Upper Salmon River Steelhead Fishing Report 3.5.24
By angelamontana

Posted: March 5, 2024

Hi everyone, this is the Upper Salmon River steelhead fishing report for March 5, 2024. The data included in this report was collected between Wednesday, February 28 and Sunday, March 3, 2024.

The spring steelhead fishery has been a good one so far in 2024. With the early breakup of the Deadwater ice jam on February 7, the season got off to an early start, and despite colder weather moving back in for the past two weeks, the season remains well ahead of average compared to more recent years. During the past week, we observed angler effort beginning to increase in the upriver areas, but the area with the most angler effort remained upstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River in location code 15.

Catch rates during the past week were good in all areas of the Upper Salmon River. Anglers interviewed upstream of the Middle Fork Salmon River in location code 15 averaged 9 hours per steelhead caught, and anglers interviewed upstream of North Fork in location code 16 also averaged 9 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed upstream of the Lemhi River in location code 17 averaged 8 hours per steelhead caught, and anglers interviewed upstream of the Pahsimeroi River in location code 18 also averaged 8 hours per steelhead caught. Few interviews were obtained from anglers fishing downstream of the Middle Fork in location code 14, but anglers interviewed within that area averaged 6 hours per steelhead caught. Similarly, few anglers were interviewed upstream of the East Fork Salmon River in location code 19, but anglers were catching steelhead in that area and averaged 16 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interested in fishing upstream of Clayton, ID in the coming weeks should be prepared to deal with deep snow. This area received heavy snowfall over the past weekend, and access is limited.

The Salmon River’s visibility was excellent in all areas throughout the week, while water temperatures continued to fluctuate as weather systems moved through the area (see figure below). On Sunday afternoon, water temperatures were in the mid to upper 30s in all areas, but as of Tuesday, March 5, water temperatures have dropped considerably and are back into the low to mid 30s, depending on the location. Currently, the Salmon River is flowing at 1,070 cfs through the town of Salmon, ID which is 99 percent of average for today’s date.

USGS Gauge nr Shoup - temp 03-05-24

Figure showing Salmon River water temperatures at the USGS site near Shoup, ID from 2/28/2024 to 3/05/2024.

As of Monday, March 4, the Pahsimeori Hatchery has trapped 50 hatchery steelhead. The Sawtooth Hatchery has not started to trap any steelhead, but we will include those numbers in future reports once they are available. Anglers can also check for updated trap numbers themselves by following this link to the IDFG steelhead returns webpage.

The last thing we wanted to include in this week’s report is an update on the number of PIT tags that have been detected at the array located 11 miles upstream of Salmon, ID. As of Monday, 36 PIT-tagged adult steelhead have been detected at this location in 2024. Four tags were detected in January, 22 tags were detected in February, and 10 tags have already been detected in March. Based on this pattern, it’s looking like we’re starting to see a large increase in the number of steelhead that are making their way upstream of this site. Anglers interested in checking these detections themselves can do so on the PTAGIS website by following these steps:

  1. Go to PTAGIS.org and select “Observations” in the dropdown menu under “Data”.
  2. Under “Active Sites”, scroll down and find “USE-Upper Salmon River at rkm 437” to select the Elevenmile site.
  3. Choose your desired time period and click “Submit”.
  4. The search results will display all the PIT tag detections within your selected time frame.
  5. If needed, filter the results by species by selecting a species name under “Tags per Species”.
  6. To distinguish between juvenile and adult fish, click on a specific tag code to check the “Complete Tag History”. This will show the species, tagging date, tagging location, and detection history for each tag.
USE PIT steelhead PIT detections spring 2024
Figure showing PIT tag detections of adult steelhead at the USE site (11 miles upstream of Salmon, ID) between 1/01/2024 and 3/04/2024).

(Report via Brent Beller | IDFG)

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