Steelhead Fishing on the Salmon River
Steelhead fly-fishing on the Salmon River is one of my personal favorites. It can be very rewarding and is mostly done by sight fishing. These magnificent fish swim upstream from the Pacific Ocean to Idaho via the Columbia and Snake rivers. The fish have several dams to negotiate, and they spend about 8 months in fresh water before they spawn in the Stanley basin. The fish average about 8 to 16 lbs. and are very stout. I have been guiding these fish about 15 years and I am always fascinated by them. The Steelhead that swim up the Salmon River to spawn, move almost 1000 miles to do so. At the present time, most of the fish are of hatchery origin. There are still some wild fish, but there is much to be done to restore the once huge numbers of these sea-run rainbows. The prime time to find steelhead is during the month of April. At this time the fish have moved up into the upper water, and are closer to the Sun Valley area. It is about a one hour drive to Stanley from Sun Valley and it is a drive through some of Idaho's most beautiful country. Expect almost exclusively sight fishing and any kind of weather!
True Wild Steelhead or Hatchery Wild?
Idaho Fish & Game dam and hatchery fish count link. / Fish Flow Passage Center Steelhead counts. / Army Corps Dam Counts Alternate fish counts at the dams. / Angler Counts / Idaho Power Site.
2009 steelhead counts: Fish seen: 308, Fish hooked: 99, Fish landed: 59, Wild fish: 7, On the Dry: 0
2008 Steelhead counts: Fish seen: 336, Fish hooked: 100, Fish landed: 68, Wild fish: 8, Dry fly's: 6, 1.9 fish per person per day, 1 fish every 3.17 hr.
April 1999 counts: Fish seen: 195, Fish landed: 43, Wild fish landed: 5 Average; 2.5 fish per person per day fished, 1 fish every 3 hrs.
April 2000 counts: 156 seen, 35 landed,
wild. 2 fish per
person per day. 1 fish every 3.6 hrs.
April 2001counts: Fish seen : 442, Fish hooked : 114, Fish landed : 75, Wild fish : 11 . Averages for 2001; 33 client days for a total of 264 hrs. 1 fish every 3.52 hrs. 2.27 fish per day.
April 2002 counts: Fish seen : 687, Fish hooked : 235, Fish landed : 131, Wild fish : 19 Dry fly: 2 27 client days, 216 hrs fished, 4.85 fish average per day and a fish every 1.64 hr.
2003 client Steelhead counts: Fish seen: 482 Fish hooked: 115, Fish landed: 57, Wild fish: 18. 26 client days, 208 hours fished, 2.19 average fish per day, 1 fish per 3.64 hours fished.
2004 Steelhead Totals: Fish seen: 440 Fish hooked: 138 Fish landed: 73 Wild fish: 16 Dry Fly: 1, 23 client days, 320 hrs fished, 3.17 fish per day, 4.38 hrs. per fish.
2005 Steelhead Totals: Fish seen: 408 Fish hooked: 107 Fish landed: 66 Wild fish: 13 Dry Fly: 0
2006 Steelhead totals: Seen: 258 , Hooked: 89, Landed: 51, Wild: 5, Dry Fly:0. 32 client days, 256 hrs. fished, 1 fish every 5 hrs. 1.59 fish per day.
2007 Steelhead totals: Seen: 329 , Hooked: 91, Landed: 55, Wild: 4, Dry Fly: 8 136 hrs fished, 1 fish every 2.47 hrs.