October 18, 2012

Clearwater region fishing update


   The fall Chinook salmon run is looking like it will be one of the best on record, with over 70,000 expected to pass over lower Granite Dam.

   The best fishing has been in the Snake around the mouth of the Clearwater and around Heller Bar. Anglers fishing the confluence are using flashers down deep with plug cut herring or super baits. Up the Snake, anglers are catching fall Chinook while fishing for steelhead.

   Donít forget to review the fishing seasons and rules booklet before casting a line. The Fish and Game office in Lewiston (799-5010) can assist you with detailed information and your local tackle shop can help with equipment.


   While the steelhead run is likely going to be down compared to the previous 12 years, anglers still have plenty of steelhead to catch. A projected run of 110,000 combined hatchery and wild steelhead will pass over Lower Granite Dam.

   Recent catch rates were about 15 hours per fish caught in the Clearwater River and 41 hours per fish caught in the Snake River. Expect fishing to pick up in the Snake River soon, and anglers should start catching them in the Salmon River as well. Clearwater River anglers can expect more of the larger Brun fish to show up soon.

   Boat anglers are having good success back trolling metallic finished plugs. Bank anglers are consistently producing fish with spoons and float and jigs. Clearwater boat anglers need to be especially careful as the water levels are very low right now as flows are decreasing from Dworshak reservoir.

Area Lakes/Reservoirs

   Area lakes and reservoirs make ideal, easy to reach family fishing destinations. During October, aquatic weeds and algae are less of a problem compared to summer months.

   Looking for a good place to go fishing? Pick up the 2012 fishing brochure and Family Fishing Waters brochure (see links below) or contact the Clearwater Fish and Game office at (208) 799-5010 for more detailed information.

   Earlier this month Mann Lake and Winchester Reservoir were stocked with 7000 and 9,000 rainbow trout, respectively. Moose Creek and Spring Valley Reservoirs are also scheduled to be stocked this month. Stocking is dependent on flow conditions (angler safety concerns); dates may change due to weather.          

Fly Fishing

   The water has cooled and the crowds are gone, and fly fishing for trout in the regionís rivers is excellent. Anglers fishing the North Fork Clearwater and the middle and lower Lochsa are doing very well.

   Attractor patterns-Clarks Stonefly, Stimulator, Royal Wulff, Trude, and Parachute Adams-in sizes 8-14, are working well for cutthroat in most waters. Reds, oranges, and yellows, plus blue-winged olive imitations, such as size 18 Parachute Baetis, are also productive.