Steelhead

Steelhead Fishing Opportunities 10/31/12

Hi everybody, I thought I’d let you know about some steelhead fishing opportunities that will be occurring in the Boise area.  We will be stocking around 250 steelhead that were trapped at Hells Canyon Dam in the Boise River on Thursday, November 1 from Glenwood Bridge to Barber Park.  I have been told the steelhead fishing can be quite good at times after these stocking efforts.  Plans are to also stock a similar number of fish later in November.  So, those of you in the Boise area who don’t like to travel, this might be a good fishing opportunity for you.

Seeing I’ve got your attention (well hopefully I do), I thought I’d also give you an update on the steelhead fishing in the Clearwater River.  As I suspected, the fishing effort has been very low for the first two weeks after the general opener.  In fact, I can’t remember seeing so few people fishing as I saw on the first two days of the season.  As a result, there were fewer people competing over the fish that were in the river and catch rates have been good (about 10/hrs fish).   With the recent rains, the river flows have shot up and turned the river dirty, but once flows settle back down I suspect a bunch more new fish will have moved into the system.  So plan accordingly, the fishing could get quite good.   Based on PIT tags, about 22,000 Clearwater bound hatchery steelhead have passed over Bonneville Dam this year.  So far, only about 11,000 of them have made it past Lower Granite.  Let’s hope this increase in flows gets those fish moving.  I’m betting on it. 

Fishing in the Snake and Salmon has also been decent at around 10 hrs/fish, so there are plenty of opportunities out there.

Don’t forget, fall chinook season is over tomorrow, November 1.

Talk to you all later.     - Joe DuPont, Clearwater Region Fishery Manager

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

Upper Salmon River Steelhead Weekend Summary (10/21/12)

Fishing this weekend on the upper Salmon River improved over the previous one. The best hours per fish caught were still found in section 14 and were at 15 hours per fish. Sections 15 and 16 both showed a decrease in the hours per fish caught and angler effort in both sections increased as well. Section 15 was at 22 hours per fish caught for the weekend, while section 16 was at 19 hours per fish. Section 17 again had minimal effort for the weekend, but interviews were obtained. No fish were observed caught in section 17 by creel personnel, but most likely some steelhead harvest has occurred upstream of Salmon. It is also worth noting that the Salmon river was cloudy most of the weekend due to ash runoff from the Halstead fire near Stanley. As of today (22nd), the river is looking much better. Any more rain may push additional ash into the river again, but hopefully it will not have as big of an effect on it as it did this weekend.  - Brent Beller, Salmon Region Fisheries Technician

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS For Weekend of 10/21/2012    
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
14   Salmon R. - South Fork Salmon R. to Middle Fork Salmon R 24 90 0 6 6 15 -- 44 CDY
15   Salmon R. - Middle Fork Salmon R. to North Fork Salmon R 166 475.5 8 14 22 22 59 44 CDY
16   Salmon R. - North Fork Salmon R. to Lemhi R. 76 412.5 14 8 22 19 29 43 CDY
17   Salmon R. - Lemhi R. to Pahsimeroi R. 7 19.5 0 0 0 -- -- 43 CDY

 

Steelhead Creel Survey for 10/07/12

 

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS For Weekend of 10/07/2012    
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 150 798 14 18 32 25 57 65 CLR
02  Snake R. - Salmon R. to Hells Canyon Dam 18 134 9 4 13 10 15 65 CLR
03   Clearwater River - Mouth to Memorial Bridge 96 465 14 17 31 15 33 58 CLR
03A  Clearwater  - Memorial Bridge to Orofino Bridge 25 150 0 12 12 13 -- 58 CLR
11   Salmon R. - Whitebird Cr. to Little Salmon R 12 49 3 4 7 7 16 51 CLR
12   Salmon R. - Little Salmon R. to Vinegar Cr. 11 57 0 1 1 57 -- 51 CLR

Steelhead Creel Numbers 9/30/12

 

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS For Weekend of 9/30/2012    
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 94 529 9 4 13 41 59 66 CLR
03  Clearwater River - Mouth to Memorial Bridge 114 492 20 14 34 14 25 55 CLR

03A  Clearwater  - Memorial Bridge to Orofino Bridge

14 72 0 7 7 10 -- 55 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)

 

Clearwater Creel Survey Update 9/15/12

Creel section 1 of the Snake River saw the highest amount of effort this past weekend/week for Steelhead & Chinook. Saturday morning saw at least 70 boats out in the confluence, but most fishermen’s comments were that it was still pretty slow out there. However, the catch rates were pretty good for steelhead at 14hrs/fish to catch and 23hrs/fish to keep. The Clearwater harvest section (mouth of the Clearwater to Memorial bridge) only documented a total of nine fish caught and catch rates were not the greatest. The Clearwater did not have any documented harvest of hatchery adult Chinook while section 1 of the Snake documented 58 harvested hatchery adult Chinook. Water temps are still pretty warm out there but the water clarity is clear.  - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Fish Technician

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS  For Weekend of:  9/15/2012
                                                                           NO. ANGLERS        NO.        NO. OF          NO. OF  FISH      TOTAL
SECTION     RIVER LOCATION                             CHECKED         HOURS   FISH KEPT        RELEASED           FISH
  01            Snake R.
                    - downstream from Salmon R.                 83                   386             17                  10                   27
  02            Snake R.
                     - Salmon R. to Hells Canyon Dam           7                     34                0                    0                    0
  03            Clearwater River
                    - Mouth to Memorial Bridge                     59                  322              5                     4                    9
  03A         Clearwater River
                    - Memorial Bridge to Orofino Bridge **    39                  185               0                    19                  19
 
                                                                                                     HRS/FISH              WATER           WATER       
01             Snake R.                                                              CAUGHT     KEPT       TEMP (F)     CONDITIONS***
                                - downstream from Salmon R.                  14               23                 70                   CLR
02             Snake R.
                                 - Salmon R. to Hells Canyon Dam            --               --                   70                   CLR
03             Clearwater River
                                - Mouth to Memorial Bridge                      36              64                  54                   CLR
03A         Clearwater River
                                - Memorial Bridge to Orofino Bridge **     10               --                   54                   CLR

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