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Monthly Archives: September 2021

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Clearwater Fall Steelhead Update

While we are currently in the last few days of our Columbia River Fall Chinook season, but we can’t help be excited for our upcoming steelhead season. Steelhead on Idaho’s Clearwater is our bread and butter, the reason we call Clearwater Country home, and our absolute favorite time of year.

October 1st is the unofficial kickoff for us on the Clearwater. Idaho’s Clearwater is catch and release only for steelhead through October 15th so the first few weeks of October will see us focusing Fall Chinook, Coho, and Catch and Release Steelhead. This two week period is one of our absolute favorites of the year and the catch rates can be incredible, and the crowds can be lite.

While much has been published this year about the plight of steelhead migrating up the Columbia, it’s not all doom and gloom. Counts of B Run Steelhead crossing Bonneville Dam have only been slightly lower than last year, and if you were paying attention last year we had a great season on the Clearwater.

With numbers similar or slightly lower than last year we will definitely be fishing steelhead on Idaho’s Clearwater. While we may have to wait and see what our limits might end up being, the fact remains that we will be fishing, and really if you feel like you have to kill a steelhead to enjoy this fishery, then we really feel you are missing the point. These big Steelhead are absolutely incredible, and a picture will last a lot longer then a few fillets in the freezer.

Our favorite time of year is approaching, and we are booking fast, so if your interested in a Steelhead trip with us make sure to give us a call at 208-669-1569 and let’s get your trips planned.


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Hanford Reach Fall Chinook: Adjustments are the name of the game

It’s been a strange year to say the least on the Hanford Reach of the Columbia River. As I’m writing this we are in the midst of a pretty darn good Fall Chinook Run, and while fishing was absolutely on fire here early in the season, it has since cooled off, and been downright tough on some days.

We too have had our struggle days, and Barry and I have been very frustrated a few times this season. For the past few years the downhill trolling program has been absolutely on fire here, and we entered this season thinking that we would see more of the same, and while early in September was great, it didn’t take long for that bite to absolutely hit the skids. So, instead of just pounding away and hoping each morning would be better then the last we decided that there had to be a better way. We made some adjustments.

A little over a week ago we made the full on switch from downriver trolling 360 flashers to what is now considered an old school technique, we went backtrolling. We dusted off the plugs, shined our divers, grabbed the eggs, and went to work. We haven’t looked back since. For some reason this year backtrolling divers and eggs, and plugs has just been the best way for us to catch fish. Now that doesn’t mean other methods are not working, it just means that we have finally found consistent action after making the switch.

Backtrolling is how I cut my teeth on this fishery and it has been such a blessing to be able to fully commit to one of my absolute favorite methods for catching salmon. We are now more relaxed, our gear is in the “slots” longer, and we are catching more fish than we would if we had stayed the course. Now, I’m fully aware that the only thing consistent on the reach is that things change, and after writing this it may just be that we see an incredible downhill trolling bite, but for me, I have a little over a week left in this fishery before I head home for the Clearwater, and I’m going to spend my days relaxed and running my favorite plugs through some of the best water on the river. don’t be afraid to do the same.