Category Archives: clearwater river steelhead

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Huge Regulation Changes Coming for Clearwater Steelhead!

Sitting here today at my dining room table I have to say I’m glad I’m not out on the river. We are in the middle of a late February cold snap and the temperature here at my Deary, Idaho home was a balmy -1 degrees yesterday morning. Today things have warmed up a little, and by the weekend we should be seeing some much more normal temperatures. Saturday the 26th of February will most likely be my last day on the Clearwater for our 2021/2022 season. While we look to close one season, we are looking forward to lots of trips chasing Walleye, Trout, Crappie, Perch, Salmon, and Sturgeon both in Southern Idaho and the Columbia River in Washington and Oregon. I also wanted to take a moment to look at some MAJOR changes coming to our steelhead season on the Clearwater starting this fall.

For the past 30 plus years the Steelhead season on Idaho’s Clearwater River has pretty much remained the same. We have had a very simple to understand season structure where the river was catch and release for steelhead through October 14th with catch and keep season opening on October 15th and running through the entire rest of the season. Starting Fall 2022 everything changes!

For the Fall of 2022 Clearwater anglers will have drastically different regulations then they have been accustomed to. Keep season for Steelhead will now open September 10th and Run through October 14th, then from October 15th through November 10th the Clearwater will be catch and release only for Steelhead. This is a drastic change in how we operate our Fall. October 15th – November 10th has traditionally been our busiest time of year. We are prepared to make the adjustment, and these changes will actually offer some really exciting opportunities!

Clearwater anglers will now have the opportunity to fish for and keep Steelhead early in the year when their table quality is at its peak, and in addition we will be able to very effectively target both Fall Chinook and Steelhead during the same trip. In all honesty for a lot of years it never made sense to me why we could keep steelhead on the Snake, but if we moved into the Clearwater they were off limits.

Like everything in this industry we are constantly having to make adjustments, and we will adjust and hopefully thrive with these new regulations. Will this be frustrating? Will we get tired of answering questions and doing Fish and Game’s job of educating our customer and the public about this regulation change? The answer to these questions is a resounding yes, and all I can hope for is that in three years when regulations are re-visited, that we don’t enter a cycle where a few interest groups are able to convince fisheries managers that regulations should be changed again. This change in steelhead season will have absolutely 0 impact on harvest numbers, and will in fact allow Clearwater anglers the ability to harvest more steelhead bound for other Idaho and other Snake and Salmon River destinations.

Our plan moving forward for 2022 is to bring more of our Fall Chinook business home to the Clearwater where we will be able to target both Fall Chinook and Steelhead. Our Fall Chinook limit will once again be 3 adults and unlimited jacks, combine that with a Steelhead limit of 2 hatchery adults, and the possible addition of 2 Coho and it becomes very obvious that early Fall on Idaho’s Clearwater will be the place to be. I am excited to be able to fish all Fall from home. I always fish better when home every night, and the Elk and Deer in our home units better be ready as my archery season, that I had given up to fish the Hanford Reach, will be fully active again. All in all we are used to constantly changing runs, regulations, and angler preferences, this regulation change will be no different and we will be here excited to show our customers how awesome Idaho’s Clearwater is in early Fall. We hope you will be as excited as we are and willing to embrace some new opportunities!


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Clearwater Steelhead

Is January the “Best” Month for Clearwater Steelhead?

January on Idaho’s Clearwater River is without a doubt the most overlooked month of the year when it comes to catching great numbers of B-Run Steelhead. Over the years we have consistently had our all our top days for the season during January.

Lots of fish in the system, consistent and often times warming water temperatures, holding fish, and generally lower pressure are a few of the reasons the month of January has been our most consistent fish catching month. Despite the sometimes challenging weather conditions January is typically much more mild on the Clearwater then the surrounding areas. We often see high’s in the lower 40’s and some years we see weather warmer than that. Combine warmer temperatures (than December) and generally better water conditions from low level snow melt, and we get a winning combination for fish catching.

If you are looking for a mid winter fishing trip, and are looking for some of the best fishing of the year, make sure to give us a call and lets get you out on one of our boats. Chances are after experiencing the Clearwater in January you will come back for more.

During this time of year we will often use multiple techniques to put you on fish. Plugging, side drifting, and bobber dogging all get the nod depending on what river conditions are doing and which method has been producing the best. Yes, the weather can be cold, and we understand that when the snow is falling fishing is not on the front of most folks minds, but we think the Clearwater is just the thing to cure that cabin fever, and make some lasting memories. So, bundle up, head out and jump in a boat, you wont regret it!

