Steelhead angler effort along the upper Salmon River increased during the past week but remained below average for this time of year. The majority of angler effort was located downstream of North Fork in location 15, and anglers interviewed within this area averaged 19 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed downstream of the Lemhi River in location code 16 averaged 25 hours per steelhead caught, and anglers interviewed downstream of the Pahsimeroi River in location code 17 averaged 15 hours per steelhead caught. No anglers interviewed downstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River in location code 14 reported catching a steelhead, and no angler interviews were obtained from upstream of the Pahsimeroi River in location codes 18 and 19.
River conditions over the weekend varied on location but were generally good in all areas with water temperatures in the low to mid-30s. As of Tuesday, March 14th, the river upstream of Deadwater had cloudy visibility, while the river immediately downstream of Deadwater was muddy with less than one foot of visibility.
The spring melt has finally started in the lower areas of the upper Salmon River. Through the weekend and early part of this week, we have had multiple nights with overnight lows above freezing (and highs in the 40s). As of Tuesday, March 14th, the Deadwater ice jam was still set up from Deadwater to Bobcat Gulch (approximately 7 river miles), but the ice throughout most of this area has slumped and should continue to melt out over the next couple of days. The forecast for Wednesday through Friday is calling for colder weather to move back into the area with lows dipping back into the low teens. Given this forecast, it’s difficult to predict how many more days it will take for Deadwater to completely open up, but we will issue a report once it does. Additionally, many of the areas that were frozen over downstream of Deadwater have melted, and road conditions through the “narrows”, between Pine Creek and Panther Creek, have improved since last week.
Brent Beller | Idaho Fish and Game