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Spokane benefit raises $6,500 for Wild Steelhead Coalition

FISHING — A benefit auction and film showing Tuesday night in Spokane netted $6,500 for the Wild Steelhead Coalition, says Josh Mills, organizer and fly fishing blogger.

About 260 people, up from 149 in last year's debut event, paid $5 each to get into the event at the Lincoln Center, where they could have a drink, bid on prizes ranging from flies to guided steelhead trips and watch the fine and funny fly fishing video, Low and Clear.

Mills, who recruited his entire family to help put on the event, said this effort was a payback for his indelible memory of catching his first wild steelhead.

Tonight: Low and Clear film showing to benefit wild steelhead

FISHING — A zippy film, Low and Clear, — see trailer above — will show in Spokane for a benefit evening to boost the Wild Steelhead Coalition tonight (Feb. 19) at Lincoln Center in Spokane.   

Doors open at 6 p.m., show at 7.

Yes, the film is about steelheading — and more. It debuted in Spokane during the Fly Fishing Film Tour a couple years ago.

The event is organized by Josh Mills of the Chucking Line and Chasing Tail blog and the Silver Bow Fly Shop.  Mills says 170 wild steelhead supporters showed up for last year's benefit.

Numerous guided fly ishing trips and other prizes are up for auction and raffles.

Steelhead fishing opens Friday on Wenatchee, Icicle rivers

FISHING — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department has announced steelhead fishing will open on the Wenatchee and Icicle rivers on Friday along with fishing for whitefish on the Wenatchee.  Following are details from the just-issued WDFW announcement.

Actions:Open the Wenatchee and Icicle rivers on Feb. 8 to fishing for steelhead.  In addition, the Wenatchee River will open Feb. 8 to fishing for whitefish. 

Species affected: Steelhead and whitefish.

Fishing area locations and effective dates:

Areas that will open to fishing for steelhead one hour before sunrise on Feb. 8 until further notice include:

  • Wenatchee River:From the mouth to 400 feet below Tumwater Dam, including the Icicle River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.

Areas that will open to fishing for whitefish one hour before sunrise on Feb. 8 until further notice include:

  • Wenatchee River:From the mouth to the Highway 2 bridge at Leavenworth.

Reason for changes: Recent analyses of the ongoing steelhead fisheries in portions of the upper Columbia River have revealed sufficient impacts to natural origin steelhead still remain under the NOAA-issued ESA section 10 permit. Re-opening steelhead fisheries in both the Wenatchee and Icicle Rivers will help to reduce the proportion of hatchery fish on the spawning grounds, where their offspring may compete with natural origin juvenile salmon. Opening these areas to steelhead angling also allows whitefish angling opportunity. 

Areas that will continue to be closed for steelhead and whitefish angling until further notice include:

  • Mainstem Columbia River: From Wells Dam to the Highway 173 bridge at Brewster.
  • Entiat River: Upstream from the Alternate Highway 97 Bridge near the mouth of the Entiat River to 800 feet downstream of the Entiat National Fish Hatchery.
  • Methow River:From the mouth to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop.

General rules for all locations open to steelhead fishing:

  • Mandatory retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead, daily limit two (2) hatchery steelhead, 20 inch minimum size.  Hatchery steelhead are identified by a missing adipose fin with a healed scar in its location.  
  • Adipose present steelhead must be released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.
  • Night closure and selective gear rules remain in effect.
  • Whitefish anglers must follow selective gear rules in areas open to steelhead fishing, no bait is allowed

Other angler information:

Anglers should be aware that fishing rules are subject to change and that rivers can close at any time due to impacts on natural origin steelhead.  Adhering to the mandatory retention of adipose clipped steelhead is vital in allowing the fishery to continue and to provide the maximum benefit to natural origin fish.  

Anglers are required to possess a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement as part of their valid fishing license.

Reeling in the action from Fly Fishing Film Tour at the Bing

Blackwater Devil's Gold (Official Trailer) from Castaway Films on Vimeo.

