The Deadwater ice jam went out on Thursday, March 5th.
Steelhead angler effort increased this past week on the upper Salmon River, but catch rates declined. Over the weekend, the majority of bank anglers were observed downstream of North Fork in location code 15, and boat anglers were spread out between Challis and North Fork.
Snow slides downstream of North Fork limited the number of interviews that were obtained from location codes 14 and 15 throughout the week, and no interviews were collected on Sunday. Bank anglers interviewed downstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River in location code 14 did not report catching a steelhead. Anglers interviewed upstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River in location code 15 averaged 25 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed upstream of the North Fork Salmon River in location code 16 averaged 51 hours per steelhead caught, and anglers interviewed upstream of the Lemhi River in location code 17 averaged 92 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed upstream of the Pahsimeroi River in location code 18 did not report catching a steelhead. Angler effort upstream of the East Fork in location code 19 was low, and no interviews were obtained.
The Deadwater ice jam opened up on Thursday, March 5th and river conditions downstream began to improve by Saturday. Conditions in the upstream areas remain good, and the Salmon River is currently flowing at 1,110 cfs in Salmon, ID which is 102% of average for today’s date. Water temperatures over the weekend were in the upper 30s downstream of North Fork and in the low 40s near Challis.
All boat ramps from North Fork to Watts Bridge, near Challis are now plowed and accessible. Parking and camping, especially downstream of North Fork remains limited due to snow, and anglers are encouraged to use caution when heading below North Fork as road conditions can change rapidly this time year.
by Brent Beller
Fisheries Technician II
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission