Posts tagged: Salmon River
FISHING — Idaho will open a spring Chinook salmon fishing season on Saturday, May 4, on parts of the Clearwater, Salmon and Snake rivers, according to rules adopted today by the state Fish and Game Commission.
Fish counts from Bonneville Dam suggest that the 2013 return of Chinook salmon to Idaho may be significantly lower than forecast but large enough to support fisheries. Projected returns for the Clearwater River are farther below forecast levels than returns to the Salmon and Snake rivers.
Fish and Game tailored the 2013 fisheries proposals to meet hatchery broodstock needs, focus fishing efforts in areas where hatchery fish are most abundant, and still allow fishing in river reaches that anglers have grown accustomed to fishing in recent years.
The proposal for the Clearwater River approved by the commission achieves these goals by limiting fishing to four days per week and reducing the length of river open to fishing in each of the recently fished sections.
Only the Lochsa River is closed entirely to fishing.
Salmon returns to the Salmon and Snake rivers do not appear to be as far below forecast levels as those to the Clearwater. Fisheries in the Lower Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake rivers are similar to fisheries in recent years. These areas will be open seven days a week, and river sections recently fished will not be shortened – except the Shorts Bar to Vinegar Creek stretch of the lower Salmon River, which is closed.
Read on for details on Idaho areas open and closed to fishing.
WHITEWATER — There was a major league close call last weekend at the 29th Annual Salmon RIVER Jet Boat Races near Riggins, Idaho.
Check it out and see how long you can hold your breath.
RIVERS — The 2013 USA Jet River Racing Series kicks off this weekend (April 19-21) with the 29th Annual Salmon RIVER Jet Boat Races near Riggins, Idaho.
About 20 jet boat teams from Canada and the United States are expected to compete. Teams will be racing for fastest times on Saturday and Sunday.
The next scheduled races in the US are:
The community of Riggins is celebrating this weekend's events with a public BBQ on Friday, April 19 starting at 6 p.m. (tickets are $10 per person) and a fireworks show on Saturday evening after the first day of races.
Spectators are invited to watch the event from the riverbanks where there is public road access to view all the action. Notable viewing areas include the confluence of the Little and Main Salmon Rivers, Time Zone Rapid and Tight Squeeze Rapid.
Music, food and vendors will be featured all over town.
Read on for lodging in for and a race schedule.
FISHING — Steelhead have been working their way into tributaries as they near their spawning areas after a long migration that started last year. Many anglers love this time of year, when the fish are more accessible in the smaller streams.
Recent angler surveys show catch rates to be 11 hours per fish caught on the Salmon River upstream of the East Fork, 17 hours per fish caught on the Little Salmon River, and 8 hours per fish caught on the South Fork Clearwater River, the Idaho Fish and Game Department says.
Steelhead fishing is considered very good anytime catch rates are lower than 20 hours per fish caught.
The spring harvest season closes March 31 on the Salmon River from the Lake Creek Bridge to Long Tom Creek – three-quarters of a mile upstream from the Middle Fork Salmon River.
But anglers can continue fishing through April 30 in most other steelhead waters, except the Little Salmon River, which stays open until May 15.
Other open waters include:
Snake Riverfrom the Washington state line at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
Clearwater RiverMainstem and Middle Fork from its mouth upstream to Clear Creek.
North Fork Clearwater Riverfrom its mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam.
South Fork Clearwater Riverfrom its mouth upstream to the confluence of American and Red Rivers.
Salmon Riverfrom its mouth upstream to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream of the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery weir near Stanley. Except the reach from the Lake Creek Bridge to Long Tom Creek, which closes March 31.
Spring steelhead limits are three fish per day and nine in possession with no more than 20 fish for the season. Once limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing, even catch and release.
Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks, and may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin, as evidenced by a healed scar. All other steelhead must be released immediately.
Consult Idaho's 2013-2015 fishing rules book for special restrictions and limits.
Idaho has required a valid 2013 fishing license and steelhead permit since Jan. 1 in order to fish for steelhead.
RIVERS — Photographer Gary Lane of Riggins, who does Salmon River rafting with Wapiti River Guides in Idaho, captured this image of a rare natural phenomenon that occurs in slow moving water in cold climates, such as January in the River of No Return Wilderness.
