salmon

Clearwater & Salmon River Steelhead Update 10/22/12

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
caught kept Temp (F) Conditions
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

Steelhead Creel Survey 9/23/12

Hours to catch were decent this week on the Snake River in Section 1 (Blue Bridge –ID/WA boundary). Anglers commented that fishing dropped off when Dworshak stopped letting water out. Section 3  (Couse Creek- Cache creek) documented harvest over this past weekend. Section 5 on the Snake has still not had any documented harvest. On the  Clearwater’s catch rates for Chinook this week are poor, but the steelhead catch rates were decent.  - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Fishery Technician

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS For Weekend of 9/23/2012    
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
01  Snake River -  Downstream from Salmon River 116 588 15 22 37 16 39 66 CLR
02  Snake River - Salmon River to Hells Canyon Dam  4 17 0 0 0 -- -- 68 CLR
03  Clearwater River - Mouth to Memorial Bridge 92 438 16 14 30 15 27 54 CLR
03A  Clearwater  - Memorial Bridge to Orofino Bridge 11 74 0 5 5 15 -- 54 CLR

 

Snake River Fall Chinook Creel Survey 9/18/12

 

Snake River Fall Chinook Sport Fishery Update
September 18, 2012
   
   
Expanded Effort and Catch estimates for interval 3 (September 10-September 16, 2012)
                   
Snake River       Total Total Breakdown of salmon released
  # Salmon Kept Salmon Salmon ad-clipped non ad-clipped
  Adults Jacks Total Released Caught adults jacks adults jacks
Sec 1 58 36 94 76 170 36 0 22 18
Sec 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sec 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sec 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sec 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 58 36 94 76 170 36 0 22 18
Snake R. Season Total 69 45 114 143 257 52 0 62 29
                   
    # Angler Hours Hours/Fish      
    Boat Bank Total caught kept      
Sec 1   5375 0 5375 32 57      
Sec 2   432 0 432 - -      
Sec 3   0 0 0 - -      
Sec 4   0 0 0 - -      
Sec 5   0 59 59 - -      
Total   5807 59 5866 35 62      
Snake R. Season Total   11278 59 11337 44 99      

 

Section Descriptions:
Section 1: ID/WA State line (rm 139.3) upstream to US Highway 12 Bridge (rm 139.5)
Section 2: US Highway 12 Bridge upstream to Couse Creek boat ramp (rm 157.6)
Section 3: Couse Creek boat ramp upstream to OR/WA border (rm 176)
Section 4: OR/WA border upstream to Sheep Creek (rm 229.5)
Section 5: Sheep Creek upstream to Hells Canyon Dam (rm 247)

 

Update on Fall Chinook and Steelhead Fishing 9/05/12

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

Upper Salmon Weekly Chinook Update 7/22/12

Angler effort was lower this past weekend compared to the one before, and the number of Chinook harvested dropped as well. Between July 16th and July 22nd, 174 adults and 36 jacks were kept, while 137 non ad-clipped adults were released. The hours per Chinook caught improved this past week with anglers averaging approximately 22 hours per Chinook in section 19, and 29 hours per Chinook in section 18. Season totals for sections 18 and 19 combined are 673 hatchery adult Chinook kept and 389 unclipped adult Chinook released. As of today (July 23rd), the number that have been trapped at the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery is 2, 168 hatchery adults, 200 hatchery jacks, and 315 wild.  - Brent Beller, Salmon Region Fisheries

Expanded Effort and Catch estimates for (July 16 - July 22)                
Salmon River Stanley Area # of Salmon kept Total Salmon Released Total Salmon caught Breakdown of salmon released Angler Hours   Hours/Fish
  Adults Jacks Total     ad-clipped adults ad-clipped jacks non ad-clipped adults non ad-clipped jacks Boat Bank Total Caught  Kept
Section 18       Weekly Total 12 3 15 22 37 0 0 22 0 410 674 1084 29 72
Section 19       Weekly Total 162 33 195 139 334 12 4 115 8 356 6931 7287 22 37
Section 18 &19 Season Total 673 72 745 477 1222 60 15 389 13 3041 28269 31310 26 42

