Snake River Steelhead

Steelhead fishing on the Snake River is great. Every year fishing guides catch Steelhead on the Snake River. Snake river Steelhead are hard fighting fish that are good to eat.

Steelhead are the migrating version of rainbow trout. Rainbow trout are the "land locked" version, and remain in freshwater throughout their life. Steelhead migrate from the ocean into freshwater to spawn, and then can swim back out to the ocean again if they wish. Since steelhead are not do not die after spawning they are not an "official" Pacific Salmon. But, steelhead are often a favorite of local fishers for their large size and feisty attitude. Lake Washington currently has a steelhead recovery program underway to help increase the number of fish in the system. If you see a salmon, here's some tips to use to determine whether or not it's a steelhead trout...

Adult Male Steelhead and Adult Female Steelhead.

Fish Unlimited Guide Service

Fish Unlimited An Idaho Snake River Fishing Guide
For Steelhead, Salmon, Sturgeon Trout And Bass

Fish Unlimited is an Idaho Fishing Guide and Outfitter for the Snake River, Hells Canyon and nearby areas for Steelhead fishing, Sturgeon and oversize Sturgeon, Salmon and Bass and Trout. When you join us for a fishing trip you will quickly find out that it's not "if" you will catch fish but "how many fish" will you catch. It's not "if" you'll catch a Sturgeon but "how big" will will the oversize Sturgeon be.
Visit our Snake River Fishing Guide website.

SNAKE RIVER below HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR: trout, smallmouth bass

Fishing for adipose fin-clipped steelhead has opened and the fishing is very good. The bag limit for steelhead increased to five adipose fin-clipped steelhead per day, with no more than three 32 inches in total length or greater. There are a lot of fishermen in the area, so please use good fishing ethics.

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     Snake River Large numbers of hatchery steelhead are released in Snake River tributaries and at the base of Hells Canyon Dam. As a result good numbers of adult steelhead are generally available for harvest from October through April. This year is no exception. Anglers without jetboats are limited to a few access points on the Oregon side, one at Hells Canyon Dam and the other at Dug Bar. Dug Bar is accessed by traveling to Imnaha, then north down the Imnaha River. The road is not suitable for passenger cars. Fishing conditions in the Snake River are stable through the winter due to flow management at upstream dams. The river is large and difficult to wade. Most anglers use lures and drift-fishing techniques, or pull plugs behind jet boats. For further information contact the Enterprise District Office at (541) 426-3279 and ask for Brad Smith or Bill Knox. Umatilla River Wild and hatchery summer steelhead enter the Umatilla River in late summer through spring. This year is again expected to offer good angling opportunity with an expected return of 2,800 hatchery and wild fish. Approximately 30 percent of the returning steelhead are expected to be harvestable, hatchery-origin fish. Water conditions generally determine angler success. Bank fishing is generally best when river flow ranges from 300-600 cfs. Drift boaters usually prefer about 800 cfs to traverse shallow areas. Fishing success declines rapidly at flows greater than 1,000 cfs. Visit the following website for up-to-date flow information:  Bank angling access on publicly owned land in the lower river is limited to Steelhead Park and Riverfront Park at the Westland Road Bridge, and Bureau of Reclamation owned lands downstream of Riverfront Park and downstream of Three Mile Dam. Most fishing in the lower river occurs below Three Mile Dam. Upriver fishing is concentrated from Pendleton downstream to Barnhart. Publicly owned access is limited, but The City of Pendleton Parkway provides access to some good fishing holes and several landowners downstream of Pendleton have allowed anglers bank access at several points in past years. Always ask landowner’s for permission. The best fishing in this area typically occurs from March through the mid-April closure. Successful anglers cast flies, spinners and spoons, and drift fish with bait. During low flows many anglers utilize bobbers and bait or jigs. For further information contact Tim Bailey at the Pendleton District Office, (541) 276-2344.

