The retention season started this weekend on the Clearwater. We have our full staff of guides on the water getting clients into fish. River conditions are ideal, the run is looking great, and weather has been awesome. The rain freshets will keep pulling in fresh fish and the will fluctuate water levels to keep things going strong. We forecast that the catching will remain strong for the upcoming weeks. Here are some pictures from our guides Dan Bolton and Eric Wilcox.
Wilcox and our other guides have been out on the river Kick'n it. Steelhead, Fall Chinook, great weather, and perfect river conditions make this an ideal time to be out on the water. Eric has been running bass trips for most of the summer and steelhead fly and gear fishing trips for the past 6 weeks.
As previously reported, the A-run numbers are way down, but their size has been averaging 8-10 pounds. The Clearwater is known for its B-Run steelhead that average 12-15 pounds and our numbers are looking GREAT. The steelhead counts that we are interested in are the ones that show up after August 25th. It looks like the run is a few days later than normal, but the overall B-Run counts are looking good. The B-runs are starting to show up and this is sure to be a great season.
This is an awesome time of year since clients have the opportunity to catch steelhead and salmon. Our October and November dates are filling fast. Don't miss out - Book your trip today!
Hi everybody, I recently summarized a bunch of information about this year's steelhead run for an upcoming meeting, and I thought all you steelhead anglers would all like to see it as well. I saved the good news for last, so be sure to read clear to the end.
The first two graphs below compare how this year's hatchery steelhead A-run (fish released in the Snake and Salmon rivers of Idaho) compares to previous years. This data was generated from PIT tag detections as steelhead passed over Bonneville Dam. As you can see, this year's A run will be considerably lower than previous 7 years. If you look at the second graph, it is evident that the reason for this down run is due to a poor return of 1-ocean fish (fish that spent one year in the ocean).
The question everybody is asking is "what happened to the 1-ocean return?". The two figure below help explain why this may have happened. Ocean conditions have been found to strongly influence salmon and steelhead year class strength. The first table below ranks how various ocean conditions influenced juvenile salmon and steelhead survival since 1998. Green boxes generally represent good survival conditions whereas red boxes indicate poor survival conditions. As you can see from this table (look at the bottom row for an overall rank), last year (2015) when the 1-ocean adults entered the ocean as smolts, ocean conditions were ranked 16 out of 18 - the third poorest since 1998. River flows have also been found to influence survival of steelhead smolts as they migrate to the ocean. In general, lower flows increase the time it takes for these fish to reach the ocean which tends to result in lower survival. The second figure below compares the average flows in the Columbia River in May and June (the time when most of Idaho's steelhead smolts migrate down this river) between years. As you can see, the flows in 2015 were the lowest we have seen since 2009. When you combine poor ocean conditions and poor flows, it often doesn't bode well for anadromous fish.
Now for the good news! The figure below compares returns of Idaho hatchery steelhead since 2010 that are bound for the Clearwater River (the bigger B-run fish). This data was generated from PIT tag detections as these steelhead passed over Bonneville Dam. The red line below is what this year's run is looking like. If the run continues as projected (dotted red line), this will be the third best return since 2010.
So, there you have it. I hope you all are enjoying your fall as much as I am.
Clearwater Region Fish Manager
Idaho Department of Fish and Game
3316 16th Street
Lewiston, Idaho 83501
Tom Bullock is on the Columbia and is ready to get rocking and rolling as the Fall Chinook fishing heats up on the Handford Reach near Vernita Bridge. Keep a close watch for up-to-date reports and pictures. We still have a couple days open, so if you are interested contact us to setup your trip. 1-866-846-4240
This is an exciting time of year for Steelhead Junkies!!! We are looking forward to another awesome season on the Clearwater. It is no secret that the A-run counts are WAY down. This is bad news for anglers who like to fish the Snake, Salmon, and Grand Ronde. Fortunately for Clearwater anglers early season predictions and PIT Tag counts indicate that our B-Run return is looking good. Historically speaking, B-Run steelhead typically cross over Bonneville Dam after August 25th. The IDFG graph definitely shows an uptick in counts that is a bit closer to "average" after August 25th. Actual fish counts from 9-3 to 9-9 have nearly 18,000 steelhead crossing Bonneville. It is always tough to predict exactly how our runs are going to shape up. We stay in close contact with the regional biologist, monitor the counts, watch water conditions, and much more... At the end of the day, the best indicator is a line in the water.
Even though the A-run counts are down, they are all hanging out in the lower Clearwater. Despite the low numbers, the fish are bigger than normal, a lot of them are pushing 10 pounds. The weather is good, we are catching steelhead, and the B's are on their way. We will keep you posted as the season gets underway.
If you are interested in booking a trip please contact us or give us a call to setup your trip. 1-866-846-4240
Clearwater River Company (CRC) has been hard at work! Over the past year we have made a lot of changes, most of them associated with integrating new technologies and equipment. We recently moved over to our new website and are slowly but surely are getting everything dialed in. We are also using new reservation and customer relationship management systems. These changes will improve our communication and overall experience for our clientele.
Last year we rolled out our new 20x72 Willie Drift Boat "Freedom." We are so excited to have a boat that will allow disabled anglers, or anglers with mobility issues, to get back out on the water. Please help us spread the word about this boat.
We have also restructured the company and are now able to offer more trips in more locations! Ryan Pitcher grew up in Idaho fishing the Snake, Salmon, and Clearwater. In 2000 Ryan moved to Oregon and started West Coast Anglers LLC (WCA), offering trips throughout Oregon and Washington. As part of the business reorganization, WCA is now a subsidiary of CRC. Another exciting development is the creation of Snake River Guide Service LLC (SRGS), a subsidiary of CRC. SRGS has drift boat and power boat licenses for the Snake River. We have continued to expand our network of guides and bring on new staff. We are very appreciative our dedicated employees and affiliates. We have a great team and we are ready to get you out on the water.
These are exciting times! Words can not adequately express our gratitude towards our dedicated and loyal clients. Thank you for allowing us to share time with each of you and your continued business. You are the reason we are able to do things like build the "Freedom" boat and to develop the business for a better customer experience.
Clearwater River Company LLC