Upper Salmon River Steelhead Fishing Report by IDFG 3.19.24
By angelamontana

Posted: March 19, 2024

Hi everyone, this is the Upper Salmon River steelhead fishing report for March 19, 2024. The data included in this report was collected between Monday, March 11 and Sunday, March 17, 2024.

Angler effort was high in all areas of the Upper Salmon River last weekend, as many people got outside to enjoy the warm weather. Angler effort downstream of Salmon, ID in location codes 14, 15 and 16 was similar to levels observed during the previous two weeks, while angler effort upstream of the Lemhi River in location codes 17, 18, and 19 was much higher than at any point so far this spring.

Catch rates remained good to excellent in most areas last week, with the exception of the stretch between the North Fork Salmon and Pahsimeroi rivers, where catch rates declined. Few interviews were obtained from anglers fishing downstream of the Middle Fork in location code 14, but those anglers that were interviewed averaged 7 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed downstream of North Fork in location code 15 averaged 10 hours per steelhead caught, while anglers interviewed downstream of the Lemhi River in location code 16 averaged 36 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed downstream of the Pahsimeroi River in location code 17 averaged 21 hours per steelhead caught, and anglers interviewed downstream of the East Fork in location code 18 averaged 9 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed upstream of the East Fork in location code 19 averaged 5 hours per steelhead caught which was the best average catch rate for the week.

River conditions were good throughout most of the week until the warm weather moved in during the weekend. By Monday, the river had reduced visibility in areas below the East Fork Salmon and Lemhi rivers, but the river was not blown out and remained fishable. Throughout the coming week, we will likely see daily fluctuations in the river’s visibility as the warm weather is predicted to persist for the next few days. Additionally, water temperatures downstream of North Fork had increased into the mid-40s by Sunday and are currently in the upper 40s (see figure below). Upstream near Challis, ID, water temperatures were in the low-40s on Sunday. Currently, the Salmon River is flowing at 1,150 cfs through the town of Salmon, ID which is 100 percent of average for today’s date.

Figure showing Salmon River water temperatures at the USGS site near Shoup, ID from 3/12/2024 to 3/19/2024.

As of Monday, March 18, the Pahsimeroi Hatchery has trapped 229 hatchery steelhead. The Sawtooth Hatchery has started to trap steelhead, and they estimate that approximately 20 have been trapped as of today. The exact number of steelhead trapped will not be known until the trap is sorted for the first time on Thursday, March 21. We will include the updated trap number in next week’s report, and anglers can check for updated trap numbers themselves by following this link to the IDFG steelhead returns webpage.

In the March 5th report, we provided instructions for how to use PTAGIS to look up PIT tag detections of adult steelhead at the mainstem Salmon River array located 11 miles upstream of Salmon, ID. Last week, we updated a graph showing the number of detections through March 11. Below is an updated figure that shows another 65 PIT tags were detected during the past week from March 12 to March 18. Anyone trying to query recent detections at this site should be aware that it has not uploaded detection data since Monday morning (March 18) due to an outage with the AT&T network around Salmon, ID. Once the outage is fixed and communication is restored, additional detections from Monday and Tuesday should show up in the results.

Figure showing PIT tag detections of adult steelhead at the USE site (11 miles upstream of Salmon, ID) between 1/01/2024 and 3/18/2024.

(Click here to read original report by Brent Beller, IDFG)
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