Steelheaders Should Not be Nappingby Rich Landers
Spokesman Review, July 16, 2009
Steelheaders also should not be napping during the dog-days of summer.
Steelhead already are sneaking up the Snake River and over Lower Granite Dam.
Anglers in Lewiston had a pool going to see when the first metalhead would be caught, and last week, with more than 1,000 of the fish passing through the last dam before reaching Idaho, the anglers were expecting the payoff to be any day.
Note that the number of fish over Lower Granite was about 200 - 20 percent - higher than the 10-year average. It's too early for that to be statistically significant, but it's worth watching to see if the run continues to come in bigger or earlier.
The overall run into the Columbia River system is expected to be about the same as last year.
The number of bigger "B-run" steelhead running primarily to the Clearwater River is forecast to be down about 40 percent.
The number of smaller "A-run" fish heading to a variety of tributaries including the Grand Ronde and Salmon rivers, is forecast to be 24 percent bigger than last year.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began releasing cold water from Dworshak Reservoir last week to cool lower Snake River temperatures for the benefit of migrating fall chinook salmon.
According to a report in the Lewiston Tribune:
"The cold water also entices steelhead to hold in the lower section of the Clearwater River as well as the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers. Many anglers concentrate early season fishing on both spots."
The steelhead catch-and-release season on the Snake and Clearwater rivers started July 1. A catch-and-keep season opens Aug. 1 between the mouth of the Clearwater and Memorial Bridge.
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