Carmen, Red Rock and Bobcat Gulch boat ramps are now plowed and accessible.
Cold temperatures on the upper Salmon River resulted in very low steelhead angler effort during the first half of the previous week, with most anglers only fishing for an hour or two during the afternoons. Weather conditions began to improve by Friday and angler effort increased, especially downstream of Panther Creek in location code 15.
Over the weekend, the majority of anglers were observed fishing in location codes 14 and 15. Anglers interviewed downstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River in location code 14 averaged 8 hours per steelhead caught, and anglers interviewed downstream of North Fork in location code 15 averaged 9 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed downstream of the Lemhi River in location code 16 averaged 35 hours per steelhead caught, and anglers interviewed downstream of the Pahsimeroi River in location code 17 averaged 27 hours per steelhead caught. Angler effort upstream of the Pahsimeroi River in location codes 18 and 19 was low, and no angler interviews were obtained.
Current river conditions vary greatly depending on location. The Deadwater ice jam is still in place, and shelf ice is prevalent in sections of location code 15. Most days, the river has had cloudy visibility downstream of Deadwater ice jam, but visibility tends to improve further downstream. Upstream of Deadwater in location codes 16, 17, and 18 the river is the most accessible and visibility has been clear. River temperatures over the weekend were in the mid-30s in all location codes.
From Carmen to North Fork, the Carmen, Red Rock and Bobcat Gulch ramps are now plowed and accessible. However, parking and camping is still limited due to snow. The North Fork ramp is plowed, but shore ice left behind from the ice jam makes taking out difficult and is not currently recommended. Boat anglers are advised to always check the current conditions of any ramps they plan to use.
Anglers are also encouraged to use extreme caution as river and road conditions can change rapidly this time of year. The Salmon River road is currently plowed to Corn Creek, but drivers are advised to look out for icy road conditions and rocks on the road.
by Brent Beller
Fisheries Technician II , Idaho Fish & Game