Steelhead angler effort on the upper Salmon River remained high during the past week. The majority of angler effort was observed downstream of North Fork in location code 15, but effort also began to increase upstream of the East Fork Salmon River in location code 19. Boat anglers were most concentrated around Salmon, ID and the confluence of the Pahsimeroi River. The majority of steelhead were caught in location code 15, and anglers interviewed in that area averaged 22 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed upstream of North Fork in location code 16 averaged 83 hours per steelhead caught, and anglers interviewed upstream of the Lemhi River in location code 17 averaged 50 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed upstream of the Pahsimeroi River in location code 18 averaged 36 hours per steelhead caught, and anglers interviewed upstream of the East Fork in location code 19 averaged 65 hours per steelhead caught.
River conditions were good early in the week, but then began to worsen after a weather system moved through the area on Friday. On Saturday, the river had reduced visibility downstream of the Lemhi River, but conditions began to improve in all areas by Sunday afternoon. River temperatures on Sunday ranged from the low to mid 40s, and the Salmon River is currently flowing at 1,090 cfs through the town of Salmon, ID which is 92 percent of average for today’s date.
As of Monday, March 22, the Pahsimeroi Hatchery has trapped 198 hatchery steelhead. Additionally, the weir at the Sawtooth Hatchery was installed last week and a small number of steelhead have been trapped so far. The precise number of steelhead trapped at the Sawtooth Hatchery will be reported next week once the steelhead are counted during the first spawning day.
We would like to ask anglers to continue to be on the 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.
Brent Beller | Idaho Fish & Game