So big, I had to have my big sister help me land it! - Valerie on the Salmon River
This is the first upper Salmon River weekly steelhead fishing report for the spring 2015 season. Reports will be issued each Monday until the close of the season.
During the past week, the Salmon River was recovering from unusually high flows that occurred over February 6th and 7th. These flows also greatly reduced the river’s visibility through February 12th. The river did clear up by this past weekend though, and the current water conditions are much better. Daytime river temperatures are in the mid to upper 30s and the river is running at 1,350 cfs through the town of Salmon, which is approximately 124% of average for this time of year.
For mid-February, the upper Salmon is very open. The Deadwater ice jam went out on the night of February 6th. The road downstream of North Fork is mostly clear of snow and ice, although there are a few corners that remain slick. Large rocks have fallen onto the road in numerous areas, and anglers are encouraged to slow down in these areas and use caution when choosing where to park. Additionally, all boat ramps between the Pahsimeroi River and North Fork have been cleared of ice and are ready for use. The Corn Creek ramp is also open and jet boats are running down river.
The steelhead fishing over the past week was good once the water conditions improved and the catch data suggests that the Steelhead are quite spread out across the drainage for this time of year. In location code 14, downstream of the Middle Fork, interviewed anglers released two steelhead, which resulted in a catch rate of 14 hours per Steelhead. Upstream, in location code 15, interviewed anglers caught a total of 66 Steelhead which produced a catch rate of 5 hours per Steelhead and a harvest rate of 11 hours per Steelhead. Interviewed anglers in location code 16, between the confluences of the North Fork and Lemhi Rivers averaged 13 hours per Steelhead caught and 19 hours per Steelhead kept. Upstream of the Lemhi River, in location code 17, interviewed anglers averaged 16 hours per Steelhead caught and 78 hours per Steelhead kept. In location code 18, upstream of the Pahsimeroi River, interviewed anglers averaged 10 hours per Steelhead caught and 26 hours per Steelhead kept. No angler interviews were obtained for location code 19, upstream of the East Fork Salmon River, although a few anglers were observed fishing upstream of Clayton.
Got To Harvest Report for more details. - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region
Fishing conditions and catch rates on the Clearwater River downstream from Orofino were good during the week but diminished over the weekend. On Saturday, cloudy water conditions were observed and water clarity decreased as water levels began to rise. By Sunday afternoon and the river flows reached 22,900 cubic feet per second causing swift and muddy water conditions with floating debris. The North Fork of the Clearwater was the most popular and productive fishing area over the weekend for both boat and shore anglers who were avoiding the muddy water conditions on the mainstem. On Sunday morning, approximately 100 anglers were observed fishing on the North Fork by IDFG personnel. The South Fork of the Clearwater was not monitored during the week, but anglers reported that they had caught more fish during the week days before water conditions began to become less favorable over the weekend. Saturday afternoon, flows on the South Fork began to rise and on Sunday water conditions were high and muddy. The majority of success over the weekend occurred as high upstream as the Mt. Idaho grade. Very little effort was observed on the Salmon River downstream of Riggins over the weekend due to the high muddy flow coming from the Little Salmon River. Most of the effort occurred above the mouth of the Little Salmon in river locations 12 and 13. A majority of the anglers checked from location 13 were anglers on guided trips. - Amanda Schmidt. Fisheries Technician, Idaho Fish & Game Clearwater Region
Tuesday was the first day the Clearwater steelhead fishery was sampled this past week. The Ahsahka Check Station was visited by many happy anglers who had fished the North Fork that day. One shore angler had kept his limit of 3 steelhead and had fished for less than 3 hours. The largest fish checked for the week was a 37 inch female caught by an angler fishing from the Ahsahka Bridge. Anglers fishing the North Fork on Friday and over the weekend were not as successful as those who fished on Tuesday.
