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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

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Three-times more steelhead headed to Clearwater than last year

Jim Kujala hauls in a hatchery steelhead from the lower Clearwater River. (Rich Landers)
Jim Kujala hauls in a hatchery steelhead from the lower Clearwater River. (Rich Landers)

FISHING -- Steelhead anglers have thousands of good reasons to fish the Clearwater River, not the least of which is the opening of the catch-and-keep season upstream of Lewiston that starts on Oct. 15.

Here's a just-posted report from Joe DuPont, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager in Lewiston:

As of today (Oct. 7),  more than  9,000 hatchery Steelhead have passed over Lower Granite Dam  destined for the Clearwater River (based on detected PIT tags).  This is about triple of what we saw last year at this same time and 30% more than we saw 2 years ago. 

It’s not quite what we had in 2010 and 2011 when around 13,000 fish had passed over Lower Granite Dam by this same time, but that is certainly enough to provide some good fishing. 

The numbers of Clearwater River bound fish passing over Lower Granite Dam really picked up the last 5 days, and these fish should start moving from the Snake into the Clearwater anytime now. 

One of the exciting things about the run this year is the vast majority of them are the larger 2-ocean fish unlike last year when many were the smaller 1-ocean fish.  To date, more than 25,000 Clearwater River bound hatchery Steelhead have passed over Bonneville Dam, so there are still a lot on their way.  This means there will be no need to for emergency rules like we implemented last year to protect brood stock. 

Idaho's Steelhead rules can be viewed online.

See this story for more detail on this year's steelhead and fall chinook runs.

So there you have it.  Yet another great outdoor activity to do in October.   Now you just have decide what to do…..Salmon, Steelhead, Sturgeon, Deer, Elk, upland game birds.   October is such a great time in the Clearwater Region.    

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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