This report highlights a few of the best places to fish, what anglers are using and what they are catching. The information is compiled from regional Fish and Game fishery managers, local tackle shops and anglers.
Kelly Creek, North Fork Clearwater, Lochsa, and Selway rivers are all fishing better as the water cools. Fewer anglers and good hatches are contributing to quality fishing. As temperatures cool, the larger trout tend to head out of the smaller tributaries and into the main rivers, so fishing should be good through fall.
Attractor patterns, such as yellow Stimulators, red Humpies, Royal Wulffs, and Parachute Adams should all work this month.
Salmon and Steelhead
Anglers can expect a smaller return of steelhead to return to Idaho this fall. Warm water temperatures in the Snake River also continue to delay their return. As a result, steelhead fishing has been fairly slow recently. This past weekend, anglers averaged 15 hours per fish caught in the lower Snake River and 31 hours per fish caught in the Clearwater River below the Memorial Bridge.
The good news is, the Snake River has dropped at least 6 degrees and is less than 70 degrees for the first time in months. The steelhead count at Lower Granite Dam has also increased daily. When the water temperatures cool even more, fishing will improve.
The fall steelhead harvest season opened September 1 on the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers. The harvest season is also open on a 2-mile stretch of the lower Clearwater River from its mouth to the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge near Lewiston.
Steelhead anglers may want to turn their attention to fall chinook, which so far appear to be meeting expectations. The chinook run is on pace to meet the preseason prediction of more than 18,000 at Granite. Fall chinook season opened September 1 on the Snake River and a short section of the lower Clearwater River.
While fishing for fall chinook in the Snake River only became an option five years ago, a few anglers are trying their luck. This past weekend, anglers caught 39 fall chinook in the confluence area.
“This might be the year that people start figuring out how to catch them,” said Joe DuPont, regional fisheries manager for Fish and Game at Lewiston. “In the past, steelhead fishing has been so good many people didn’t even think about fishing for them.”