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It's Game Time for Steelhead Fishing in Idaho

Idaho Statesman, September 17, 2007

If you've been waiting for steelhead to arrive in decent numbers and the rivers to come into prime shape, your wait is over.

The dam counts at Lower Granite nearly doubled last week, and the Clearwater River dropped to about 4,000 cfs.

That makes prime conditions for steelheaders, who are looking for that magic combination of fishable river levels, temperature and steelhead willing to bite a lure or fly.

It looks like it's all coming together beautifully. The temperature at Lower Granite was 65 degrees Wednesday, according to the DART Web site. The fish are moving throughout the Snake River system. I've heard, but haven't confirmed, that fish have been caught all the way up to Salmon. It seems early, but it wouldn't surprise me. Some fish seem to jet upstream ahead of the pack.

This is still the leading edge of the run. I am guessing only about a third of the run has crossed Lower Granite so far. Last year, 175,000 fish crossed the dam, and based on the huge counts at Bonneville Dam this year, we're going to get a lot more this year.

That's great news for anglers, and we should have plenty of steelhead in the rivers from now until next spring. Catching them? Well, that's another matter.

They're notoriously fickle, and the difference between a glory day and a butt-whuppin' is usually a matter of how much time and effort you're willing to put into it. You can get skunked one day and for no apparent reason have a banner day the next.

If you've been waiting and daydreaming about steelhead fishing, it's time to spring into action. The magic window closes faster than you think as fall approaches.

It's Game Time for Steelhead Fishing in Idaho
Idaho Statesman, September 17, 2007

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