Ice circles are thin and circular slabs of ice that rotate slowly in the water. Generally they form in eddy currents. In fluid dynamics, an eddy is the swirling of a fluid and the reverse current created when the fluid flows past an obstacle or disturbance to the flow, such as a bay.
Some mystics have seized on the “power” of ice circles. Some wackos connect them with UFOs.
See other instances of ice circles:
RUNNING RIVERS — My wife and I and a dozen friends in our would-be rafting group feel your pain if you didn't draw a coveted permit to reserve a launch date for one of Idaho's four famous wilderness whitewater rivers.
We bombed, too.
The competition is stiff for the annual drawing to run the Salmon, Middle Fork, Selway or Hells Canyon of the Snake. But it's funny how some groups never get drawn and others seem to luck out and draw a permit every year.
Everyone who applied this year has received a query from the Forest Service, which is considering a weighted lottery for river permits roughly similar to that used in most states for issuing hunting permits. In other words, every time you apply and don't get selected, you gain chances that give you better odds in the next year's drawing.
It' a good idea? If you have a stake in this, read these details from the Forest Service and email them your thoughts.
North Idaho outdoorsman Todd Hoffman said he's already replied the Salmon-Challis National Forest with these suggestions for a weighted lottery:
- Cap preference points to five.
- Limit trips to one per person per year.
- Allow pooling of applications and preference points.
- Set preference points to zero for any one who draws a permit or who participates in another permit holders trip.
- Release any unused commercial launches to private boaters.
- Create an online follow up lottery for cancellations.
- Implement smaller caps for trip sizes, but create more launches.
RIVERS — My group of river-running hopefuls are feeling left out after all of us received “unsuccessful” notices from the annual lottery for summer floating permits on Salmon River through Idaho's River of No Return Wilderness.
The Forest Service permits for the Salmon, Middle Fork, Selway and Hells Canyon of the Snake are highly prized. Although it's disappointing not to draw a permit, nobody would want to go back to the chaos and degradation these most-popular rivers would suffer without regulation and daily group quotas.
Here's the observation from another unlucky permit applicant from the Northwest Whitewater group:
For those of us who put in for the 4 Rivers Lottery & got skunked once again, I weep with you…For what it's worth, the reason we don't score lottery launch dates isn't bad luck or poor karma. In the case of the Middle Fork, for example, those of us who never draw are victims of the immutable statistical fact that we are among nearly 10,000 applicants each year competing for each season's only 387 available launch permits.[How to even the odds: talk all your boating buds into NOT putting in for permits anymore 'cause it's pointless (LOL)].
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Another point of view…
The Seattle Times' recent article on the federal government's work to save sockeye salmon estimated that the per-fish price tag of raising wild fish in hatcheries was $9,000, a spendy proposition that still has not pulled the species back from the edge of extinction, and a better method would be to remove the dams that block the wild fish's age-old migration from the West Coast to Redfish Lake in Central Idaho, according to an Idaho Statesman editorial.
Click “continue reading” to see the entire editorial:
RIVERS — The Idaho Conservation League has petitioned the U.S. Forest Service, asking the agency to reconsider allowing more gold exploration near the headwaters of the South Fork of the Salmon River.
See the story:
Idaho Statesman (AP); Nov. 21
SALMON FISHERIES — Sockeye salmon that make an incredible 900 mile journey from the ocean up the Columbia River system to reach their spawning areas in central Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains have a grim history of abuse.
They also are in the spotlight of a remarkable effort aiming at their recovery.
The Seattle Times has done a nice job of compiling the story and updating the status of a fishery that deserves our awe and respect.
RIVERS — An Idaho conservation group has dropped its lawsuit challenging state approval of a plan to dredge a stretch of the Salmon River for gold, according to the Associated Press.
The Idaho Conservation League backed away from its lawsuit last week mainly because the Mike Conklin of Grangeville also scrapped his plans to dredge the river.
ICL sued days after the state approved a mining lease for Conklin. In September, Conklin was awarded a five-year lease by the Idaho Land Board for exclusive access to a half-mile stretch of river downstream of Riggins.
