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
How many single barbless hooks can you fish with on your line while fishing for Salmon or Steelhead?
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
This weekend on the upper Salmon River the majority of anglers were once again found upstream of Basin Creek, in location code 19. Few anglers were found downstream in location codes 17 and 18. Interviewed anglers in location code 17 averaged 16 hours per steelhead caught and 32 hours per steelhead kept. In location code 18, interviewed anglers did not report catching any steelhead. Upstream of the East Fork, in location code 19, interviewed anglers averaged 16 hours per steelhead caught and 26 hours per steelhead kept. Click here for more details.
River conditions upstream of Basin Creek remained good over the weekend, but river conditions downstream were poor due to increased turbidity and rising water levels. Water temperatures continued to stay in the mid-40s. - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician
Can you use a spey rod on a body of water that is closed to steelhead? Do you need a steelhead permit to do so?
This past weekend on the upper Salmon River, the majority of anglers were found above Ellis in location codes 18 and 19, but anglers downstream of Salmon were still catching steelhead, as well. Anglers interviewed in location code 15, downstream of North Fork, averaged 13 hours per steelhead caught and 29 hours per steelhead kept. In location code 16, angler effort dropped from the previous weekend, but interviewed anglers still averaged 9 hours per steelhead caught and 11 hours per steelhead kept. Between the Lemhi and Pahsimeroi Rivers, in location code 17, interviewed anglers averaged 23 hours per steelhead caught and 34 hours per steelhead kept. Upstream of Ellis, in location code 18, interviewed anglers averaged 16 hours per steelhead caught and 51 hours per steelhead kept. Above the East Fork, in location code 19, angler effort increased significantly over the previous weekend, and interviewed anglers averaged 12 hours per steelhead caught and 30 hours per steelhead kept. Click here for more details.
Water conditions remained favorable through the weekend, with clear water observed in all location codes and water temperatures in the mid to upper 40s. - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician
The Little Salmon River and the South Fork Clearwater were a busy fishery over the weekend and catch rates were very good. Fish and Game has discontinued monitoring the Main Clearwater River due to minimal angler effort. Effort observed on the Main Salmon River was also minimal. Click here for more details - Amanda Schmidt, Fisheries Technician
The busiest area this past weekend in the region was on the South Fork of the Clearwater (river sect 07). Hours per fish caught was only 4 hours, which resulted in really good fishing. Many anglers chose to release a lot of the hatchery fish they caught, which resulted in higher hours per fish kept. Effort has continued to drop on the main stem of the Clearwater. The Little Salmon also had a lot of anglers on it this past weekend and had some pretty could catch rates. Click here for more details. Over all the weather was nice and the water was clearer than the previous weekend. - Jaime Robertson. Fisheries Technician
The steelhead fishing improved once again last weekend on the upper Salmon River. The average catch rates in location codes 14 through 19 either improved or remained close to those observed during the previous weekend. Interviewed anglers in location code 14, downstream of the Middle Fork, averaged 6 hours per steelhead caught, and no steelhead were reported kept. In location code 15, anglers had catch rates similar to last weekend and averaged 9 hours per steelhead caught and 16 hours per steelhead kept. In location code 16, interviewed anglers averaged 11 hours per steelhead caught and 27 hours per steelhead kept. In location code 17, anglers did considerably better this weekend compared to the previous one when only one steelhead was reported caught. Interviewed anglers from this weekend reported a total catch of 36 steelhead which resulted in averages of 12 hours per steelhead caught and 26 hours per steelhead kept. The fishing in location code 18 also improved this weekend. Anglers there reported averages of 19 hours per steelhead caught and 54 per steelhead kept. Anglers at the upper end of the river, in location code 19, averaged 15 hours per steelhead caught and 35 hours per steelhead kept, which was similar to the previous weekend. Click here for more details.
River conditions did not change much over the past week with river temperatures remaining in the low 40s. - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician