Steelhead

Clearwater Steelhead Weekend Creel Numbers 9/8/12

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS  (Unexpanded Estimates*)

        For Weekend of:  9/8/2012

                                                                        NO. ANGLERS                       NO. OF        NO. OF  FISH                                            

                                                                          CHECKED             NO.      FISH KEPT   RELEASED   TOTAL   WATER              

SECTION          RIVER LOCATION                                       HOURS                                                       FISH     TEMP (°F)      

01             Snake R. –

                    Downstream from Salmon R.                      64             268            4                 7                         11               68    

02             Clearwater River –

                    Mouth to Memorial Bridge                          17               71             1                 0                          1                52    

03A          Clearwater River

                    Memorial Bridge to Orofino Bridge **         15              76             0                 0                          0                 54  

 

    * The values shown are unexpanded sample data and estimates of fishing effort and success.

   ** Before October 15, steelhead fishing upstream of Memorial Bridge of U.S. Highway 12 at Lewiston is catch-and-release only.

  *** CLR = clear; CDY = cloudy; MDY = muddy.

 

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

How can an angler tell the difference between a steelhead planted in lake cascade and other rainbow trout?

I noticed that A-run steelhead have been planted in lake cascade along with other trout. Will the steelhead have a clipped adapoise fin or some other telltale sign? Are steelhead tags required? Do you target the steelhead with the same kind of fishing gear you would kamloops or other trout? Is IDFG going to continue stocking cascade and other lakes with stellhead in the future? Detailed info would be great

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

Clearwater Weekly Chinook Update (7/9/12)

Many of you have stopped fishing for Chinook in the Clearwater Region, but I know some of you still are so I am going to keep providing these updates until we shut down the season.

Most of the effort and catch we see right now in the Clearwater is near the release sites. Fishing in the North Fork continues to be good, and based on the fish I saw last week, it appears that many of them still have orange meat.  Some are starting to turn though.  What is interesting is that the catch rates we saw last week on the North Fork Clearwater (5 hrs/fish) was the best we have seen all year in any river section in the Clearwater River drainage.  So if you still want to catch a Chinook, you have a good opportunity.

Clearwater River Drainage        
  Chinook Salmon Kept Angler Hours Hours per fish kept  Unclipped salmon released
  Adults Jacks Total      
Railroad Bridge to Cherrylane Bridge 0 0 0 0 - 0
Cherrylane Bridge to Orofino Bridge 0 0 0 0 - 0
North Fork Clearwater River 73 6 79 665 8 30
Orofino Bridge to Kooskia Bridge 0 0 0 9 - 0
Middle Fork Clearwater River 4 0 4 142 36 0
South Fork Clearwater River 3 0 3 435 145 3
Lochsa River 0 0 0 171 - 0
Clearwater River drainage          Week total 80 6 86 1422 17 33
Clearwater River drainage         Season total 3371 204 3575 76294 21 1110

Fishing in the Riggins area has really dropped off. Almost all the fish caught last week were in the Little Salmon with catch rates being about 20 hrs/fish. 

Believe it or not, the fishing picked back up below Hells Canyon Dam as we estimated that 18 adult Chinook were harvested last week. The fishing pressure was light so we actually estimated the best catch rate of the season below the dam last week at 11 hr/fish.

Snake River at Hells Canyon Dam Chinook Salmon Kept Angler Hours Hours per fish kept Unclipped salmon released
  Adults Jacks Total      
  18 0 18 201 11 0
Snake River Season Total 182 16 198 6268 32 10

For you die hards out there, even though the season is winding down, we are seeing some of the best catch rates of the year in certain locations.

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

 

Clearwater Region Weekly Chinook Harvest Summary 7/02/12

Section 3 on the North Fork of the Clearwater had the best catch rates this week and the most fish harvested. Everywhere else in the Clearwater Region saw a lot less fish harvested. It seems like effort is starting to wind down.  - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Region Fisheries

Clearwater River Drainage Chinook Salmon Kept Angler Hours Hours per fish kept Unclipped salmon released
  Adults Jacks Total      
Railroad Bridge to Cherrylane Bridge 0 0 0 38 - 0
Cherrylane Bridge to Orofino Bridge 6 0 6 182 30 0
North Fork Clearwater River 94 7 101 1155 11 22
Orofino Bridge to Kooskia Bridge 0 0 0 69 - 0
Middle Fork Clearwater River 16 0 16 348 22 0
South Fork Clearwater River 6 0 6 949 158 22
Lochsa River 0 0 0 735 - 12
Clearwater River drainage Week total 122 7 129 3476 27 56
Clearwater River drainage Season total 3291 198 3489 74872 21 1077

 

Lower Salmon River Chinook Salmon Kept Angler Hours Hours per fish kept Unclipped salmon released
  Adults Jacks Total      
Rice Creek Bridge to Hammer Creek Boundary 28 2 30 915 31 12
Hammer Creek Boat Ramp to Time Zone Bridge 34 3 37 876 24 61
Time Zone Bridge to Mouth of Short's Creek 17 2 19 803 42 2
Short's Creek to Vinegar Creek 0 0 0 315 - 0
Salmon River        Week Total 79 7 86 2909 34 75
Salmon River      Season Total 2312 234 2546 54468 21 615

 

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

Clearwater Weekly Chinook Harvest Summary 5/22/12

Flying J Ramp

Fishing has definitely started to pick up on the Clearwater! There were a lot of anglers out over the weekend. Creel section 1 (Railroad bridge to Cherry Lane bridge) saw the highest effort and had the most fish caught. Sections 2, 3, and 4 have also documented a few fish.  (see chart below or click on 'read more.') Creel section 5 on the Snake River (Dug Bar boat ramp to Hells Canyon Dam tail race) documented its first fish caught over the weekend. The Salmon river did have some documented effort, but no fish were caught.

This week’s picture was taken at the Flying J boat ramp on Sunday. The angler was very happy after being skunked on Saturday.  - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Region Fisheries

Clearwater River Drainage

 

 

 

 

Chinook Salmon Kept

Angler Hours

Hours per fish kept

Unclipped salmon released

Adults

Jacks

Total

Railroad Bridge to Cherrylane Bridge

213

0

213

6,173

29

76

Cherrylane Bridge to Orofino Bridge

15

0

15

1,100

73

0

North Fork Clearwater River

21

0

21

216

10

0

Orofino Bridge to Kooskia Bridge

14

0

14

378

27

0

Middle Fork Clearwater River

0

0

0

0

-

0

South Fork Clearwater River

0

0

0

0

-

0

Lochsa River

0

0

0

0

-

0

Clearwater River drainage Week total

263

0

263

7,867

30

76

Clearwater River drainage Season total

279

0

279

10,007

36

79