Steelhead fishing is improving in the Salmon area, in spite of the time of year. In many years slush ice is flowing, at least some days, by this time, but yesterday the river was 42 degrees and clear. The volume of the Salmon River at Salmon is about 20% greater than average. Over the years, it seems that if morning air temperatures are above 20 degrees, the river will be free of slush ice. At the temperature of the river now, steelhead probably will continue to move upstream, increasing the number of fish in the Salmon area before the migration stops because of cold water. We are getting bonus time for steelhead fishing in the Salmon area.
Steelhead fishing usually begins in the Salmon area the third week of October and lasts until ice begins to flow, which often is about now. This year in October numbers of fish were low, and the season was catch-and-release only. With this background, few fishermen scheduled with us, and those cancelled, so we have not been very active on the river this fall. Recently catch-and-keep fishing was allowed with a limit of two fish per day, but the reservation phone remained quiet. Fishing activity has been light, with few boat trailers in the parking lots.
With the extensive ice pack last winter and the very high water of snowmelt last June, the river has changed a lot this year. Many runs that we used to rely on are gone, and there are new runs to be discovered. Yesterday afternoon another guide and I put a boat on to look at changes and casually fish a little. We picked up one with a fly rod, an Indian fish (hatchery-produced but without an adipose fin clip, so legally wild). Considering how little we actually fished, it was a decent catch rate.
If the run is late, but better numbers than were indicated early in the fall, we may have some decent spring fishing. We are on the tail end of fall fishing now due to potential ice flow, but there are days throughout the winter when sections of the Salmon are ice-free.
The ramp under the bridge in Salmon is usable again, after a suspension of a couple of years. The replacement of the small bridge onto the island has been completed, allowing access to the ramp.