Upper Salmon River Fishing Report (02/20/2024)

Upper Salmon River Fishing Report (02/20/2024)

As noted in last week’s State of the River report, the spring fishery in the Upper Salmon River will have an early start in 2024. The glacial deadwater jam opened on February 7, and we are starting to see catch rates actually rising downstream in the deadwater where once visibility improves the river. The timing of the Ice Jam opening was a full month and a half earlier than last year and a month earlier than other recent years.

IDFG personnel began interviewing hunters early last week in areas downstream of Challis, Idaho. Angler effort was low in all areas until the weekend when efforts increased dramatically at site code 15, between the Middle Fork Salmon River and the North Fork. Angler efforts upstream on the North Fork were low throughout most of the week before increasing slightly over the weekend.

Catch rates were excellent early in the week in all monitored areas before cold weather arrived over the weekend. Overnight lows dropped river temperatures into the low 30s and produced shaky ice in upstream areas. With the low effort observed downstream on the Middle Fork, only a small number of angler interviews were obtained, and of those, anglers averaged 15 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers interviewed in the upper Middle Fork River in location code 15 averaged 4 hours per steelhead caught, the best average catch rate we have observed in this area since the spring of 2016. Anglers interviewed in the upper North River also performed Fork in site code 16 is very good and averages 6 hours per steelhead caught. Anglers were interviewed upstream of the Lemhi River at 17 location codes, averaging 20 hours per steelhead caught. A few interviews with anglers were obtained from the upper Bahsemroi River in site code 18, and the average fishing rate in this area was 6 hours per steelhead caught.

River visibility has been excellent in all areas all week and, given the forecast for next week, is likely to remain that way. As noted above, water temperatures dropped back into the low 30s over the weekend, but with warmer temperatures expected overnight, water temperatures should slowly start to rise again. River flows have been stable over the past few weeks, and currently, the Salmon River is flowing at 1,100 cfs through the town of Salmon, ID, which is 101 percent of the average for today’s date.

The last thing we wanted to mention in this week’s report is the condition of the boat ramps. This week we plan to remove ice from the IDFG-owned boat ramps between Salmon and North Fork. Additionally, the City of Salmon reopened the upper half of Island Park on Friday of last week, which means the newly renovated boat ramp located there is now accessible (see photo below). The boat ramps are accessible between Salmon and Challis, but this weekend’s weather system resulted in some of the ramps becoming snow-covered and icy. Anglers are always reminded to check the condition of boat ramps before launching their boats, especially early in the season.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *