On Wednesday, March 1st, IDFG personnel began interviewing steelhead anglers along the upper Salmon River. During the first week, angler effort was low in all areas with a slight increase observed on Saturday. Anglers reported catching two steelhead between the Lemhi and Pahsimeroi rivers in location code 17, and no other anglers reported catching a steelhead. Additionally, no interviews were obtained from location codes 14 or 19.
In areas with open water, river conditions were good during the past weekend. Water temperatures were in the low to mid 30s, and the river had clear visibility.
Cold temperatures and ice have delayed fishing on the upper Salmon River so far this season. Despite afternoon temperatures rising to the 30s, cold overnight lows have prevented the river from opening up as much as it typically does by this time of year. As of March 6th, the Deadwater ice jam is still in place and extends from Deadwater to near Kriley Gulch (approximately 12 river miles). Within location code 15, multiple stretches of river within the “narrows” between Pine Creek and Panther Creek are also frozen over, and the majority of fishable water is downstream of Panther Creek. The river between Carmen Creek boat ramp and the Pahsimeroi confluence is in good shape, with little to no shore ice and no ice jams. However, in location code 18, between the Pahsimeroi and East Fork confluences, multiple ice jams are present, and the amount of fishable water is limited. Location code 19, upstream of the East Fork, has open water in most areas, but winter conditions are still present upstream of Thompson Creek, with shore ice and deep snow. Warmer weather is forecasted for this upcoming weekend and into the following week which should help to open up the river.
As mentioned in last week’s Upper Salmon River Conditions report, all boat ramps between Deadwater and Morgan Bar are currently unusable due to ice. Fish and Game is planning on clearing the Red Rock, 4th of July, Bobcat, and North Fork boat ramps once the river opens to below North Fork, and the likelihood of the ice jam building back upstream is low. We will issue a separate report to notify anglers once the Deadwater ice jam breaks up.
by Brent Beller | Fisheries Biologist 1 | Idaho Fish and Game