Upper Salmon Weekly Chinook Update 7/15/2012

Angler effort picked up again this past weekend compared to the one before, but that did not result in many more harvested Chinook. In general, the numbers from the week were similar to those from the week previous. Between July 9th and July 15th, 221 adults and 5 jacks were kept, while 130 non ad-clipped adults were released. Anglers averaged approximately 28 hours per Chinook caught in section 19 and 55 hours per Chinook caught in section 18. To date, season totals are 499 hatchery adult Chinook kept and 252 unclipped adult Chinook released. As of today (July 16th), the number that have been trapped at the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery is 1,982 hatchery adults, 166 hatchery jacks, and 290 wild. Hopefully the best is still yet to come and more Chinook continue to move into sections 18 and 19.   - Brent Beller, Salmon Region Fisheries

Expanded Effort and Catch estimates for (July 9 - July 15, 2012)              
Salmon River Stanley Area # of Salmon kept Total Salmon Released Total Salmon caught Breakdown of salmon released Angler Hours     Hours/Fish
  Adults Jacks Total     ad-clipped adults ad-clipped jacks non ad-clipped adults non ad-clipped jacks Boat Bank Total Caught  Kept
Section 18 Weekly Total 19 0 19 23 42 0 4 19 0 1172 1148 2320 55 122
Section 19 Weekly Total 202 5 207 124 331 8 5 111 0 0 9151 9151 28 44
Section 18 &19 Season Total 499 36 535 316 851 48 11 252 5 2275 20664 22939 27 43

 

 

 

Upper Salmon Weekly Chinook Report (7/9/12)

Angler effort picked up again this past weekend compared to the one before, but there were still a few open holes out there. The addition of section 18 to the fishery also helped to spread anglers out and opened up some more good water. For the week 206 adults and 25 jacks were kept, while 95 non ad-clipped adults were released. Anglers averaged approximately 21 hours per Chinook caught in section 19 and 29 hours per Chinook caught in section 18. To date, season totals are 278 hatchery adult Chinook kept and 122 unclipped adult Chinook released. As of today (July 9nd), the number that have been trapped at the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery is 1,175 hatchery adults, 105 hatchery jacks, and 173 wild. Hopefully the best is yet to come since fishing should only keep improving as more Chinook continue to move into sections 18 and 19.   - Brent Beller, Salmon Region Fisheries

Salmon River Stanley Area # of Salmon kept Total Salmon Released Total Salmon caught Breakdown of salmon released Angler Hours Hours/Fish
  Adults Jacks Total     ad-clipped adults ad-clipped jacks non ad-clipped adults non ad-clipped jacks Boat Bank Total Caught  Kept
Section 18 Weekly Total 60 2 62 31 93 9 0 22 0 1086 1635 2721 29 44
Section 19 Weekly Total 146 23 169 105 274 29 0 73 3 0 5797 5797 21 34
Section 18 and 19 Season Total 278 31 309 169 478 40 2 122 5 1103 10365 11468 24 37

Weekly Chinook Update 5/16/12

Hi all.  It appears my crystal ball has some glitches in it that I need to work out.  Our projected harvest share (based on counts at Bonneville Dam) for adult Chinook salmon for the entire  Clearwater River basin increased by about 1,200 fish from last week, which is great, but I’m not sure we will get to that 7,000 to 9,500 range that my crystal ball predicted (see table below or click 'read more' for estimates). 

Fish destined for the Clearwater River are still coming over Bonneville in good numbers and the Jacks are just starting to arrive which may indicate there still are a bunch to come.  Regardless, we are in the makings for one of the best Chinook seasons in the Clearwater River since 2002.   Based on our creel surveys, we estimated that 16 adult Chinook salmon were harvested from the Clearwater River last week.  I’ve already heard of more fish harvested this week, and the counts are really starting to pick up over Lower Granite Dam.  This weekend should be a great time to be fishing in the lower Clearwater.  These fish will start pushing further upstream later in the week.