Snake River / Hells Canyon Steelhead Fishing Guides

Steelhead Identification characteristics:

  • Head blunt, jaw short - does not extend past the eye
  • Distinct dark spots on dorsal fin
  • Square-shaped tail fin with radiating pattern of spots
  • Often has reddish stripe along sides, gill cover reddish
  • Length up to 45 inches

Spawn timing:

  • Late March through early June

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

Snake River fall chinook fishery opens Sept. 1
Action: The Snake River will open for fall chinook fishing.
• Area A: From the Highway 12 Bridge (near the mouth of the Snake River) upstream to the no-fishing zone below Ice Harbor Dam; plus
• Area B: From Highway 261 Bridge crossing on the Snake River (approximately one half mile upstream from Lyons Ferry Hatchery) upstream to the no-fishing zone below Little Goose Dam.
Dates: Sept. 1 through Oct.15, 2009.
Species affected: Fall chinook salmon.
Reason for action: Because there are sufficient numbers of upriver bright fall chinook and wild Snake River fall chinook returning to the Columbia River, a fishery can open on the lower Snake River. Therefore, a limited fall chinook fishery for marked hatchery adult chinook, and both marked and unmarked chinook jacks (less than 24 inches) will open Sept. 1. This 2009 fishery includes changes from last year's fishery for adult hatchery fall chinook near Little Goose Dam.
Other Information: Fishing will be open seven days per week. Night closure is in effect for all species within the identified boundaries of the fishery. The total salmon daily limit will be two marked hatchery (adipose clipped) adult fall chinook (24 inches or greater), plus four jack chinook under 24 inches (either hatchery or wild), except along the "wall" and walkway area upstream of the juvenile fish bypass return pipe (below Little Goose Dam) where the daily limit will be one hatchery adult chinook and up to two jack chinook. Anglers are reminded that they must stop fishing for salmon once the daily limit of adult salmon has been retained. Anglers within the designated one adult hatchery chinook area must stop fishing for salmon in this designated area once the daily limit of one adult hatchery salmon has been retained.
Hatchery salmon have a clipped adipose fin and a healed scar at the location of the missing fin. Adult chinook or steelhead with unclipped adipose fins must be immediately released unharmed. Anglers must use barbless hooks when fishing for chinook or steelhead in the Snake River.
Anglers cannot remove any chinook or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit. Anglers should ensure they identify their catch because unmarked returning chinook salmon, coho salmon and unmarked steelhead are in the Snake River during this fishery. Anglers should refer to the 2009/2010 Fishing in Washington sport fishing rules pamphlet for other regulations, including possession limits and safety closures. Angler catch rates will be monitored closely and Snake River salmon fisheries may close before Oct. 15 if the allowable limits for impacts on wild fish are reached.

James Harvey & Mike Weise
Tag teamed this beauty at McNarry

Mike Weise
Nice McNary Steelhead Nov 2008

JB Guided Fishing
Trips are the Columbia's best!

Jeff Knotts is known as JB to his river clients and is the proud owner of JB Guides. JB Guide Service is dedicated to delivering the best fishing experience on the Columbia River! We will Hook You Up! JB Guide Service can hook you up, whether its soaking up the rays and listening to nature, or finding the best fishing opportunities from Priest Rapids Dam down to Bonneville Dam, including Hanford Reach, Snake River, McNary Dam and other tributaries of the mid-Columbia region.

Experienced Guide Service!
JB has 20 years of river fishing experience and knows where to find what you're looking for! JB will hook you up!

JB Guides Snake River Fishing Guide Service

SNAKE RIVER (Above Brownlee Reservoir): channel catfish, flathead catfish, smallmouth bass

Flows at the Nyssa gauge averaged 7,969 on Nov. 8. Flows at the Weiser gauge averaged 10,935 on Nov. 8. Flows at both gauges remain slightly above flows observed last year at this time and both are trending downward. Angling for smallmouth bass and catfish is slow.

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