FISHING — Incredible fishing sequences and photography was so common in Tuesday night's Fly Fishing Film Tour at the Bing Crosby Theater — we came to expect nothing less.  Here are my top picks in several categories:

Best action:  Blackwater Devil's Gold, fishing in Bolivia for golden dorado, one of the wildest of freshwater fish (see short trailer above, or 7-minute clip here).

Best story: Hit 'em again Doc, featuring Dr. Robert Franklin, 85, an angler with Parkinson's, and his guide.

Best fishing sequence:  Fall Run, a Pacific Northwest steelheading film with an "over the top" action footage of landing a fish in a canyon where the sun don't shine.

Best line: The intriguing thing about steelheading is that … you have to be cool with not catching them.

Lower Columbia gillnet plan could affect anglers on East Side, Idaho

FISHING — As Oregon and Washington consider banning gill nets from the lower Columbia River, some worry the move could have unintended and negative consequences on salmon fisheries in Idaho and Eastern Washington.

Check out this report by the Columbia Basin Bulletin.

Upper Columbia steelhead, whitefish season close Saturday

FISHING — Steelhead fisheries on the upper Columbia River will close one hour after sunset on Saturday (Dec. 1) from Wells Dam to the Highway 173 bridge at Brewster and on the Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, and Methow rivers.

Several whitefish fisheries scheduled to open that day will also close at sunset Dec. 1, including those on the Wenatchee and Entiat rivers, as well as on the Methow River downstream of the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop.

Jeff Korth, Regional Fish Manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the closures are necessary to keep impacts on wild steelhead within limits established under the federal Endangered Species Act.

The closures will not, however, affect steelhead or whitefish seasons on the mainstem Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to Wells Dam, or from the Highway 173 Bridge in Brewster to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam. Those fisheries, plus steelhead and whitefish seasons on the Okanogan and Similkameen rivers, will remain open until further notice under previously published rules.

Read on for more details.

Winners named in Clearwater Snake Steelhead Derby

FISHING — According to unofficial results released Saturday (Nov. 24), a Clarkston man won the $2,000 grand prize at the the annual Kendall Subaru Clearwater Snake Steelhead Derby that's been held Nov. 17-24 based out of Lewiston and Clarkston.

But perennial prize winner Robert Bass of Deer Park once again was a top money winner, according to the preliminary results from the  Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce.

John White of Clarkston caught a  20.07-pound steelhead on Day 2 of the derby to claim the overall winner title. The fish topped a total of 245 steelhead weighed in during the eight-day event.

Bass  caught the second-largest overall steelhead — 18.6 pounds — on Day 1 of the derby, then another 18-plus-pounder to win the daily prize for Day 3 and a 14.8-pounder to with the Day 5 daily prize.

Fishing and fishing conditions deteriorated during a week of storms and participation fell off some during the big holiday weekend.  The number of fish weighed in steadily declined during the wee with a high of 65 fison on Day one to a low of nine fish on Saturday, the last day.

As I noted in a pre-event story, the derby was extended include the Thanksgiving holiday this year as well as being expanded to include Washington waters.


Region’s steelheading briefly subdued by rain

FISHING — Rain has fouled most of the region's rivers, setting anglers back a bit until the waters clear.

But the fish were there over the weekend before the flows picked up, and there will still be plenty of fish around when flows ease.

The exception is the Salmon River near Riggins, which was running at ideal flows and 43 degrees this morning, says Amy Sinclair, riverescape@frontier.com, of Exodus River Expeditions.

Here's a weekend Grande Ronde river drift boat report from angler Jeff Holmes:

15 takedowns for 6 fish Saturday, 5 wild. Another fish, probably a big wild one, fried my drag and broke me off! Pretty good action on 8-pound average fish. Hatchery fish was a nice 8 pounder, too.

Dying spring chinook are VERY. Numerous, much more so than in past. (Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists) say there may be a season soon.

Meanwhile, at the Clearwater Snake River Steelhead Derby, only 28 steelhead were caught today, Day 4 of the event that runs through Nov. 24.  That's down from 62 on Saturday, the first day of the event, 50 fish weighed on Sunday and 35 fish on Monday.

