the bent rod

Fishing Report

Salmon River Steelhead Report 10-26-2022

Steelhead fishing has picked up North of the town of Salmon. It’s not going to be as strong of a run as originally projected, but the fish are definitely larger due to there being 2-year + fish running this year. So far, we have heard that there are fish being caught up to 34 inches. Best colors are black, purple and darker colors. If you are spin-fishing you can try spoons and spinner,s like Mepps Flying J’s, Blue Fox, Stee-lee’s and  K.O.Wobbler’s. For the fisherman using floats or bottom bouncing, popular lures are Mad River Steelhead Worms, AeroJigs, and Berkley Power Leeches. Now is the time to try your luck, and we are here to help. We have a full line of fly fishing and conventional gear for steelhead fishing to help you have a great day of steelhead fishing. Stop by or call 208-879-2500 We can ship if needed.

                                                                                                                                     Roger Phillips Photo – IDFG

Salmon River Fishing Report April 12, 2022

Fishing on the Upper Salmon has stayed Consistent over the last few weeks.  Steelhead Anglers are focusing most of their efforts in the sections between Challis and Stanley with catch rates decent.Try using Egg Sucking Leeches, Intruders or Muddler Minnows on the swing, Stonefly Nymphs, Single Egg and Spawn patterns are working for the nymphing crowd.

If Steelhead are not you thing, the trout have been active with some Cutthroat and  Cutt-bows, and Bullies in the mid 20’s being caught upstream, and there are some some nice Rainbows showing up below town. Swinging Sculpins, Dace and Smolt patterns will be effective for these guys, as well as the standard fare of Copper Johns, Prince Nymphs and Pheasant Tails in smaller sizes.

Water conditions continue to fluctuate with water temps below town ranging from mid 40’s here in Challis to low 50’s near Salmon.  Up river has been fairly consistent 41-44 Degrees. Water Quality above the East Fork is next to Gin clear, Water Below the East Fork is still suffering from Flash Floods last July.  With an average of 2-4 foot visibility with a “Glacial Green” look to it.  The area has gotten Snow over the last few days, so far it hasn’t  effected the River, with Daytime Highs in the low 40’s and nights dipping into the low teens, we should be able to get another week in the upper salmon before the runoff hits in force.

The Challis Bridge launch is still closed due to damage sustained over winter, the launch at Watts Bridge is also closed for repairs April 11-21st.  All other ramps and access points are still viable.

You Can always call us here at the store 1-888-BENTROD(236-8769) for the most recent water conditions.

For IDFG Weekly Steelhead Harvest Estimates

For Current IDFG Hatchery Return Numbers

Salmon River Steelhead Fishing Report 03/28/22

Fishing on the Salmon River has been picking up daily with catch rates varying day to day. The current flow rates are 707cfs around Clayton and 1,290cfs in Salmon. The water clarity has been staying the same with a greenish tint at about 1 1/2ft. to2 ft, and water temperatures in the low to mid forties depending how far up river you are fishing. I suspect the water clarity to stay about the same due to below freezing temperatures in the higher elevations and high 50’s to low 60’s during the day for the rest of the week.                                                                        The Pahsimeroi Fish Hatchery had around 200 fish last Friday, and the Stanley Hatchery had received only a handful so far. The fish are just really getting into the Challis area now so it’s definitely time to plan your trip. There should be more fish showing up every day with the river flows increasing. Larger, darker flies are working best providing a better profile for the fish. Copper, Gold and Blue spoons are also working for the fisherman using casting gear.
Trout fishing has been good using large Stoneflies and Olive or Brown Streamers.

Salmon River between EastForkand Deadman’s

Salmon River Fishing Report

It’s time to start Steelhead fishing! Fish are being caught from Ellis towards Salmon, and with visibility about 18″ the river is fishable. The river is free of ice upriver and you can float down to the Bayhorse launch before getting out. You can’t launch at the Challis Bridge Access due to the ice in the road and parking area, but a channel has finally opened up at the ice jam by the bridge. Your next launch area would be at Penal Gulch. The river has about 18″ of visibility so darker flies and lures are working beast.

Salmon River Area Fishing Report 12/29/2021

New Regulations for the Salmon Region that has been implemented starting Jan1,2022

  • Lemhi and Pahsimeroi rivers
    The 14-inch minimum length limit on trout was removed, but maintains no harvest of cutthroat trout
  • SIDE NOTE: December 1st through Friday before Memorial Day weekend –  Trout limit is 0 , catch and release only
  • Stanley Lake
    The lake trout daily bag limit was reduced. Of the 6-trout bag limit, only 2 may be lake trout.

STEELHEAD – Because of low steelhead returns in 2021, the spring 2022 season has a reduced daily limit in the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers of two fish per day, and one fish per day in the Clearwater

Ice Fishing Jimmy Smith Lake has been fishing well so far this year. Use Meal Worms or Wax Worms for best results. Nightcrawlers will work also, but not as good. I did hear today that there was water on top of ice right now.

Mackay Reservoir – The ice on the reservoir is about one foot thick. Fishing for Rainbow Trout has been great with fish up to 17″ being caught, Kokanee fishing has been slow with only a few being caught so far. Try fishing closer to the dam where you be able to fish the deeper water. Pink, black and various other colored skirts tipped with Wax Worms or mealworms are working for trout.  Fireball or pink skirts tipped with wax worms or spikes will work best if you are targeting Kokanee.

Mosquito Flats Reservoir – No Information


Just want to say a big Thank You for all of your business and support this past year and hope you have a Happy New Year !  We look forward to serving you in 2022. Greg, Cheri, Dustin and Gretchen


Salmon River Fishing Report November 23,2021

Steelhead fishing on the Salmon River has improved this past week. Fish are being caught below Salmon and up river to Deer Gulch. Water clarity has improved but is still cloudy at times. Water temperatures in the mid to high 30’s during the day. There was ice on the river in the Challis area this morning and will probably start seeing ice more often.  That said, mid-day temps are moving to the high 40’s to low 50’s, making it awesome fishing weather. Bright patterns have been the best while the sun is on the water with black, purple or blues in the shade. Copper, Green, Brass and Gold spoons have been working for the spin fisherman. Even though its cold in the morning, there have been a few fish caught when the sun first gets on the water. Water flows below the Yankee Fork just above Clayton is 388cfs and down river towards Salmon 1010cfs.

Trout fishing has been fair with Cutthroat and Rainbows taking streamers and stonefly nymphs. Try Pat’s Rubberlegs, Tung Nemic Stones, Conehead Bunny Muddlers, and Sculpinators.

Salmon River Fishing Report 03/23/2021

Fishing on the Salmon River around Challis has been steady. Fish are being caught up river from Challis to the Yankee Fork, but still a little slower than down river. Most anglers are still fishing below Challis towards Salmon. There’s a good group of steelhead coming up river according to the pit tag monitors, so fishing should be picking up. The Pahsimeroi Hatchery has trapped 198 hatchery steelhead as of Monday, March 22nd. Additionally, and the Sawtooth Hatchery installed their weir last week with a few fish in the traps. The Sawtooth Hatchery will report the number of fish in the hatchery next they begin spawning the fish. Water temperatures are in the low 40’s still and the Salmon River is lower than normal. running at 2.15 ft. at the Clayton gauge. Darker flies seem to be working better than egg style patterns currently, but there has been some good results on chartreuse also. You might also try nymphing some stone fly patterns since the water is still a little cool.  Spin and drift anglers should try copper, brass, green or blue spoons.

Salmon River Fishing Report Mar-04-21


The Salmon has opened up in most places around Challis and all of the boat ramps are open down river except Cottonwood. The Challis Bridge ramp you will have to drop your boat down over the ice, but it’s not as bad as last year. There is still a small ice jam at Deadmans Hole. Steelhead are being caught from Challis to below Salmon. Last weeks F&G report shows that above the Middle Fork in section 15 the average was 19 hours per steelhead caught, upstream of North Fork in section 16 the average was 14 hours per steelhead caught, and upstream of the Lemhi River the average was 12 hours per fish caught. We are hoping that Deadwater at North Fork will open up this weekend with the warmer temperatures. Temperatures around Challis are expected to be in the mid 40’s through next week so expect some off color water from melting snow and ice.

By the way, it’s time to clean those fly lines you haven’t used since last fall,(or get a new one) or change your mono line on your reel ( we can do that for you). We have new flies, lures and what ever you need for catching a steelhead so drop by the store before you go out. Greg

Salmon River Fishing Report


Temperatures have been bouncing around the past couple of weeks but we are seeing an uptick in catch rates for Steelhead between Challis and Salmon. Flows are just a little low for this time of year for the river but definitely will pick up with warmer weather and snow melt. There has not been much fishing below the Middle Fork , with the best catch rates in section 16. Try Green Butt Skunks, Freight Trains, General Practioners, Steelhead Muddlers, Intruders or nymph with stonefly nymph patterns like the Hot Butt Stone, Pat’s Rubber Legs and Tung Nemic Stones. If you fish conventional tackle, try gold, copper , blue or green spoons. A few Cutthroat, Rainbows and  Bulltrout are being caught also while steelhead fishing. Water temperatures are still in the low 30’s so don’t worry about getting out to early. Let the sun warm the water some, maybe hitting the water around 10am.

Upper Salmon River and Central Idaho Area Fishing Forecast

Steelhead fishing continued to improve during the past week on the upper Salmon River. There have been a few wild fish caught in the Challis area but most of the fishing is from the town of Salmon and down river. The most productive fishing is still below the Middle Fork,  with catch rates being less as you move up river. The main Salmon has clear visibility with water temperatures running in the mid thirties. Try smaller flies like General Practitioners, Hoh Bo Speys, and Skunks for fly fishing.

The Big Lost below the dam is going to be midges and Blue Winged Olives. Perdigons , Pheasant Tails, Griffiths Gnat, Zebra Midges and Parachute Adams All in sizes in 18 and smaller.