Saturday, February 5, 2011

Steelhead are Running in North Central Idaho

Steelhead are Running in North Central Idaho

Steelhead fish numbers are near double the 10-year average over Lower Granite Dam making for exceptional fishing in north central Idaho. Fish near Lewiston, Orofino, White Bird, and Riggins, ID.

Lewiston, ID (PRWEB) November 3, 2007

Steelhead fishing season opened with a huge splash on Monday, October 15 on the Clearwater River above the Memorial Bridge on US Highway 12 near Lewiston. The season has been open below the bridge since August 1 and is well under way on the lower Clearwater, Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.

So far this year, more than 130,000 steelhead have been counted at Lower Granite Dam about 35 miles west of Lewiston. "The numbers are above our 10-year average which is excellent," says Brett Bowersox, regional fishery biologist with Idaho Fish and Game in Lewiston. Last year by this time, 67,000 had crossed Lower Granite, and the 10-year average for this date is about 78,000.

Recent rainstorms and spikes in river flows are drawing the fish upstream. B-run steelhead have already begun showing up in the Clearwater and Salmon rivers.

The bag limit on the Clearwater River is two hatchery steelhead per day, six in possession and 20 for the season. Elsewhere, the limit is three per day, nine in possession and 20 for the season. Even catch-and-release is not permitted after an angler reaches these limits.

For updated reports on fishing in north central Idaho, lists of outfitters and guides to help you find the best spots to fish, upcoming steelhead derby events, and a complete list of lodging, visit http://www. northcentralidaho. info (http://www. northcentralidaho. info) or call 877.364.3246.

Tips to keep your fishing legal

  • Pinch barbs on hooks
  • Record catch-and-keep on steelhead cards
  • Throw back steelhead that haven't had their adipose fin clipped (hatchery steelhead are marked by having their fin clipped)
  • Know the difference between a steelhead and a salmon. "If it's black, put it back" says Idaho Department of Fish and Game. If the fish you caught has black gum lines and a black tongue, it's a fall chinook salmon. There is no open season for fall chinook.
  • Make sure you have a valid fishing license and steelhead permit

Fish facts
Idaho state record steelhead was 30 pounds, 2 ounces and was caught in the Clearwater River in 1973.

Idaho is the only inland western state with ocean-run salmon and steelhead

Open waters include:

  • Salmon River from its mouth upstream to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream from the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery weir, near the town of Stanley.
  • Little Salmon River from its mouth upstream to the U. S. Highway 95 Bridge near Smokey Boulder Road.
  • Snake River from the Washington state line at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
  • Clearwater River Mainstem and Middle Fork Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to Clear Creek.
  • North Fork Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam.
  • South Fork Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to the confluence of American and Red Rivers.

How to get here:
From the south, Hwy 95 to Riggins, White Bird, and Lewiston
From the north, Hwy 95 or 195 to Lewiston, White Bird, and Riggins
From the east, Hwy 12 to Orofino and Lewiston
From the west, Hwy 12 to Lewiston and Orofino

Photos are available for download and use with this story in the Press Room at http://www. northcentralidaho. info (http://www. northcentralidaho. info) Click on NCITA Resources on the right side of the page and then Press Room.

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