Steelhead angler effort on the upper Salmon River increased again over the past week, but poor river conditions continued to impact the fishery. Low level snow melt in the Challis and East Fork areas during the middle of the previous week resulted in muddy river conditions that persisted throughout the weekend. Additionally, the Deadwater ice jam went out on Thursday, March 9th. Due to rocks on the roadway and the risk of falling rocks, anglers are still advised to use caution when traveling downstream of North Fork on the Salmon River road.
More steelhead were caught this week compared to the previous week, but the hours per steelhead caught remained high. In location code 14, downstream of the Middle Fork, interviewed anglers reported releasing two steelhead which resulted in an average catch rate of 203 hours per steelhead caught. Upstream of the Middle Fork in location code 15, interviewed anglers averaged 34 hours per steelhead caught and 55 hours per steelhead kept. Upstream of the North Fork in location code 16, interviewed anglers averaged 74 hours per steelhead caught or kept. Downstream of the Pahsimeroi River in location code 17, interviewed anglers averaged 226 hours per steelhead caught and no anglers reported harvesting a steelhead. Downstream of the East Fork in location code 18, interviewed anglers averaged 23 hours per steelhead caught and 45 hours per steelhead kept. Angler effort upstream of the East Fork in location code 19 increased over the weekend as anglers moved upriver searching for better river conditions, but no interviewed anglers in location code 19 reported catching a steelhead.
Currently the Salmon River has poor visibility downstream of the East Fork, and the river’s flow through Salmon, ID is unknown due to a malfunction of the USGS gauge station. Water temperatures on Sunday were in the low 40s. All boat ramps between the Pahsimeroi River and North Fork are open with the exception of the 4th of July and Bobcat Access sites which remain closed. - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region