Steelhead fishing conditions in the Salmon area continue favorable, in spite of the the time of the year. It is common for slush ice to begin flowing in the Salmon area by mid-November, but this year the river is still getting into the low 40s. The river has come up a bit, to a strong average level, and is clear. Steelhead success has been variable this fall. There are good days and not so good days, and variable success in different sections of the river on the same day. It feels like there are groups of fish coming through the river, and if you find a group, great, but if you are in between, not great. Often we will hit several fish close together, and then nothing the rest of the day. The river temperature has been warmer than usual all fall, so that has encouraged migration. I would expect that there are more steelhead upstream around Challis than usual, and also that there are fewer in the Riggins area and down in the wilderness area, as those fish have continued moving upstream for longer into the fall.
On Saturday, a mom and daughter hooked seven, landed four of them–their first steelhead ever. That was one of our best days this fall. Yet a friend was fishing upstream of us and got skunked.
At this time of year, as we get into ice time, temperature is important. As a general thing, if the morning temperature is above 20 degrees, we probably won’t have ice flowing down the river, and we can fish–though there might be ice in the rod guides if air temperature is below freezing. Planning a steelhead fishing trip this time of year should be based on weather report and short-notice scheduling.