Steelhead fishing conditions in Salmon are still difficult. The river is still mostly frozen. In many years the ice is beginning to break up by this time of the winter, but there is little open water in the Salmon area. The ice has filled all boat ramps, so that when the river does open, the ramps will still be closed until the ice is removed. As winter eases and the river cuts through the ice jams, and it seems that the river won’t freeze again, the Fish and Game department and BLM open the ramps upstream of North Fork. Usually that is in late February or early March, but this is an exceptional year. Downstream of North Fork, in the Forest Service section of the river, the ramps are not opened. The road downstream from North Fork has had rock and snow slides through the winter, and has been closed at times. Anyone planning to use it should check with the Forest Service at North Fork before beginning the drive.
This has been a severe winter, following a very mild fall. Through the winter, the temperature dropped into the -20s a number of times in the Salmon area. In most winters the river remains open above the Deadwater ice jam, which commonly ends six or seven miles downstream from Salmon. Steelhead fishermen can fish upstream from the jam from the bank or boats on days when ice is not flowing. This year nothing is open at this time. Snowfall in the Salmon Valley was heavy. As winter wears out, and snow begins to melt, there will be a lot of runoff and muddy water. Steelhead fishermen intending to visit the Salmon area should check conditions before leaving home. This may be a difficult spring for steelhead fishing in the Salmon area, but on the other hand fishing pressure may be light, resulting in those of us who are on the river having it to ourselves.