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.

Snake River Steelhead and Salmon Fishing Report

Snake River Steelhead

We had another fantastic day yesterday fishing the Snake River out of Heller Bar for both Fall Chinook Salmon and Steelhead. Between salmon and Steelhead we landed 10 plus adult fish and numerous Chinook jacks, and ended up keeping 4 fish (two Chinook and 2 Steelhead.) All our fish were caught side drifting eggs and yarnies. Our best producing eggs have been Jones Sport Fishing Steelhead Cure in Natural and Orange, and our Salmon Cure in Red.

One thing we have noticed this season is that while the overall steelhead numbers might be down the average size of fish we have been catching this season has been way up. Normally most fish we catch on the Snake River  are in the 4-6 pound class, but this year we are seeing lots of fish in the 8-10 pound range.

We have openings over the next few weeks. If you have been thinking about a Snake River Steelhead trip now is the perfect time to get out in the water. Check out the Book Online Now button on our homepage to view available dates and book your trips.

Snake River Salmon and Steelhead Fishing Report

We had a great day today chasing salmon and Steelhead in the Heller Bar area of the Snake River. Although we mostly caught Fall Chinook today we did manage to find a few Steelhead. The river is absolutely loaded with fish now and should continue to fish fantastic for the next few weeks for salmon and Steelhead and well into February for Steelhead.  This is a very active fishery where we mostly side drift bait, so you are actually responsible for catching your own fish. We have quite a few openings for this fishery, so get with us now to book your trip. To view our open dates click on the Book online now button. On our home page. We fish most of our fall snake River dates out of Heller Bar.

Snake River Spring Chinook Report for 5/23/16

Snake River Spring Chinook

The Snake River in the Clarkston area continued to fish well for us this past Sunday/ Monday opening.  On Monday we had a group of four customers and had a great day catching Snake River Spring Chinook.  We hooked a total of 7 fish and landed 4 of them, and when the tally came in at the end of the day we had close to 10-11 bites.  This has been a great fishery this year and with the addition of a 2 fish limit the last two weeks we have been very happy.

Our success came while anchor fishing bait wrapped plugs such as the T-50 Flat Fish from Yakima Bait Company.  I prefer this style of plug when I am fishing on anchor in places that require lead or divers to fish the bottom.  My plug fishing set up this week consisted of a 6 foot 50# mono leader and a 4 foot dropper.  All this is attached to 50# high visibility braided line such as Power Pro or TUFF Line.  Our lead weights of choice were 4 oz cannon ball type sinkers.  We have been having the most success wrapping our plugs with our own tuna concoctions, and the recipe for our success can be found in a previous blog.

In addition to catching fish on plugs, we also had some good action fishing herring and a flasher on anchor.  Our method for this is similar to the way we fish plugs, but with a few minor changes.  Our most successful system was the same mainline and dropper length for our plug set up, but we add a 24 inch bumper between our mainline and flasher.  Our most successful flasher was a Green and Chrome Leo flasher.  I think this flasher was a major reason for our success as the flows this week were almost too slow to spin a herring, but with the slow roll of the Leo flasher we were able to impart that great herring action on our baits.  To get your own supply of Leo Flashers make sure you head over to and check out their supply!

Hopefully we get one more Snake River opening, as I think the fishing will be similar to this past week.  We should know for sure if we are going to be able to fish by the end of the day Thursday.  I do have openings this weekend for both Snake River Spring Chinook ( if we get to fish) and Snake River Sturgeon / Bass Fishing.  This time of year yields the best sturgeon fishing of the year and is a great way to spend a day at the entrance to Hell’s Canyon.  Also if anyone is interested in keeper sturgeon fishing we offer trips on the Hanford Reach section of the Columbia River.  Catch rates here are high and we often land 10-20 fish per day and average about a keeper per boat.


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Snake River Spring Chinook!

This report is for both Sunday the 15th and Monday the 16th of May. We fished out of Clarkston for both days of the Snake River Spring Chinook opener in this area and fishing was absolutely fantastic!

Sunday morning we started off trolling herring and Brad’s Super Baits behind Short Bus and Fish Flash type flashers. We had a fantastic morning bite and had 3 keepers in the boat by 7am. After the initial morning bite things kind of slowed down for us and we hooked and lost a few other fish. All our bites while trolling came very near the bottom with heavy lead ( 10-12 0z.). Our best producer was the Seahawk brads cut plug, but cut plug herring dyed blue and chartreuse was a close second.

Around noon we decided to change things up and join the hog line above us. This was the best decision I made all day! In just a few hours we had 15 or so bites and landed 2 more nice keeper Chinook. We ended our full day trip around 3pm and dropped my first set of customers off. I had two guys jump in with me for the evening and we returned to our anchor spot. In 3 hours we had another 12-15 bites and landed 5 Chinook with 3 of them being keepers.

Monday morning I started with the same program from the night before. We anchored up in the Hog line and started hooking fish almost immediately. Again we had 12-15 bites hooked 9 of them, lost 3 at the boat, landed 3 of which 2 were keepers. I only had one customer with me yesterday so we were done and limited by 10am with a great day of action.

While on anchor I had the most success fishing tuna wrapped Kwickfish and Brads Killerfish in the 15 size. I added Garlic Super Dipping Sauce, and Anis/Krill Super Dipping sauce to two separate batches of tuna, and we had great success with both concoctions. I change my bait wraps every 15 mins, and feel that this is a major factor in my success.

I have some openings this upcoming weekend if we get another opener for the Snake. Friday/Saturday is open at Ice Harbor, and Sunday/Monday is open at Clarkston. The Snake currently has a two fish limit so this is a great opportunity that we don’t often see. Give me a call at 208-861-0654 and lets get your trip set up.

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