By the way, angler Robert Bass of Deer Park, continues to be a regular fixture at the top of the daily money winners — as he has for years. He's already weighed-in two steelhead over 18 pounds. Bass is a steelheading stud. 

Grande Ronde steelhead dwarfs typical fish

STEELHEAD FISHING — The S-R's Fishing-Hunting Report this week notes that steelhead fishing has been good on the Grande Ronde River this week.

But angler Jeff Holmes puts an exclamation point on that report with these photos and this assessment of his recent driftboat outing, which includes the thrills of seeing bighorn rams along the shores.  

A ferocious fight resulted in the eventual netting of this Grande Ronde goliath (I) caught above Boggan's Oasis while backtrolling a metallic blue size 35 Hot Shot trailing a 1/0 Gamakatsu Siwash on double split rings. 

With this being such a special fish for the Grande Ronde, stretching a hair over 34 inches and weighing 14 pounds, I thought it only appropriate to have a normal-sized human photographed with this fish, per the previous advice of WDFW's Chris Donley. 

Thanks, Teddy Schmitt, for holding this fish for me, and for outfishing me by putting three big hens in the net, including a 28 1/2-incher just moments before this one bit.

In case you don't get his humor, Holmes is a large man. He didn't want to make his huge fish look dinky in comparison by holding it for the photo. 

Holmes said Chris Donley, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife inland lakes manager and steelheading expert, said he's seen only one hatchery steelhead larger than this fish come out of the Ronde.

See my column on a new steelhead fishing book that will giving you insight on how to catch more steelhead in the region's rivers.

Pro angler to speak at steelhead derby opening ceremony

FISHING — Anglers registered for the annual steelhead fishing derby on the Clearwater and Snake Rivers will be given food, prizes and information at the opening ceremonies on Friday (Nov. 16) in Lewiston.

Activities that formerly were split at the beginning and end of the derby will combined in the opening event of the 2012 Kendall Subaru Clearwater Snake Steelhead Derby, organizers say.

As this advance story revealed, the event itself has a pair of new twists that will please traveling anglers, especially those from Washington.

Prizes, including a guided fishing trip and a $1,000 Cabela's gift card, will be awarded Opening Ceremony, which starts at 6 p.m. Friday at Kendall Subaru. Registered anglers also get dinner and they can purchase additional meals for their non-fishing guests.

Chevy USA is flying Pro Angler, Dion Hibdon, from Missouri to speak on fishing techniques.

Derby registration forms are available at Tri-State Outfitters, Camp, Cabin, and Home, Riverview Marina, at the Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce or online.

Anglers will receive a complimentary Mag Lip 3.5 lure when registering for the derby.

Info: Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce,509.758.7712.

Clearwater-Snake Steelhead Derby returns to Thanksgiving

By popular demand, the annual Kendall Subaru Clearwater Snake Steelhead Derby will be held Nov. 17-24 to allow anglers to take advantage of a national holiday — Thanksgiving.

In addition, the 2012 Kendall Subaru Clearwater Snake Steelhead Derby will include Washington waters.

Adding miles of new water should help boost entries in the event organized by the Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce. Chamber officials obtained a permit from the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department to make the change.

 The fishing contest will extend westward and include the portion of the Snake River that’s solely in Washington. In past years, anglers were allowed to fish only in Idaho waters. That rule eliminated popular spots west of the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers, such as the mouth of Steptoe Canyon, which is known for harboring large fish.

 The old boundaries also spawned rumors of some anglers cheating by entering fish that were caught downriver.

Adding Washington waters allows The Waters Edge tackle shop in Clarkston to participate as a weigh station.

"I bet you see participation up 200 to 300 people from what it has been the last three years," Randy Krall, owner of the Lewiston tackle shop Camp, Cabin and Home, told the Lewiston Tribune. "We think the chamber has done a really good job and we appreciate them listening to our concerns.”

Information about the tournament is available from Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce, (509) 758-7712.

New rule: any hatchery steelhead OK on Hanford Reach

FISHING —Starting immediately, anglers can keep any hatchery steelhead on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department has just announced.

