Steelhead are moving upstream, which often means better access and smaller rivers

Steelhead have spent most of the winter holed up in deep water waiting to make their final push upstream, and late winter and spring is when it happens. Anglers looking to cure cabin fever can get an early start on their fishing season, as well as catch one of Idaho’s most prized fish.

Steelhead move into headwaters of Idaho’s famous steelhead streams during late winter and early spring, which concentrates them in the upper tributaries of the Clearwater and Salmon rivers. Anglers key on those areas for the opportunity to catch these large, ocean-going fish that are traveling upwards of 900 miles to hatcheries or spawning grounds.

“”The South Fork Clearwater River and the mainstem Clearwater River in the Kooskia/Kamiah area are just starting to turn on, whereas the main Clearwater River near Dworshak Hatchery and the North Fork Clearwater River have been fishing good all winter and should continue to fish good through the spring. Finally, expect catch rates in the Little Salmon River and the Snake River near Hells Canyon Dam to pick up as soon as water temperatures warm a little.”

In the Upper Salmon River, the Deadwater ice jam was still in place on Feb. 16, and Salmon Region Fisheries Manager Greg Schoby said he expects it will be early March at the earliest before it breaks up and spring steelhead season began in earnest in his region.

Dupont said that as catch rates pick up, they are likely to remain high into April for most waters, but added that they will vary throughout the spring depending on weather and river conditions.

As most folks know, the weather in Idaho is unpredictable in late winter and early spring. Warm weather, or rainy

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