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Clearwater/ Snake Confluence Fall Chinook

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Clearwater/ Snake Confluence Fall Chinook

We have been home from the Oregon coast now for about 10 days and in that time we have spent some great days fishing for Fall Chinook on the Clearwater and Snake Rivers out of Lewiston, Idaho. Although we love to fish in Astoria it just doesn’t quite measure up to our local fisheries and sleeping in our own beds. The confluence as we call it is one of our favorite fisheries and we can’t be more excited to be catching fall Chinook at home in Idaho.

The confluence is a unique fishery as the cold clear waters of Idaho’s Clearwater meet the slightly stained warm waters of the Snake River. The Clearwater this time of year is often running at around 50 degrees when it meets the hot 70 degree water of the Snake. These are the conditions that allow this fishery to thrive. Migrating salmon and steelhead bound for the Snake, Salmon, and Clearwater rivers seek this cold water refuge. While the Clearwater fish tend to shoot straight up the Clearwater, the Snake and Salmon River fish hold up, hang out, and wait for water temperatures on the Snake to cool down before continuing their migration, and it’s these holding fish that provide us with fantastic fishing.

For salmon the confluence is primarily a troll fishery although there is a strong following of bobber and shrimp fisherman that do very well for steelhead, and also catch a few salmon while targeting steelhead. We absolutely love to troll and this fishery is a trollers dream. Our go to set ups are almost identical to the other troll fisheries we fish throughout the Columbia River Basin. We fish 360 style flashers with superbaits or spinners as our lures of choice, and all of this is easily accomplished without the use of downriggers.

When targeting salmon in the confluence we tend to try and keep our gear within about 5 feet of the bottom. Utilizing lead cannon ball weights and line counter reels. Our go to depths the past few outing have been to run 12 ounces of lead at 30 and 35 feet on our line counters, and 8 ounces at 50 feet. Water depth ranges in in the confluence from 25- 40 or so feet and the above numbers do a great job of having us in the zone at all times.

Another thing to keep in mind when fishing at the Confluence is that trolling speed is your friend. These Chinook seem to like a fast troll, and we want to see a deep thump on the rod telling us that our flashers are working well. If your not getting that deep thump, then speed up. Also speed can be used to raise and lower your gear when trying to fish over shallower humps. If you need your set up to raise up just simply go faster and get your gear up and over the hump. Often times these speed changes are really what get these salmon to bite.

Like we stated before this is one of our favorite fisheries and the flat calm waters of the Snake and Clearwater Confluence are a great place to hone your salmon skills. So, grab some canned tuna, a handful of 3.5 Colorado Spinners, and your favorite superbaits and get out on the water.


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Clearwater Fishing Report

Idaho’s Clearwater continued to fish well this week. The cold overnight temps made things a little difficult at times as dropping water temperatures slow upstream movement and make the fish less aggressive. We were able to find fish all week by targeting likely steelhead holding water that was just out of the main current flow, often times picking fish up out of “frog water” on the very inside portion of the run. When faced with cold water conditions we prefer to fish bait. Both cured roe and shrimp were our baits of choice this week, and multiple fish were caught each day on both. One of our major keys to success during this time of year on the Clearwater is to add lots of scent to our eggs and shrimp. Some of our favorites are the anise/krill and the krill from Super Dipping Saucy, but we also use lots of mikes shrimp oil, and special mix from SmellyJelly.

Fishing will continue to be good this week, and the change in weather patters should begin to bring water temperatures back up to normal levels. As water temps rise the fishing will continue to improve. With the mild winter, and long range forecast it looks like this is one of those years that we will be fishing the Clearwater deep into March. When conditions allow we often see some fantastic steelhead fishing in March.

We still have quite a few day available and for those interested in booking a trip with us we encourage you to give our office a call, or to check out or availability by clicking the Book Online button at the top of the page, and as always if you are enjoying our content please share it to your social media accounts. Every share, like, follow, or subscribe we get goes a long ways in helping our small family business.

Thank you,

Kyle Jones

Clearwater Steelhead
Clearwater Steelhead
Clearwater Steelhead
Clearwater Steelhead
Clearwater Steelhead
Clearwater Steelhead

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Clearwater River Steelhead Report

Fishing on Idaho’s Clearwater River remained good this past weekend. Water levels and river clarity continued to improve all week and by mid week the entire Clearwater was fishing. This time of year we focus most of our effort around Orofino, as there are often large numbers of fish starting to congregate near Dworshak National Fish hatchery. Most all our fish were caught side drifting egg and yarn combinations, or pegged beads.

For anglers who love to fish the South Fork of the Clearwater we heard some good reports form that area and it sounds like quite a few fish have moved into the system. Floats and jigs along with floats and beads tend to fish very well up there this time of year, also people fly fishing with indicators and egg patterns tend to do very well.

If you are interested in booking a trip with us we run power boat trips on the Clearwater from Orofino to Lewiston. We still have some openings and we are booking trips through the middle of March. Click the big green book online button or give us a call. We would love to get you out on the water with us!

Clearwater River Steelhead

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Clearwater Steelhead

Idaho’s Clearwater is fishing great!

After the recent rains the Clearwater is back in shape and the fish are snappy! We had some great fishing the last two days, and lots of open dates now through the 10th of March. February is one of our favorite months and it’s great to be out on the river as the days are beginning to last a little longer, and the sun finally has a little warmth to it. Idaho’s Clearwater is know for big fish and we have been seeing lots of 15 pound plus fish this season. Now is the time to book if you are looking to get that late winter steelhead trip in on the Clearwater!


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Clearwater River Steelhead Report

Kyle has now switched gears from Fall Salmon and is now spending all his time fishing Steelhead on the Clearwater and Snake Rivers. Last week was our first full week of steelhead fishing for the year and things have started out great. We fished all week on the Clearwater. Currently the water is very low and clear, so our tactics have changed a little bit from our normal side drifting program. We are still drifting eggs, yarn, and beads, but we have been spending a large portion of our day pulling plugs.

Plug fishing in these conditions allows us to present our gear to the fish before the influence of the boat affects the fish. By setting out the “wall of death” 75 feet below the boat we are able to drop our plugs into every little nook and cranny that these big steelhead like to hide.

Low and clear conditions are also a great time to fish with a float and jig. By positioning the boat above potential steelhead holding water we are able to drop small jigs into fish well before the boat gets there.

Fishing has been decent with most of our fish being caught before lunch. The steelhead action will improve greatly as we get some fall rains and a little more water in the river. With more water we will again go to side drifting as our number one technique, but in the mean time we are having fun hunting these fish with multiple techniques.

We have openings this week and plenty of open boats and seats in November. All of our Clearwater dates are done as employees of Reel Time Fishing so get in touch with us for available dates and we will get your trip all set up. Our office number at 208-669-1569 is the best way to reach us.