Salmon River Fishing Report

Salmon fishing has continued to improve on the Salmon River around Challis, Idaho. As of 6/27 there were 232 fish in the Pahsimeroi Hatchery and 455 fish at the Sawtooth hatchery. it appears there are a lot more fish heading to the Pahsimeroi than originally expected, which it is a good thing. They expect to meet there broodstock need. With all this information., it looks like we may have a few more fish to catch also. The upper Salmon River continued to fish the best this past week.  Anglers harvested an estimated 28 hatchery adult Chinook in location code 17 which produced a harvest rate of 59 hours per Chinook kept. Near Challis, in location code 18, anglers harvested an estimated 71 hatchery adult Chinook and 13 hatchery jacks which produced a harvest rate of 26 hours per Chinook kept. Anglers upstream of the East Fork in location code 19 harvested an estimated 138 hatchery adult Chinook and 56 hatchery jacks which produced a harvest rate of 32 hours per Chinook kept.

This weekend is expected to have some heavy fishing pressure between Challis and Stanley a probably a fair number of fish will be caught. We are hoping to squeeze a week or so after the 4th before the season is shut down. Now is the time and your best chance catch a salmon.

LC 17 – Lemhi River to Pahsimeroi River

LC 18 – Pahsimeroi River to East Fork Salmon River

LC 19 – East Fork Salmon River to Sawtooth Hatchery

Thanks to Greg Schoby our Regional Fisheries Manager for the continuous updates!

The Salmon River has also been fishing well for trout. Try fishing with Stimulators, Stonefly patterns and Caddis. Prince nymphs, Bitch Creek nymph, Copper Johns and Caddis pupa imitations have been working for under the water.

Tight Lines and Big Tugs,

Greg W



Salmon River

The Salmon are here! Salmon season opened up on the upper Salmon today and few fish have being caught. The water has been a little high but clearing up and dropping fairly quickly. The river flows are around 1600cfs(dropped 800cfs in the last 4 days). I wouldn’t fish any higher up river than East Fork for now. The Pahsimeroi  has 54 in the hatchery so far. Herring, tuna balls and roe are all being used for bait. For lures try Mepps Fly C’s (7/8oz),,K.O.Wobbler (3/4oz), Blue Fox Vibrax (7/16oz). or Kwikfish K-15’s.

These Salmon will take flies, so you might want to try swinging a few and if you hook one, Hold on!


Salmon River Fishing Report 4/19/2016


Looking upstream fro Challis Bridge

Looking upstream from Challis Bridge

The water levels have dropped significantly since last week. On the 14th water levels were around 3100cfs. Current readings show about 2170 cfs down or 6.1 ft. The water has cleared up some, but the higher water with the reduced visibility has made fishing difficult. Most up the fishing for steelhead now is up around Stanley. Dead drifting egg patterns and big nymphs is still working. With the lower visibility in the water, larger patterns in #2 and #4’s that are darker are producing fish also. You might try some with a little chartreuse in them..

Spoons sizes 1/2oz and 3/4oz in copper, blue , gold/fl orange, or green are a good bet also.

Salmon River Fishing Report 4/12/2016

20160412_110836                             View at the BLM boat ramp at the Challis bridge 4/12/2016


The Steelhead fishing around Challis has slowed down considerably this past week. The warm temperatures have brought the river up to 2300cfs (5.3ft) and pretty much made it muddy. There are a few anglers that have picked up fish over the weekend around Ellis just below the Pahsimeroi River, but most anglers have relocated up around Stanley for clearer water. There are still fish coming into the Pahsimeroi Hatchery, but the water clarity has really put a stop on the fishing.

Fishing egg patterns and and brighter steelhead patterns will work best for the fly fisherman. Spoons in copper, blue, fl orange, chartreuse or green are also working for the spin fisherman.

20160412_111115                                                   View looking up river from Challis Bridge



Fishing on the Salmon River has slowed down for most fisherman. There are still lots of fish around but the bite has definitely slowed down . The water is green with a slight dirty color to it presently. Run off from this weekend caused to flows to to increase almost 450 cfs. Since last night the river has dropped 100cfs but the water has not cleared up much. Flows presently are 900cfs at the gauge above Clayton. Visibility is about 2-3ft depending where you are on the river.

Colors of flies and lures has been all over the board. With the water being a little off color, darker flies and lures have been best. Flies working are egg patterns , stonefly nymphs amd larger articulated flies.

We have had the lure fisherman using everything from white twistertails to copper, blue or green spoons. Gold corkies seemed to be working best for the drift fisherman, with shrimp or dark rabbit strip leaches following.

As far as the weekend goes, it’s anyone’s guess. Still some below freezing temperature in the nighttime up in the higher elevations. Temperatures are forecast to be in the mid 60’s to low 70’s by the weekend. We will just have to wait and see what happens, but I suspect the river will start rising pretty good.

Salmon River Fishing Report 3/26–/2016

Steelhead fishing on the Salmon River has improved the past couple of days even though the nighttime water temperatures have dropped to mid 30’s and daytime temperatures are only reaching up to the high 30’s. Water levels have dropped down to 2.1 ft compared to 2.4 ft yesterday (25th) and water clarity is good.