In its lawsuit, ICL argued the state needed to approve a reclamation plan before approving suction dredge leases.
ICL officials say they also won state assurances that if Conklin changed his mind, he would have to go through the entire lease process again.
RIVERS — An environmental group has filed a lawsuit against Idaho after officials including Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter approved a plan to dredge the Salmon River for gold, the Associated Press reports.
The Idaho Conservation League on Tuesday asked a 4th District Court judge to require Idaho to approve a reclamation plan before signing off on any mining projects.
In September, Grangeville miner Mike Conklin was awarded a five-year lease by the Idaho Land Board giving him sole access to a half-mile stretch about 13 miles downstream of Riggins.
The Boise-based environmental group contends Otter and other board members ignored laws meant to protect Idaho’s water, arguing that miners who use gasoline-powered suction dredges often leave big holes in the riverbed that damage valuable habitat for salmon and steelhead.
Some anglers opposed Conklin’s permit, saying it will hurt fishing.
FISHING – The fall steelhead harvest season opens in the Clearwater River drainage on Monday (Oct 15) with a few twists in the fishing rules from previous seasons.
The seasons opens on the main stem of the Clearwater River above the Memorial Bridge, the South Fork Clearwater River, the North Fork Clearwater River below Dworshak Dam and the Middle Fork Clearwater River below Clear Creek.
The steelhead harvest season on lower Clearwater and Snake rivers already is open.
The limits on the Clearwater are two a day and six in possession while the limits on the Snake and Salmon rivers are three a day and nine in possession.
Only steelhead with a hatchery-clipped adipose fin may be kept.
New rules that took effect last year allow anglers to transport anadromous salmon and steelhead without the head and tail attached. However:
See Idaho Fish and Game’s “How to fish for steelhead” videos.
FISHING — Steelhead continue their parade up the Snake River and over the dams. They're moving over Lower Granite Dam, the last before they hit Idaho waters, at the rate of about 2,200 a day.
FISHING — Good catches of steelhead and chinook salmon have been reported this week from the Lyons Ferry area of the Snake, the Lewiston area, the Grande Ronde River and all the way up to the Salmon River at Riggins.
Water conditions are getting prime and fish are spreading their wealth to anglers, even though the runs aren't up to average.
Here's the upstream report on the Salmon River from Amy Sinclair of Exodus River Adventures in Riggins:
Salmon River flow this morning is 3640 CFS, water temperature is 57 degrees and the river is crystal clear.
Colder night-time temperatures should be ideal for cooling the water temperature down and getting more steelhead into the area.
The prime steelhead fly fishing is late September to mid October while water temperatures are warm and have the fish aggressive. Standard or typical steelhead fishing with spin or bait rods/reels is best in the fall from mid October until early December. Best spring steelheading is from early February to mid March.
FISHING — Get your hooks sharpened in the Lewiston-Clarkston area for th big spike of steelhead that's moved over Lower Granite Dam in the past two days — nearly 3,000 on Wednesday alone.
FISHING — With steelhead counts on the downward trend at Bonneville Dam, the first dam they reach from the ocean on their upstream migrations, they haven't even started to rise out of double digits over Lower Granite Dam, the last dam they cross before hitting the Grande Ronde River and Idaho.
Could this be a year for another big late August-early September spike over Lower Granite?
WHITEWATER — Guides are gearing up to give discounted raft runs through some of the Salmon River's popular rapids at their biggest on Saturday during the annual Big Water Blowout festival based in Riggins, Idaho.
SALMON FISHING — Dorey boat fishing guides and elders of the Nez Perce Tribe will row around a big eddy on May 26 and pray for a safe return of spring chinook to the Salmon River during the 11th annual Sacred Salmon Ceremony and Friendship Feast near Riggins, Idaho.
The event will be based out of the Spring Bar Campground, 10 miles upstream from Riggins. The ceremony starts at 2 p.m. A circle ceremony will be followed by a potluck dinner, said Gary Lane, owner of Wapiti Outfitters.
By the way, the spring chinook are moving into the salmon on their upstream migration, with fish showing up in the Rapid River Hatchery traps.
Read on for details on the colorful Sacred Salmon event.