Clearwater River Fishing Report

If you like to fish for steelhead, and the Clearwater is best known for them, then you already know your ABC’s. Steelheads are classified as A-run or B-run fish depending on their size, spawning habits and time spent in the ocean. More precisely, they are rainbow trout that venture to the Pacific and back to fresh water. A-runs typically appear in Idaho early in the season, from June through August, most often spend only one year in salt water, and return to the Snake and Salmon Rivers.  B-runs usually return to the Clearwater River although some do migrate to the Salmon. Because B-runs spend at least 2 years in the ocean they tend to be much larger, weighing in at 10-13 pounds and 31-34 inches long, compared with the A-runs that register around 4-6 pounds and are generally only 23-26 inches long.
 
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Not surprisingly, the fly fishing seasons on the River are divided according to the A and B runs, and while the A’s tend to be smaller they are reputed to be aggressive and capable of putting up a hard, long fight. For those in pursuit of larger quarry, you’ll have to move upstream along with the fish throughout their season. Because Clearwater B-Run steelhead are the largest in the lower 48, anglers are happy to make this trek, coming from around the globe to try their luck and test their fly fishing acumen. As the river winds its way from coniferous forests to scrappy desert, the water mysteriously manages to remain clear, rarely affected by erosion or runoff, making it stable and highly predictable and thus easier to master after repeated visits. 
 

The town of Orofino is a great base for fishing the Clearwater with a nice selection of hotels, motels, ranches, lodges and neighboring campgrounds for anyone who desires a genuine, outdoor experience. Just across the river is the Dworskak Reservoir where there’s great fishing for kokanee, bass and other trout. Water sports are welcome within the Reservoir where you can jet ski, rent a power-boat or take out a quiet floater, canoe or kayak. Winter sports include skiing, hunting and snowmobiling, all within a short distance of downtown.

Things to Know
  • The Clearwater River in north-central Idaho is renowned for outstanding fishing for B-run steelhead and chinook salmon, and to a lesser extent, native cutthroat trout in the summer. In the fall, the steelhead season kicks in with catch-and-release fishing in September, and then catch-and-keep from October to the end of April. B-run steelhead in the Clearwater average 12-14 pounds, but many of them go higher, in the 20-pound range.
  • During May and September, when the weather is cooler, dress warmly or in layers. It is always cooler in the morning.
  • During the warmer months, June through mid-September, the typical attire is shorts, t-shirts and sports sandals.
  • Bring along water, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • Be prepared to get wet and dress according to your comfort level.
  • Wear clothes that dry quickly and perhaps steer away from denim pants or shorts and leather footwear.
  • Life jackets are provided on outfitted trips.
 
Featured Fishing Trips
Guided Fishing Trips
$
500
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
1 day
Clearwater River Company offers a top quality service and we are the #1 recommended Spey/Fly Guide Service on the river. It's easy for others to claim they're the best, LET US PROVE ... moreIT! We are your Spey and Fly Fishing specialists.

All of our trips include a full day on the water, rods, reels, flies and a great lunch. All trips are taken on clean, quite, comfortable drift boats. We let our clients WALK-N-WADE!!! We have the vehicle shuttle ran while we're on the water, so there is never any time wasted moving vehicles.

All of our steelhead fishing guides are full-time professionals with years of experience on the Clearwater. Our Spey guides will meet each client's needs and exceed expectations. Clearwater River Company has some of the best Spey Guides on the river.
$
500
/ Boat
Capacity:
1 - 2 anglers
Days:
Daily
Duration:
1 day
Enjoy a day trip on the Clearwater river in Montana with God's Country Outfitters. Our float trips take place in a raft or drift boat and we will help you select the right bug and ... morefind the best water to get fiesty rainbows and browns to rise. Both beginning and experienced anglers will enjoy fishing with our knowledgeable and friendly guides. Book your Montana fishing adventure today!
Additional Information
Tributaries:
The Clearwater River is a tributary of the Snake River and South, Middle and North Fork of the Clearwater
Source:
Middle Fork of Clearwater River and confluence of the Selway and Lochsa Rivers
Mouth:
Snake River
Length:
74.8 miles
Basin:
9,645 sq miles
Seasonal Conditions
Season
Hatches
SpringSculpin, Midge, Baitfish
SummerBlack Winged Olive, Giant Salmonfly, Spotted Caddis, Pale Morning Dun, Golden Stone, Ant, Beetle, Green Caddis, Yellow Sally
FallMidge, Sculpin, Baitfish, Black Winged Olive, Caddis, Bettle, Ant, Hooper, Green Caddis, Yellow Sally and October Caddis
Latest Guide Fishing Reports
Guide Reports
The river has been running below typical levels and this has required our guides to use stealth-tactics. Most anglers have been focusing their efforts downstream of Orofino, but there ... moreare fish throughout the entire system. Despite the low water, the catching has been really good. We've caught some really large fish over the past week. The B-runs are here! Most fish are being caught in deeper slots and in the heads of the runs. The gin clear water forces the fish to hold in deep water or under surface chop for cover.

Fly anglers swinging found success using smaller/sparse patterns on full floating lines. Clients have even been picking up a hand full of salmon on the fly, which can be a pretty exciting experience!

Gear anglers using Blue Pirate, Bubble Gum Pink and Green Pirates plugs, diver \ shrimp and Bobber \ Jig have been the top producers. Side drifting has also been productive, but only in selective runs.
Fishing Water Report:
Date:
Sunday, 18 Oct, 2015
Fishing Trips
  • Expert Guide
Clearwater River Company offers a top quality service and we are the #1 recommended Spey/Fly Guide Service on the river. It's easy for others to claim they're the best, LET US PROVE ... moreIT! We are your Spey and Fly Fishing specialists.

All of our trips include a full day on the water, rods, reels, flies and a great lunch. All trips are taken on clean, quite, comfortable drift boats. We let our clients WALK-N-WADE!!! We have the vehicle shuttle ran while we're on the water, so there is never any time wasted moving vehicles.

All of our steelhead fishing guides are full-time professionals with years of experience on the Clearwater. Our Spey guides will meet each client's needs and exceed expectations. Clearwater River Company has some of the best Spey Guides on the river.
  • Experienced guide
Enjoy a day trip on the Clearwater river in Montana with God's Country Outfitters. Our float trips take place in a raft or drift boat and we will help you select the right bug and ... morefind the best water to get fiesty rainbows and browns to rise. Both beginning and experienced anglers will enjoy fishing with our knowledgeable and friendly guides. Book your Montana fishing adventure today!
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