Steelheading Ranges From Cool to Hotby Eric Barker
Lewiston Tribune, November 8, 2001
Salmon River is getting better
Snake anglers doing great
Moderate success on Clearwater is puzzling
The Salmon River has cleared after being washed out by rain storms last week.
The storms muddied the water and slowed fishing to a crawl around Riggins. Anglers there averaged 49 hours of fishing per steelhead caught, according to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
But Rexann Zimmerman at the Riggins Tackle Shop said the river is clearing nicely and people are catching fish again.
Off-colored water from the Salmon River did little to cool fishing on the Snake River. Anglers averaged seven hours of fishing per steelhead caught on the Snake between Lewiston and Heller bar last week.
On the Clearwater River, fishing was decent but still lagged behind expectations. Anglers on the Clearwater averaged 16 hours of fishing last week per steelhead caught.
"The Clearwater is still kind of puzzling to me. It seems like it should be better fishing. It's good but not really good," said Larry Barrett, of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at Lewiston.
Anglers on the Clearwater have been complaining about the presence of a paper-like algae called diatoms in the river that appears to some to resemble toilet paper. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has taken several calls from concerned anglers and tested the algae as a precaution.
"We are confident it's a form of algae and not actually toilet paper or anything like that," said Rob Henderson at the Department of Environmental quality in Lewiston.
Larry Barrett said some anglers are using swivels or split shot a few feet from their plugs to catch the algae and keep their plugs clean.
"It makes back trolling kind of tough," he said.
Biologists at the Dworshak National Fish Hatchery have completed their fall take of steelhead. They trapped 587 adult steelhead and will hold them at the hatchery until spring, when they will be spawned.
Some 2,500 additional steelhead will be collected in the spring. The fish ladder at the hatchery will remain closed most of this fall and winter but will open for short periods to collect coho salmon.
Steelhead entering the ladder will be returned to the river.
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