Thursday, March 7, 2013

Deadwater's Last Day

Editor's Note:  We received word from Tam Ambrose of The Village At North Fork Friday morning that the Deadwater Ice Jam is "officially out today."  

Later Friday, we received this note from a close observer of steelhead fishing conditions: "There are people fishing the tail out of Deadwater already, and while there are still some large ice blocks floating through, there is a open channel through its entire length and it should not impede fish passage upstream any longer."

The narrative below the dashed line was posted Thursday when the last small ice bridge still existed.  

Let the Spring Steelhead Season begin its full swing!  

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The Deadwater Ice Jam is skating on thin ice.  As of late Wednesday, observers noted a small ice bridge remaining at Deadwater.  IDFG Staff will be checking the area again Thursday.  Below are the latest photos we received as of Tuesday, March 5th.  Even though the weather turned a wee bit cooler on Wednesday, there has been enough thermal gain in both the water and ice mass over the past few days to portend the final break up of the Deadwater Jam, possibly today.

Due to the manner in which the Deadwater Ice Jam has evolved this year, the river's water quality might not be as muddy for as long as normal. The typical turbidity encountered during and following the Deadwater break up is often caused by large ice chunks hitting the bottom of the river.  It may be this year that the bulk of the ice chunks and slabs have already passed downstream.  One observer noted that the river yesterday appeared surprisingly clear already.

The break-up of the Deadwater Ice Jam is notable because it generally marks the beginning of the maximum spring steelhead season fishing pressure each year.  Observers expect the most fishing pressure in the North Fork region to occur between March 8 and 23rd.  Fishing pressure in the Ellis area normally peaks in late March to early April.

We are Thankful to IDFG's Salmon Region Wildlife Technician Caryll McConnell for these photos taken March 5.  Labels are below each photo.


A view of the general vicinity of Dump Creek.
Looking upriver from the USFS Deadwater area March 5.
The Deadwater boat ramp March 5.

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