This action removes the requirement for both an adipose fin clip and ventral fin clip for hatchery steelhead retained prior to Nov. 1. The Lower Hanford Reach will remain open for hatchery steelhead fishing after Oct. 31 under the current permanent regulation listed in the fishing rules pamphlet (Page 74) and is scheduled to run through March 31.

Read on for more details from WDFW.

Steelheading opens Tuesday on Upper Columbia and tribs

FISHING – Starting Tuesday (Oct. 16), hatchery steelhead fisheries will open on the mainstem upper Columbia, Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, Methow and Okanogan rivers, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.

In addition, the Similkameen River will open to hatchery steelhead retention beginning Nov. 1.

All of these fisheries will remain open until further notice.

Jeff Korth, regional fish manager for WDFW, said approximately 18,000 adult steelhead are expected to return to the upper Columbia River this year – enough to allow the department to open area steelhead fisheries.

However, wild steelhead are expected to return in lower numbers than last year, requiring additional constraints on those fisheries.

“We carefully manage these fisheries to protect naturally spawning steelhead listed under the federal Endangered Species Act,” Korth said. “These fisheries traditionally remain open through the winter, but with lower numbers of wild steelhead and tighter allowable impacts on those fish we may have to close early.”

Korth said anglers should check WDFW’s website throughout the season for any regulation changes.

Read on for details about the fish you can and cannot keep, and specifically where fishing is allowed.

Steelhead harvest season opens Monday on Clearwater

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:

  • The fish must be recorded on the angler’s salmon or steelhead permit.
  • The processed fish must have the skin attached, including the portion with a healed, clipped adipose fin scar.
  • Fish must be packaged in a way that the number of harvested fish can be determined.
  • The fish must be processed ashore when the angler is done fishing for the day.
  • No processed salmon or steelhead may be transported by boat.
  • No jack salmon may be processed in the field.
  • Processed salmon or steelhead count toward an angler’s possession limit while in the field or in transit.

See Idaho Fish and Game’s “How to fish for steelhead” videos.

Steelhead still running over dams in good numbers

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.

Region’s steelhead topic of fly fishing program

Fly fishing – John Shewey, veteran angler and author, will present a free program on fly fishing for steelhead, 7 p.m. Wednesday at St. Francis School, 1104 W. Heroy, for the Spokane Fly Fishers. 

Steelhead, salmon spreading from Columbia up to Salmon River

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.

Timely tips on fly fishing for steelhead

FLY FISHING —Red's Fly Shop near Ellensberg offers these Wade Fishing Tips for Steelhead:

Step downstream. Not only is this good etiquette but it is good steelheading. Most trout fisheries are best approached hiking upstream, most steelhead deliveries are best made downstream whether you are swinging a fly or nymphing. Take a step down after each cast. Start a little higher in the run than you think you need to and fish a little further down than you think you need to.

Tippet choice. You only need a few rolls of tippet. For swinging flies use 8 or 10 pound Maxima Ultragreen depending on water clarity. For nymph fishing use Rio Fluoroflex Plus 1X for your biggest flies, 2X for all others including egg patterns. For extremely clear water you can use 3X but be prepared to lose a few flies and fish! Start with a Tapered Steelhead/Salmon Leader.

Fly Selection. You don't need 87 different fly patterns to successfully fish for steelhead. You need about 4-6 that you are confident in and know their behavior so that you can steer and control them like a familiar vehicle. Make sure you have flies that possess the following attributes. You need a dark heavy fly, dark lightweight fly, light colored heavy, light colored lightweight, and a few in between. If you nymph fish, a few big dark stoneflies and a few middle of the road flies, and get a handful of #12 Holo Prince Nymphs.

Don't overthink it! If you have done some trout fishing then you are already fishing well enough to catch a steelhead. Don't spend too much time changing flies, depths, tippets, or sinking rates on your line. Keep your
fly fishing smooth, clean, and in a way that will ambush a steelhead. Keep your fly in the water.

