Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Salmon fishing opened to Ellis

IDFG put out a news release this afternoon announcing that the chinook salmon fishing area has been extended from The East Fork all the way down river to near Ellis (AKA: The Pahsimeroi).  Here is the full text of the release as found via Twitter:

Idaho Fish and Game has opened another section of the upper Salmon River to Chinook salmon fishing.  The Ellis area is now open from the posted boundary about 100 years upstream of the mouth of the Pahsimeroi River upstream to the Highway 75 Salmon River bridge about 250 yards upstream of the mouth of the East Fork Salmon River.  The Stanley area of the upper Salmon opened June 23. Both areas remain open until further notice. -  IDFG News

We've called both the Salmon Region Office and the Director's Office to attempt to determine if the harvest target has been raised.  We've heard a rumor that the target might be raised to perhaps 2200 fish instead of the 900-1000 range thought to be the current target.  One of our sources said that concentrated fishing pressure above the East Fork might have played a role in extending the fishable area.  Supposedly, as the story goes, there's only 4-5 good holes between East Fork and the Sawtooth Hatchery.  By opening a longer reach of river, the fishing pressure will be spread out of a much larger area.

The bulk of the East Fork to Ellis area is ideal for drift boat fishing.  There's is a rough spot near an irrigation diversion between Bayhorse and Challis.  We ginned up some screen shots to highlight this hazard.  We will eventually move them to a separate article but, in the meantime, here they are with comments below each of the four screen shots.
Here's a Google Earth view looking downstream.  Point #1 is a bridge located at Hwy 75 Milepost 238.75. The troublesome irrigation diversion is not quite a mile downstream.
Here's a close up from Google Maps of the irrigation diversion.  Point #1 is a boater's "point of decision.  If you wind up going down the river right intake flow, you're in for a rough ride over a pseudo spillway (Point #2)  near the canal intake gate.  Getting far enough left to make the left run around the diversion rubble requires some advance preparations.  Point #3 marks the beginning of a lot of large rocks that litter the river channel.  Many of them have been washed downstream from prior attempts to create a instream diversion structure.

Here's a larger overview showing the Bayhorse (Point #1) and Challis Bridge (Point #3) RAPs.  Point #2 is the irrigation diversion.

If you are in a small, or relatively small watercraft, you can take out on river right just below the Hwy 75 bridge at Milepost 238.75.  It's marked by the red X in the screen shot.  It's small, steep and has poor footing but it could sure beat having to navigate the gauntlet of hazards waiting not far downstream.

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