Creel personnel began interviewing steelhead anglers along the upper Salmon River this past Friday, February 19th. Angler effort over the weekend was low, and the majority of interviews were obtained in location code 17 between the Lemhi and Pahsimeroi rivers. No interviews were obtained from downstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River in location code 14. Upstream of the Middle Fork in location code 15, interviewed anglers averaged 27 hours per steelhead caught. Upstream of North Fork in location code 16, interviewed anglers averaged 14 hours per steelhead caught, and upstream of the Lemhi River in location code 17, interviewed anglers averaged 63 hours per steelhead caught. No anglers interviewed upstream of the Pahsimeroi River in location code 18 reported catching a steelhead.
River conditions varied depending on location but were generally good. On Sunday, the river had cloudy visibility downstream of the Lemhi River and clear visibility upstream of the Lemhi River with river temperatures in the low to mid 30s. Currently the Salmon River is flowing at 1,040 cfs through the town of Salmon, ID which is 95% of average for today’s date. As of Sunday, the Deadwater ice jam was still in place. We will continue to check the condition of the ice jam and will issue an update once it breaks up. Additionally, the Salmon River road downstream of North Fork, ID is plowed, but due to recent snowfall, parking areas are limited. Since river and road conditions can change quickly this time of year, any interested anglers are encouraged to call the IDFG Salmon Region office at (208) 756-2271.
With this first report of the spring 2021 season, we would like to remind anglers to lookout for floy tagged steelhead. The University of Idaho, in cooperation with IDFG, is in the second year of a multiyear study to look at the influence of catch and release angling on wild steelhead. Anglers that catch a floy tagged steelhead are encouraged to remove the tag by clipping it off at the base, and then report the tag number and catch location to IDFG by using either the phone number printed on the tag or by going to the “Tag You’re It” website at: www.tag.idaho.gov. For additional information regarding this study, anglers can visit the IDFG website at: https://idfg.idaho.gov/blog/2020/12/every-year-different-steelhead-grad-study-update.
Brent Beller | Fisheries Biologist 1 | Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission | Idaho Department of Fish and Game – Region 7