JULY 22, 2010

July 22, 2010

Summer Fishing Update

   Fishing is very good for cutthroat and rainbow trout on the Lochsa and Selway rivers. Early morning is recommended. For fly fishing anglers can try attractors like Royal Wulffs or Stimulator patterns. Also try PMD's and Caddis patterns. Bead Head nymphs are a good mid-day fly.

Steelhead fishing

   Steelhead season is just around the corner for catch and keep starting Aug. 1 on the Clearwater River from the mouth to memorial bridge of Hwy. 12 at Lewiston.

   The average steelhead return for the last ten years to Lower Granite Dam has been about 121,000 fish. As of July 14, 64,936 Steelhead have been counted at Lower Granite Dam.

   In recent years, federal water managers have been using cold water released from Dworshak Reservoir in July and August to generate power and to help young salmon migrate to the ocean. Because these releases make the Clearwater River much colder than the Snake River, most of the early migrating steelhead move up into the lower Clearwater for a month or so until water temperatures in the Snake River go down. This can produce some outstanding fishing for very fresh steelhead in July and August on the lower ten miles or so of the Clearwater.

Catch and release steelhead fishing opened on the Clearwater River July 1, and opens Aug. 1 everywhere else. Anglers who want to keep a fish can do so on Aug. 1, when the Clearwater River below the Memorial Bridge at Lewiston opens for harvest. The rest of the Clearwater remains catch and release until Oct. 15. The bag limit on the Clearwater River is now two fish per day during the fall season, but returns to three fish per day during the spring season.

   Harvest season on the Snake and Salmon Rivers open Sept. 1. The bag limit for both the fall and spring seasons on the Snake and Salmon Rivers are three fish per day.

   Before you go, take a look at the steelhead regulations and especially remember the "Big Three":

   Pinch your barbs down on all hooks you use

   Immediately release any steelhead you catch with an unclipped adipose fin

   Immediately validate your steelhead permit upon retaining a legal steelhead.

   Steelhead anglers are also reminded to know the difference between a salmon and a steelhead. There can be a lot of fall chinook salmon and some coho salmon in the Snake and lower Clearwater Rivers in the late summer and early fall.

   Both species of salmon are closed to harvest and must be released immediately. Both coho and chinook salmon have black mouths, while steelhead have white mouths. Coho can be differentiated from chinook by the gumline. Coho have a white gumline, while the chinook's gumline is black. Some of these protected salmon may have a clipped adipose fin so it is critical that anglers be able to identify their catch. Remember, "If the mouth is black, put it back!"

   The above information is compiled from regional Fish and Game fishery managers, local tackle shops and anglers and was updated June 19. For more information visit the Idaho Department of Fish and Game website at:

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