Twice fast is better than once slow. Fishing a run twice fast or even three times is better than fishing it once slow. If the fish doesn't take the first presentation then it wasn't "ambushed". Better to step downstream,
finish the run, change flies or depths and start again at the top. If the fish chased, but was not hooked, or was simply ignoring the fly then give the fish a short break. Constant harassment doesn't produce very many fish. One good fresh presentation does.

Look for shade. Steelhead love shadows, even if it is just a small piece of shade. Also, try to fish runs that hang onto the shade longest in the morning and get shady earliest in the afternoon. These fish will be
typically be more aggressive than fish holding in direct sunlight.

Night fishing produces for Snake steelheaders

FISHING — Jeff Holmes of the Tri-Cities photographed this nice catch — a couple of nice catches, actually — while moonlight fishing for steelhead Saturday on a Snake River middle impoundment with his wife, Erika.

One of many fish the Holmes's caught and released this weekend, this bright B-run hen wen 29.5 inches — and into the cooler.

Snake steelheaders giddy with success this week

FISHING — Yes, the run is way below average, but as I've been pointing out, some fishermen are having a heyday catching steelhead on the Snake River, as fish movements picked up this week.

Here's a report (and photo above)  from Jeff Holmes, a writer/angler who lives in the Tri-Cities:

The Snake River is supposed to be extraordinarily slow right now but looky lookie at what my friend Teddy and I caught out there on 1 trip. That's 7 hatchery steelhead, an adult chinook, and a jack.

We also released a big wild steelhead and a much larger salmon and had many other savage rips.  I am headed out again to rip and slay.

Holmes said his was night-fishing in one of the middle impoundments. He was using lighted plugs, and pointed out that he crimped the barbs on his Brad's Wigglers.


Steelhead run spikes over Lower Granite Dam

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.

Updated: Snake steelhead run a shadow of past years

FISHING — The numbers over the dams tell the story of this year's downsized steelhead run to the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

What the numbers don't say is that anglers putting in their time are catching fish, and having a good time doing it.

More than 1,600 fish a day have been moving up over Lower Granite Dam.

How many do you need?

Read on for the latest update, posted Monday afternoon, on Columbia River system steelhead and fall chinook run sizes.

Updated: Snake steelhead run a shadow of past years

FISHING — The numbers over the dams tell the story of this year's downsized steelhead run to the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

What the numbers don't say is that anglers putting in their time are catching fish, and having a good time doing it.

More than 1,600 fish a day have been moving up over Lower Granite Dam.

How many do you need?

Read on for the latest update, posted Monday afternoon, on Columbia River system steelhead and fall chinook run sizes.

Here they come! Steelhead, salmon pouring over Lower Granite Dam

FISHING — I love the looks of this graphic from the Fish Passage Center showing yesterday's spike of steelhead pouring over Lower Granite Dam. The big push up the Snake has begun!

From just over 240 fish a day a week ago, water temperatures had cooled and beckoned just more than 600 fish over the dam toward Lewiston on Sunday.

That pulse tripled on Monday to more than 1800 fish.

Fall chinook also are steaming upstream.

Deschutes River steelhead rally anglers

FISHING — Although the steelhead have been slower to make their way upstream to the Snake River, the run has arrived on the Lower Deschutes River, along with a palpable excitement among anglers, reports Mark Morical of the Bulletin in Bend, Ore.

"Each year, the peak of the summer steelhead run reaches Sherars Falls on the Deschutes River in mid-September," he writes. "While this year’s run is not as prodigious as originally predicted, the steelhead have been showing up in decent numbers in the Lower Deschutes, according to Rod French, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist based in The Dalles."

Read on for the rest of his report on this fabled fishery that flows into the Columbia River.

Biologists lower expectations for Columbia steelhead

FISHING — Uh-oh.  Not only have the steelhead been slow to come up the Columbia River and in to the Snake — many of the fish we thought would be coming won't be coming at all.

Fish managers from Washington and Oregon have downgraded their forecast of A-Run steelhead moving up into the Columbia system.

Despite that, there's a bunch of steelhead already in the system and many of them are ready to start pouring over Lower Granite Dam any day.

