Spring steelhead fishing in the Salmon area is getting started. Ice has been pushed from the ramps between North Fork and Salmon. The Fourth of July site, which is not a developed ramp, is usable, but a length of rope to pull a boat up over an ice slab would be a good idea. The Deadwater ice jam below North Fork is nearly gone, probably will cut out this week. Boats are beginning to appear on the river.
The river is clear, 38 degrees yesterday afternoon. We have had freezing nights, and the week-long forecasts projects calls for that to continue. There is still a lot of low snow in the valley; pastures are still white. The river has cleared from last week. As long as nights drop below freezing, the run-off (and muddy river) will be delayed. When nights begin to stay above freezing, the river probably will get dirty and spring steelhead fishing in the Salmon area will likely be slow until the low snow is gone.
In the last few days, elk and deer have begun moving onto the south-facing slopes around our house. There haven’t been many elk and deer around through the winter. I suppose they have been a little lower than our place, closer to cattle feeding areas. The south slopes are bare now. If not already, there will soon be some green grass shoots appearing in the warmer spots. I recently saw an osprey, though it was a month earlier than I have ever seen one here. There are a few blackbirds singing in the cat-tails. It’s a good time to be on the river.
We have quite a bit of space available in our boats at this point. In the spring, short-notice reservations work out pretty well, so that we can be responsive to river conditions. In the fall, with more predictable river conditions, early reservations are a good idea to ensure space.