July 4, 2022

Clearwater River Fishing Report

Steelhead – We still have a couple months left for Clearwater, Snake, and Grande Ronde steelhead. We are currently taking a short break as air temps are forecasted to reach single digits. Once we warm back up we will be back at it. We have been finding fish scattered throughout the Clearwater River system and continue to catch nice big fish. As a reminder the Clearwater limit will stay at 1 fish after Jan 1, the Snake will bump up to 2 fish on Idaho tags, and the Grande Ronde will remain at 1 fish. January has been some of our best catching the past few seasons.
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Encouraging News for the Upcoming Seasons – Every year the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) analyzes various ocean conditions to develop “stoplight” tables that can be used to forecast adult salmon returns. They compare all the years of sampling data to arrive at rank scores for each ocean ecosystem indicator. Then they color-code each indicator based on its score to reflect ocean conditions for salmon growth and survival (green = good; yellow = fair; red = poor). The past 7 years (2014-2020) have been some of the worst ranking ocean conditions we have seen, however 2021 has ranked as one of the best years since 1998. As a matter of fact 2021 is the 2nd best ranking in 23 years. (On the attached chart, the lower the ranking the better the conditions. Ranking of 0 would be a perfect ocean)

Here are some facts from prior years:1999 ranked a 7.0 – in 2001 the Snake River basin returned its largest Spring Chinook run ever recorded.2008 ranked a 3.2 (the best ever in 23 years) – in 2009 we saw one of the largest A-run steelhead returns over Lower Granite Dam (over 300,000 fish). To put this in perspective total Steelhead return in 2021 for both A & B runs was only 44,000 fish.2011, 2012, 2013 we saw rankings of 8.1, 6.6, 9.3 respectively and from 2013 – 2015 we saw record returns of fall Chinook. (Close to 1 million each season over Bonneville Dam)We hope that this will be a trend that will continue into the future and we can begin to look forward to stronger returns of Salmon & Steelhead.

Some Clearwater pictures from the past couple of weeks:

Idaho Steelhead Fishing Report

Clearwater River Steelhead – The last couple of weeks have been up and down in regards to catch rates. A lot of traffic on the river combined with unstable flows (extreme low to higher stained water) has caused the bite to be a bit tough. We welcomed the rains this week, but with that we are currently fishing through what we call “tea-stained” water. This happens when the Clearwater basin is hit with wildfires during the summer. The first few good rains wash the ash into the river turning it black. This phenomena takes awhile to clear, but we expect that to start taking place now as the water has dropped back to normal flows. With that being said our guests have continued to catch some great Steelhead, including a 40.5″, 20 pound 5 ounce buck caught last week!

We have plenty of room for you on board our boats. Our captains each carry propane heaters during the cold months, and as always provide hot cooked meals for lunch.
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Idaho Steelhead Fishing Report

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A Reel Time Fishing gift certificate is perfect for the fisherperson in your family! You can buy them online and they can be emailed directly to you upon checkout.

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Steelhead Fishing Report:

Clearwater River – The Clearwater fished tough this past month. With cold, low water the fish went into their “winter” mode. When this happens a majority of the fish move into the warmer waters of the North Fork, push back down into the Lower Granite Pool, or hold in the slow deep holes. It becomes very hard to coerce them into biting. Despite the difficult bite we still managed to have a few good trips with nice fish caught. As the temperatures rise this week we expect the bite to turn back on. The “post-cold” bite is always epic and you don’t want to miss it.

Snake River – The Snake fished well up until Idaho Power resumed their water fluctuations at Hells Canyon Dam. When this starts back up each fall/winter it tells the steelhead to start moving. The bite was tough for the first few days after this cycle, but eventually those fish go back on the bite and it also brings new fish into the mix.

Grande Ronde – The couple of Ronde trips we ran were a bust as the river was icy. There are fish to be caught but the conditions were poor. This past week the ice has cleared and water temps have increased which should create a good bite. Our cast & blast trip is still offered until the waterfowl season closes January 26th.

We are looking for 1 to 3 anglers to join a single angler on December 28th for Clearwater River Steelhead. Contact Travis to book 208-790-4113

Here are some pictures from the past week on the Clearwater: