The Salmon River
The Steelhead fishing had been great this fall from below the Middle Fork all the way up to Challis before the cold snap hit. The catching has slowed down somewhat, but the fish are there and can be caught. There are still plenty of opportunities to catch Steelhead when the slush is flowing and finding a bend in the river where the slush is flowing on the opposite side is the first step in ice water fishing. Using shrimp or nightcrawlers for bait works well, and many local folks like to head down river and walk ice ledges while jigging- this method is very effective. As for flies, slow stripping dark streamers and nymph fishing are very productive for cold Steelhead. Warmer (20-30 degree) night time temperatures will usually produce ice free water the next day, and if there is morning slush it will often clear off after noon.
A nice Salmon River Steelhead caught on November 8 between Salmon and Challis. The fish was caught using an Orvis Clearwater 8 wt spey rod, Orvis Mirage V reel and a Chrome Candy articulated fly in blue/black.
Big Lost River
The river below the dam is low (57 cfs) and the fish are stacked up in deep pools. Midges will be the main hatch, so Griffith’s Gnats or Beatis dries in 18 or 20 for any surface action, and Zebra Midges or Prince Nymphs in 18-22 fished deep.
As of November 16, the reservoir hadn’t frozen over so it might be awhile before we can get out and jig for kokanee.
Stay tuned for updates on hard water conditions.