The Deadwater ice jam broke free towards the end of last week, and steelhead angler effort downstream of North Fork increased considerably. The majority of data for this week’s report was collected between Friday and Sunday because of cold weather earlier in the week. The highest amount of angler effort over the weekend was observed downstream of North Fork in location code 15. Anglers interviewed downstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River in location code 14 averaged 19 hours per steelhead caught, and anglers interviewed upstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River in location code 15 averaged 32 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed upstream of North Fork in location code 16 averaged 25 hours per steelhead caught, and anglers interviewed upstream of the Lemhi River in location code 17 averaged 36 hours per steelhead caught. One angler interviewed upstream of the Pahsimeroi River in location code 18 reported catching a steelhead which resulted in an average catch rate of 82 hours per steelhead. Angler effort upstream of the East Fork Salmon River in location code 19 was very low, and no anglers reported catching a steelhead.
During the weekend, river conditions varied depending on the area. Downstream of North Fork the river had 2-3 feet of visibility, and mid-day water temperatures were in the low 40s. Between North Fork and the East Fork the river had slightly cloudy visibility with water temperatures in the upper 30s to low 40s, and upstream of the East Fork the river was clear with water temperatures in the upper 30s. Currently, the Salmon River is flowing at 963 cfs through the town of Salmon, ID which 86% of average for today’s date.
The first hatchery steelhead of the spring was trapped at the Pahsimeroi Hatchery on Thursday, March 10th, and no steelhead have been trapped at the Sawtooth Hatchery. Additionally, we would like to continue to inform anglers that the Idaho Fish and Game Commission changed the steelhead daily bag limit for the spring 2022 steelhead season on the Salmon, Little Salmon, and Snake rivers to 2 fish per day, 6 in possession. These changes went into effect on January 1 and only apply to the to the 2022 spring steelhead season.
Brent Beller | Fisheries Biologist 1 | Idaho Fish and Game