Most angling effort by boats on the main stem of the Clearwater is from Peck to just above the Ahsahka boat ramp. The majority of the shore effort is in the same area but we are seeing an increase in effort by fly anglers from Cherry Lane Ramp to Lenore. Anglers are using orange/pink beads, jigs, or roe. This past week we only interviewed 31 anglers on the North Fork due to survey limitations. However, effort was high on Saturday with over 60 anglers fishing. Most of the anglers that came through the check station were not successful because the fish were just not biting and seemed to be stacking up by the bridge. - Jaime Robertson, Senior Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region
The cold weather has parts of the Clearwater River icing over on the main stem around Myrtle and then by the Ahsahka check station site. Many anglers are coming out to fish during the afternoon hours to avoid the colder temperatures. Catch rates for both river section 03 and 05 were good this past week at 8hrs a fish. Check Harvest Report for more details. - Jaime Robertson, Senior Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Regino
The Clearwater River had good catch rates this past week. From the mouth of the Clearwater to Orofino Bridge catch rates were at 3hrs/fish. Effort is low, but anglers are still catching fish. River section 04 above Orofino Bridge is running free of ice and the river clarity is clear. - Jaime Robertson, Senior Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region
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
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
New Juvenile Fish Trap in the Lochsa!
We thought folks might be interested in why we have this new piece of equipment floating in the Lochsa at Lowell. The Lochsa River is a potential stronghold for wild steelhead in Idaho, though we have much to learn about this population.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is working to better understand Lochsa River wild steelhead in order to protect and increase the population of this valuable species. The Lochsa River trap will be operated annually, from February to November (as water levels allow), and will be removed and stored offsite during the winter.
Juvenile rotary screw traps are important tools for fisheries managers to capture juvenile steelhead and other fishes. The traps capture juvenile steelhead leaving their natal streams on their journey to the ocean (outmigration). Fish enter the cone of the trap on the upstream side and are held in the live well on the downstream side of the trap. Traps are checked daily and biological data is collected on individual fish before releasing them to continue their migration to the Pacific Ocean
PIT-Tags are widely used to monitor the survival, abundance, and life history of fish populations. PIT-tags are inserted into many of the juvenile steelhead captured which allows us to track individual fishes movements downstream through the dams and back upstream as adults.
IDFG operates the Lochsa River screw trap to collect information on how many wild steelhead are leaving the Lochsa River, when they are leaving, how old they are, and how well they survive on their way to the ocean. These data are extremely useful in providing agencies the information needed to protect and perpetuate this valuable resource. - Brian Knoth, Clearwater Region Fisheries Biologist