But here's the not-so-great news just released by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

  • The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) met Monday August 27 to review steelhead stock status.  TAC updated the forecast for Group A upriver summer steelhead to 191,000, or 61.3% of the 311,800 fish preseason forecast. 
  • The 191,000 Group A steelhead return would be the lowest since 1999 (176,500). 
  • TAC agreed it was too early to update the Group B run size, but recognized Group B passage was tracking less than expected, indicating the Group B run may also be less than forecast.

Where they’re biting: Latest Idaho fishing reports

FISHING — According to last year and the averages from recent years, anglers can soon expect a spike of steelhead to start pouring over Lower Granite Dam and up the Snake River into Idaho. I mean any day. Get ready.

But the action wasn't heavy yet on Monday morning at the mouth of the Clearwater River at Lewiston.

A fishing friend who was there filed this report:

  • 20 boats and 11 shore fishers. 5 salmon caught and 1 steelhead kept. I got one of the salmon. A jack.
  • Clearwater temp at the RR bridge was 50.3 at 0430 and 50.8 at 11AM.
  • I fished from early till 1430.

Meanwhile, here' s the latest Idaho Fish and Game Department report of highlights from the Idaho Panhandle:

Lake Coeur d’Alene: Kokanee are becoming more abundant and smallmouth bass are going strong on the lake. Anglers recommend trolling for the kokanee but smallmouth are holding near the shoreline—try twin-tailed grubs or tube jigs to entice the smallmouth. Look for Kokanee in the Arrow Point area in the north of the lake; in the south end try Powder Horn Bay. Most of the kokanee are 35-45 feet down. Pike are sticking around the bays on the lake. Spinnerbaits, spoons and husky jerks are attracting the pike.

Fernan Lake: The Panhandle Health District lifted the health advisory on Hayden Lake on August 23. The lake is safe again for fishing and swimming. Bass in the lake will stay deeper during the day, but you can use surface lures in the evening.

Coeur d’Alene River and St. Joe River: Fish these rivers with dry flies such as hoppers, beetles and ant patterns which have been effective on both rivers. You are more likely to find fish in the tailouts with the cooler temps on the St. Joe River.

The Clark Fork River is also a good option for the next couple of weeks now that temps have dropped…bugs will be moving again.

The chain lakes have been very good for pike and bass

Hauser, Cocolalla and Fernan lakes have also been good fishing for crappie, pike, bass and trout.

IFG cools its report on Clearwater River water temperature

FISHING UPDATE — The Clearwater River is NOT the temperature of bathwater, as reported yesterday.

The Idaho Fish and Game Department's steelhead update report posted Tuesday said Clearwater River water temperatures were around 65 degrees. 

That caught MY attention. That's way too warm for normal operating conditions, considering water was still coming out of the bottom of Dworshak Dam to usher young steelhead and salmon downstream and encourage adults to come upstream.

Joe DuPont, IFG regional fisheries manager, checked into the situation this morning and said the temperature report was an error.

"The water temperature is still in the low 50s," he said minutes ago.  Anglers on the water know that, of course, but the rest of us look closely at river reports from various sources.

"The releases from Dworshak are not ending earlier although they did reduce flow recently," DuPont said. However, the cooling flows from Dworshak will be decreased significantly in September, he said.

Meantime, warm water in the Snake continues to stall the steelhead run over Lower Granite.  The cooling trend in weather could jumpstart fish movements any day.

Graph shows steelhead still stalled in Columbia

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?

Steelhead, salmon fishing opens Sept. 1 on Snake

FISHING — Fishing for steelhead plus the bonus of fishing for expanded daily limits of fall chinook salmon will open Sept. 1 on the Washington portion of the Snake River, officials announced today.

Predicting a strong return of upriver bright chinook salmon, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department fishery managers have expanded the daily catch limit to include three adult hatchery chinook, plus three hatchery jack chinook under 24 inches in length.

Only hatchery salmon and steelhead may be kept.

Anglers may also catch and keep up to three hatchery steelhead, but must stop fishing for the day – for both chinook and steelhead – once they have taken their three-fish steelhead limit.

Read on for the details from the WDFW.