Where my crystal ball seems to really have had some problems is with predicting the run headed for the Riggins area.  The projected harvest share has not changed since last week (about 5,000 adult fish) and based on the number of PIT tagged fish coming over Bonneville it makes it seem that the run over Bonneville Dam is starting to be wind down.  However, a harvest share of over 5,000 adults is nothing to scoff about.  We’ve had some great fisheries in the Riggins area with fewer fish than that.  We also don’t have the same snow pack as last year, so we shouldn’t expect the same continuous high flows that can cause havoc with our fisheries.  Right now flows are projected to be in the 45,000 to 55,000 range for the next week.  This may or may not influence fish movement depending on how dirty the water gets.  Right now two-thirds of the fish crossing over Lower Granite Dam are headed for Rapid River and they have been passing over the Dam for about two weeks now.  That means these fish should just start to be arriving in the Riggins Area fishery.  We think the slide (a big rapid on the lower Salmon River) can cause delays once flows start exceeding 50,000 cfs so this may slow down these fishes travel times.  I hope to hear of the first fish being caught in Riggins by this weekend or a little bit later in this area. 

I also expect somebody to start catching fish in the Hells Canyon Fishery by this weekend as well. 

Weekly Chinook Update 5/10/12

I hope you are ready to catch some salmon because they are on their way!! 

Yes, my weekly Chinook update for the Clearwater Region is going to have a much more upbeat tone than last week as the counts over Bonneville have increased dramatically.  In fact, we haven’t seen as many spring Chinook salmon come over Bonneville as we saw yesterday (18,436) since the incredible years of 2001 and 2002.  In case you were wondering, we had a peak one day count of spring Chinook over Bonneville in 2001 of 27,020 fish. 

I’m also happy to report that a whole bunch of these fish are headed to Idaho.  As you can see in the table below (or click on ‘read more’) the estimated non-tribal harvest share for fish headed to Clearwater Region release sites has about doubled since last week.  It’s important to understand though that this estimate is based on the average late timing we have seen in the past.  This run is even later the average late timed run so I expect to see this estimate continue to climb. 

To give you some idea of what I mean, based on the average late timing, about 76% of the hatchery Chinook salmon destined to the Clearwater River and Rapid River would have passed by Bonneville on this date.  Based on the number of Jacks and summer run Chinook that have come over Bonneville and the timing of when this run seems to be peaking, my best guess (for whatever that is worth) is that only about 40-50% of the hatchery Chinook destined to the Clearwater River and Rapid River have passed by Bonneville.  If this is true, our harvest share for the Clearwater River will increase to 7,000 to 9,500 fish and 9,000-12,000 fish for the Riggins area.  I guess only time will tell how good I am with my crystal ball.  I’m still trying to fine tune it.    

Adult Chinook salmon run estimate based on PIT tags passing over Bonneville Dam
Release group Bonneville pre-season forecast Current number over Bonneville based on PIT tags Projected total run estimate to Bonneville based on late run timing Broodstock needs Estimated non-tribal harvest share above LGD
Dworshak 30,720 4,694 6,225 1,200 1,254
Kooskia (Dwrs) 3,680 2,095 3,038 800 574
Kooskia (Clwr) 2,539 1,013 1,270 NA 451
Selway 4,154 1,426 1,902 NA 478
Powell 6,146 1,007 1,351 694 136
SF Clearwater 10,287 2,508 3,384 1,014 629
Total Clearwater R. 57,525 12,742 17,171 3,708 3,522
Rapid River 35,425 13,743 17,095 2,000 4,829
Upper Little Salmon   805 1,001 NA 340
Total Riggins Area 35,425 14,547 18,096 2,000 5,170
Hells Canyon    2,759 3,432 400 967

What does all this mean for Chinook fishing?

1326 Chinook have been reported to come over Lower Granite Dam, which isn’t a ton of fish, but people have started reporting that they are catching fish in the Clearwater River.  Catch rates are slow right now, but the weather and flows are great, and people say it’s just good to be out fishing.  I suspect that in about another week the fishing will really start picking up in the Clearwater.  That large group of fish coming over Bonneville Right now should start hitting the Clearwater River in two to three weeks depending on flows.