Fish are being caught throughout the system, but I think the better fishing is from town and going downriver to Salmon where fishing was good there yesterday also. There are still more fish moving up from below North Fork so fishing should start to be fairly consistent.

Swinging flies in the afternoon and evening has been  productive. Try Senyo’s A1 Intruder(copper or blue),and articulated leeches like Chain-Reaction Leech but nymphing has been the best way to go. For egg patterns  try the Psycho Spawn(in orange or pink), or Trout Beads. Stonefly patterns working best are the Hot Butt Stones and  Steelhead Hammers.

Copper, Blue, and Green has been the best color for spoons. Lots of success Friday with 3″black or black and chartreuse Mr. Twisters. Pink/white , orange/white , and other bright variations of 1/4oz jigs Aerojigs have also been working.  Berekley Gulp 3″Black Leaches will work great also. Roe and shrimp are still very productive.

Dustin caught this 25″ fat hatchery male below Deer Gulch on Thursday, March 24.



Corey caught this 33″ wild fish somewhere below Challis.

Salmon River Steelhead,Steelhead Fishing,Challis Idaho

Salmon River Steelhead

Salmon River Fishing Report 3/23/16

Deer Gulch20160322_114738

Steelhead fishing is on! Fishing has been good this week for most folks. The water has warmed up t0 38 to 40 degrees, fish are moving when the water warms up, and catch rates have improved. Water gauges show a little over 2.4ft  around Clayton. The water is “steelie green” , but over all visibility is good.  Steelhead are being caught throughout the system, so I can’t say one section will fish better than the other. More fish are moving upstream from Salmon, so expect fishing to just keep improving.

Swinging flies in the afternoon and evening has been fairly productive. Try Senyo’s A1 Intruder(copper or blue), but nymphing has been the best way to go. For egg patterns  try the Psycho Spawn(in orange or pink), or Trout Beads. Stonefly patterns working best are the Hot Butt Stones and  Steelhead Hammers.

Copper, Blue, and Green has been the best color for spoons. Roe and shrimp are still very productive.

Salmon River Fishing Report

Steelhead fishing has been good this past week. Water levels are good, the water has a slight stain to it and the fish are moving.  The Sawtooth Hatchery in Stanley has even received some fish this week.  Fisherman have been catching both wild and hatchery fish here so we should start seeing the numbers increasing.

Water temperatures have been bouncing from 37 to 40 degrees. Nymphing Stoneflies, beads ,and egg patterns, egg sucking leaches and bunny bugs are working. There is also some swinging going on and fishing being caught, but most of the fishing is nymphing.

Roe has been the best bait, with shrimp second.The most popular colors for corkies in bright pink,orange ,chartreuse and silver. With spinners and spoons, stick with the same colors.

Warmer temperatures are forecast for next week, so we will keep everyone posted on water conditions.

Salmon River Fishing Report

It’s that time of year when your in your drift boat and the sun is shining, you take off your coat because your to hot, you look up river or to the west and a big dark cloud is starting to drop down on you and its blowing and snowing all of the sudden. It’s Steelhead time again, and they are on the bite. It’s not fast fishing, but your just as likely to hook a fish as not. As of today-right now-this moment, the river is clear around Challis. In Salmon, there is about a foot of visibility.If you are fishing flies, something big and dark will work best like a Senyo A1 Intruder Swinging a fly will work, but you would probably be more successful nymphing.

Drift fishing has been fairly good. With the majority of fishing around Ellis.

Boat Ramps at Deer Gulch, Cottonwood and lower down river are open. Might be some slushy snow to get through but you can get in the river. Penal Gulch is accessible but snowy. The ramp at the Challis Bridge is no accessible and up river there is  still the river in places.


Challis Area Fishing Report 02/14 – 02/21

Salmon River

Spring must be in the air, what with all the fishermen and a few drift boats seen yesterday. We had some reports of Steelhead being caught below the Pahsimeroi, and river conditions are excellent. This shot was taken just north of Challis this morning (02/14).


No reports on float conditions above Ellis- there is likely some ice cover in spots. There is still quite a bit of ice upstream of Challis. The forecast for the next week shows temperatures in the 40’s, so water should remain fairly slush-free. This time of year, drifting stonefly nymphs can be very productive, and if the Steelhead aren’t biting, the whitefish will readily take nymphs. The whitefish are fun to catch, and some can be really large.


A fisherman recently reported catching a few Steelhead on cured roe, and certainly shrimp or nightcrawlers will be effective too.

The Big Lost River

Flows are still very low, so concentrating on deeper holes with long, light leaders is necessary. Midges and a few BWO’s make up the bug population right now, so try a Griffith’s Gnat with a Zebra midge tied below. After you’re pretty sure you’re done fishing, strip a small black Wooly Bugger through the deep spots to see if there’s a Brook Trout lurking in there.

Mackay Reservoir

The ice is still good at Mackay, although the edges are getting slushy by the afternoon. The fishing is still good, especially when the Kokanee come through. This writer and her better half spent last Sunday landing seven Kokanee in about 2 1/2 hours, and then landing 23 in about 20 minutes, jigging small jigs tipped with spikes.

Jimmy Smith Lake

Jimmy Smith is still fishing well with good ice.