November 22, 2012

Clearwater Regional Fishing update


   Steelhead are well distributed regionwide now, and the Clearwater, Snake, and Salmon rivers are fishing well. Recent catch rates were 16 hours per fish caught in the Clearwater River below the Orofino Bridge, eight hours per fish caught in the Snake River downstream of the Salmon River, and eight hours per fish caught on the Salmon River from the Little Salmon downstream to Whitebird Creek.

   Boat anglers are having good success back trolling dark plugs and side drifting eggs and sand shrimp. Bank anglers are consistently producing fish by drifting bait or with float and baited jigs.  Fly anglers, both sink tip and dry line users, are also catching fish using large nymphs, egg patterns, and colorful dry flies. With steelhead fly fishing, itís more about getting your fly in front of a willing fish than the particular fly used.

   Expect the numbers of anglers to increase over Thanksgiving week and weekend as the Great Snake/Clearwater Steel head Derby runs Nov. 17-24.  For derby rules or to register, contact the Lewis Clark Valley Chamber of Commerce at 800-933-2128 or 509-758-7712.

   Remember, if fishing in Idaho, all Idaho steelhead seasons and rules apply.

Lakes and Reservoirs

   Late fall and early winter fishing can be very good at all lakes and reservoirs, and you may have it all to yourself.  Winchester, Spring Valley, Moose Creek, Elk Creek, Mann, Soldiers Meadow and Waha Lakes provide good fishing opportunities for stocked rainbow trout and various warmwater fish.

Rivers and Streams

   November can be very productive fishing the Lochsa, Selway, North Fork Clearwater rivers, and Kelly Creek.  Fly anglers should focus on the deeper pools and use smaller nymphs to find fish.  These streams have harvest and gear restrictions to protect the easily caught cutthroat, so please review the regulations before you go.

   If youíre looking for something new, the hard-fighting, yet under-appreciated whitefish is very common in the region and can grow to 20 inches.  The Clearwater River below Orofino, the Selway, Lochsa, and North Fork Clearwater rivers all have excellent populations of this sporty fish.  Small wet flies fished just off the bottom in riffle areas works very well.