The Snake River is our home and we absolutely love the opportunity to chase Fall Chinook on our home waters. This fishery gets underway right from the start of the season in late August and continues all the way through the end of October. We fish late August and September in the Clarkston area near the mouth of the Clearwater River. Here the cold water of the Clearwater River meets the often 70 degree plus water of the Snake River, forming a cold water plume that is an important thermal relief for our Snake River Fall Chinook. Often referred to as the “Confluence” this area is a perfect place for us to troll for big fall Chinook as they wait to head up the Snake River toward their spawning areas. This is a laid back fishery that is great for anyone looking to get on the water and catch big fish. We often have a lot of action during this fishery.
Once a majority of the Snake River Fall Chinook move out of the confluence and continue their upstream migration we switch gears and move up river to the Heller Bar area at the mouth of the Grande Ronde river. Here we mostly side drift bait (mostly cured roe), and catch a combination of Steelhead and Salmon. We typically move upriver to the Heller Bar area the first week of October, but the fishing can be good earlier some years. This can be an action packed fishery with both Fall Chinook and Steelhead likely to be hooked on the same drift. This is one of our most favorite times of the year as the weather is cooling down and the fishing can be hot. We also target the Heller Bar area through the first part of February for Steelhead, and Fall Chinook can be expected in our catches through the end of October.