A mild winter has resulted in a much earlier start to the spring 2018 upper Salmon River steelhead fishery compared to previous years. Creel personnel began interviewing anglers on Friday, February 2nd. Catch rates were excellent on Friday, but Salmon River conditions deteriorated over the weekend due to runoff produced by above average temperatures. The majority of angler data in location code 15 was collected on Friday while the river’s condition was good. Interviewed anglers downstream of North Fork in location code 15 averaged 2 hours per steelhead caught and 10 hours per steelhead kept. Upstream of North Fork in location code 16, interviewed anglers averaged 20 hours per steelhead caught and 40 hours per steelhead kept. Upstream of the Lemhi River in location code 17, interviewed anglers averaged 32 hours per steelhead caught or kept. Angler effort was heaviest downstream of Salmon in location codes 15 and 16. Effort upstream near Challis, ID has increased over the past couple of weeks but remains low.
Currently the Salmon River is flowing at 1,460 cfs through the town of Salmon, ID which is 137% of average for today’s date. River temperatures were in the low 40s on Sunday with cloudy visibility.
The Dead Water ice jam went out in mid-January. This winter the ice jam progressed upstream to just below Bobcat Gulch before opening back up. Only the ramps at Deadwater and North Fork were impacted by the ice jam. All other ramps are open, but anglers are advised to check the ramp conditions prior to using them. Road conditions downstream of North Fork remain highly variable from day-to-day depending on the temperatures. Anglers should look out for rocks on the road and be prepared for potential icy or muddy conditions.
Report by Brent Beller – Idaho Fish & Game