Boat anglers fishing the main Clearwater River in the Orofino area on Friday had a very successful day. Multiple anglers who obtained their limit of steelhead were checked by creel personnel. Heavy rain on Saturday caused the Clearwater to become high and muddy on Sunday, but catch rates did not seem to be effected. Most of Sunday’s effort occurred between Cherry Lane and Orofino. - Amanda Schmidt, Fisheries Technician, Idaho Fish & Game
Hi, I am an avid fisherman of the Main Clearwater and Southfork of the Clearwater Steelhead. I have noticed that this year there is a drastic drop in the amount of clipped, or keeper Steelhead, available to anglers. In years past we have seen a 50% ratio of clipped Steelhead at minimum, and most years there has been a near 70% clipped ratio. This year we have fished quite a few days and have figured our numbers to be closer to 5 or 6% clipped fish, and many people we have talked to have experienced similar numbers. What is happening with this fishery?
Steelhead fishing on the upper Salmon River was effectively shut down this past week due to the below average temperatures we have been having. Slush ice has been flowing through Salmon since Tuesday of last week and as of today the ice jam is upstream of North Fork near the Bobcat access site. Anglers were found below Deadwater over the weekend but in very low numbers.
Downstream of the Middle Fork, in location code 14, anglers averaged 16 hours per steelhead caught and 363 hours per steelhead kept. Upstream, in location code 15, anglers averaged 11 hours per steelhead caught and 31 hours per steelhead kept. There are some open areas of water downstream of Deadwater and fish were caught on Sunday, but slush ice is flowing in most areas and shelf ice has already formed.
The data included in this report for location codes 16 and 17 was collected on Monday the 10th and no angler effort has been observed in those areas since. Anglers within location code 16 averaged 8 hours per steelhead caught and 13 hours per steelhead kept, while upstream in location code 17, anglers averaged 7 hours per steelhead caught and no steelhead were reported kept. Check Harvest Reports for more details.
As of November 17, the Salmon River through the town of Salmon is flowing at approximately 1,130 cfs with the water temperature near freezing and good visibility. - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region
This past Saturday on the Clearwater was wet. It rained off and on most of the day. We are seeing more anglers fish from Orofino and up. Drift boats are dropping in at the Kooskia boat ramp or Button Beach and drifting down to Kamiah. This past week an angler caught a 18lb. Steelhead on the North Fork. Go to Steelhead Harvest Report and Coho Salmon Harvest Report for more details. - Jaime Robertson, Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region
Steelhead fishing on the upper Salmon River continued to improve this past week. Interviewed anglers downstream of the Middle Fork, in location code 14, averaged 12 hours per steelhead caught and 58 hours per steelhead kept. Upstream, in location code 15, interviewed anglers averaged 13 hours per steelhead caught and 26 hours per steelhead kept, which were large improvements over the previous week. Interviewed anglers in location code 16, between North Fork and the Lemhi River, averaged 8 hours per steelhead caught and 12 hours per steelhead kept. Between the Lemhi and Pahsimeroi Rivers, in location code 17, interviewed anglers averaged 11 hours per steelhead caught and 14 hours per steelhead kept. Go to Harvest Rerport for more details.
As of November 3rd, the Salmon River through the town of Salmon was flowing at approximately 1,440 cfs with water temperatures in the mid-40s and good visibility. - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region
For people living in Idaho's most populous areas, a quest for steelhead means traveling for several hours to the Salmon, Clearwater or Snake Rivers. When times are good, and there is a surplus of steelhead, anglers in Idaho's biggest city have steelhead delivered courtesy of Fish and Game tanker trucks.
On Thursday November 6, Fish and Game trucks will haul around 300 steelhead to Boise from Hells Canyon. These fish are part of a program funded by Idaho Power that compensates for steelhead lost in the Boise River drainage due to the Hells Canyon Hydroelectric Project.
Fisheries managers will release the steelhead into the Boise River at several traditional locations between Glenwood Bridge and Barber Park. Anglers planning to harvest steelhead must have a valid fishing license and steelhead permit. Any steelhead (defined as a rainbow trout longer than 20 inches with a clipped adipose fin) harvested on the Boise River must be recorded on the angler’s steelhead permit. The steelhead limit on the Boise River is three per day and nine in possession. Barbless hooks are not required on the Boise River.