What is the best time of year to fish for steelhead?

What section of the Rivers are best for producing quantity of Fish? Is it better to fish by Salmon or further downstream by Riggins or Lewiston or over by Orofino?


Because there are so many places to fish steelhead in the state over such a long period of time, it's really hard to say there is a best time and place. If an angler has a chance to follow the run upstream, the best time could be any month from July or August through May. The first part of each year's fall/spring steelhead run starts swimming into the state in July and the Clearwater River seasons open then (most areas for catch and release fishing, be sure to check the regulations). As the run builds, fishing gets better and catch rates can be pretty good all the way through to December. Colder water does slow down fish activity though. Snake River fishing is probably best in September and October but is good through December but most of that is accessed only by boat. Because it's a little further upstream the Salmon River doesn't start fishing good until usually in October in the lower and mid-reaches but anglers can be catching fish all the way to Salmon by the end of October. It's the same as the other rivers, as the water temperture gets colder the fish are less active and bite less but they are still there and do bite. January and February can be times to fish with a little more solitude. The days are shorter and colder and there are fewer anglers out but the fish are out there and can be caught. Things start to pick up again in mid to late February. The Salmon River upstream of Salmon, the Little Salmon River and the South Fork Clearwater all provide the best fishing in spring - March, April and May for those areas that stay open until then. Catch rates can be really good then; the fish are stacking into the smaller rivers at the end of their migration. The best time to fish steelhead - the long days of September on the lower Clearwater, a warm October day in the Salmon River canyon, a colder January day in a drift boat near Riggins or Orofino, or enjoying the spring thaw in the Stanley Basin in April - is just a matter of personal choice. Each month of the year and each location provides a completely different fishing experience.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012 - 2:06 PM MST