The best steelhead run in at least five years, maybe the best since 1992-93, is coming ahead of schedule.
Counted at Lower Granite Dam, the last dam on the Snake River fish must cross before reaching Idaho, this year's run is about 112 percent ahead of the 10-year average and 62 percent above last year's, according to Fish and Game anadromous fish program coordinator Sharon Kiefer. The run appears to be a little early, she said, so may drop off sooner than normal. Even so, biologists expect the run will be larger than any in the last five years. If the current forecast for the total steelhead run holds up, 90,000 to 120,000 steelhead may cross Lower Granite this fall and spring.
This year's run is on track to be the largest since the 1992-93 run of 128,000 fish, if projections hold.
The steelhead fishing season began September 1. On the Clearwater River, anglers may keep steelhead beginning October 15.
Steelhead fishing rules are included in the current fishing proclamation booklet. Rules and the progress of the run can be viewed on the Fish and Game web site at www.state.id.us/fishgame.
A fishing license and steelhead tag is required except for residents under 14 years of age.