Check out the video below and make sure to give us a call to get in on this awesome fishery!


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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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Clearwater Steelhead in the Snow!

Wow, the last few days have been interested. The Clearwater region has seen a tremendous amount of snow, and that has made things a little difficult. When conditions get like this chains become a necessity when launching and retrieving boats on snow and ice cover launches. Here is a major pro tip: don’t attempt snow and ice covered ramps if your not prepared, and when conditions are like this it’s not a matter of if you get stuck, it’s when, so be prepared and have a plan.

Despite last weeks cold temperatures and this weeks relentless snow we have still been catching some awesome fish. We are in the final 3 weeks of our Clearwater Steelhead Season and it’s during this period that we often catch some of our biggest fish of the year. The other bonus is that picture of big Steelhead in the snow are hard to beat.

Technique wise this seem to be the year of the plug. After struggling in the nasty conditions on Monday we switched up to pulling plugs tipped with shrimp yesterday and had a great day. My boat had 10 or so opportunities, hooked 8, and landed 6 beautiful Clearwater Steelhead.

Looking forward to the next few weeks it’s hard to tell what to expect. The forecast is calling for continued snow, although daytime highs are getting back up into the upper 30’s and low 40’s. I’m guessing plugs will continue to be a major part of our program until river temps warm up some and river flows come up, and with all the low level snow laying around we could be back to high flows and lots of drifting in a few days. At any rate we are excited for what these last few weeks of steelhead brings, as it will soon be over, and Barry and I will be moving on to chasing Columbia River Walleye. Please enjoy the pictures, and if you see us on the water make sure to say hi.


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Clearwater Steelhead Update

With a shot of cold weather settling in on Idaho’s Clearwater we decided to reschedule some of our trips over the next few days in an effort to make sure our customers have an enjoyable experience on the water. Single digit lows, and highs barely reaching the 20 degree mark make everything about steelhead fishing difficult, and puts unnecessary stress on our equipment. I know this first hand as a few years ago I launched the boat at three degrees, froze up a coolant line, and subsequently overheated my motor, causing the number one cylinder to blow into a bunch of little pieces. It was a 20k mistake, and stark reminder that sometimes it’s better to just stay home, then push back on Mother Nature.

The fishing on Idaho’s Clearwater has been a lot like steelhead fishing over the past few weeks. One day we will go out and land 6 or 7 and the next we might be struggling to put fish in the boat, but it’s the challenge that steelhead fishing presents that makes it so enjoyable.

Over the past month we have been spending most of our time and energy side drifting bait, and beads, as this is one of the most enjoyable ways to catch steelhead, and let’s our customers be the main participant, but as the latest cold front started to move in Barry and myself decided to stop pounding our heads against the wall and make an adjustment. We dug out the plug rods and decided to slowly pick apart the holes and see if we could force a few fish to bite. The results speak for themselves. The last 3 days the fishing has picked up significantly, and I attribute this to switching things up.

This week was just another reminder that often times switching things up can be a huge difference maker in the number of fish brought to the net. It also made a point clear that as Steelheaders we need to be confident in fishing multiple presentations to consistently put fish in the boat. So, going forward my advice is to keep an open mind, and never keep those plug rods too far out of reach.


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Great Winter Action on Idaho’s Clearwater

We just finished up a fantastic January on Idaho’s Clearwater River, and February is already looking to be even better. Over the last month we have seen some fantastic fishing, and although there were some days we struggled it’s was overall a great month of fishing for Idaho’s B Run Steelhead

We are very excited for February, as for us it represents the the final push of our steelhead season. We fish the Clearwater through mid March, and the last month and a half of our season can often be the best for putting a bunch of fish in the boat.

We are now in full on side drifting mode, as it allows us to not only put the rod in your hands, but it’s the absolute best way to put a bunch of steelhead in the boat. There is nothing quite like setting the hook into a pissed off steelhead. Over the last few weeks our number one rig has been pegged hard fish pills from Mad River Manufacturing. These pressured fish seem to prefer the small presentation and this set up has been hard to beat.

We have quite a few open dates over the next 6 weeks, so get in touch with us and let’s get you out on the river for a Clearwater Steelhead adventure, and enjoy the pictures below from an amazing month on the river.