WATER TEMP (°F) WATER CONDITIONS
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

Steelhead Creel Numbers for Weekend of 2/24/13

Catch rates were decent this week on most sections excluding the North Fork, while keep rates were not so great.  We saw the most effort upstream from Orofino Bridge with 10 hours to catch a fish and 25 hours to keep a fish. - Seth Crevison. Idaho Fish & Game Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS   Week 2/24/2013                
SECTION RIVER LOCATION ANGLERS CHECKED NO. OF HOURS  FISH KEPT FISH RELEASED TOTAL FISH HRS/FISH CAUGHT  HRS/FISH KEPT WATER TEMP (°F) WATER CONDITIONS
2 Snake R. - Salmon R. to Hells Canyon Dam 2 10 0 0 0 -- -- 36 CLR
3 Clearwater River - mouth to Orofino Bridge 85 460 21 21 42 11 22 39 CL
4 Clearwater R. - upstream from Orofino Bridge 103 560 22 36 58 10 25 39 CLR
5 North Fork Clearwater R. 20 87 5 0 5 17 17 39 CLR
7 South Fork Clearwater R. 92 310 4 21 25 12 78 39 CLR
11 Salmon R. - Whitebird Cr. to Little Salmon R. 25 94 6 2 8 12 16 32 CLR
12 Salmon R. - Little Salmon R. to Vinegar Cr. 111 525 10 15 25 21 52 36 CLR
13 Salmon R. - Vinegar Cr. to South Fork Salmon R. 61 476 18 14 32 15 26 36 CLR
20 Little Salmon R. 16 34 1 0 1 34 34 36 CLR