Fresh Water, Salt Water
Coho salmon, also known as "silver salmon," are anadromous fish. That means they are born in freshwater, migrate to saltwater, and return to freshwater to spawn. Adult coho range from 8-12 pounds. They are a bright silver color in the ocean, but turn red when spawning. Upper and lower jaws become "hooked" as Coho approach spawning. Sharp teeth appear on tongue and roof of mouth. Spotting on tail fin is limited to the upper half. Coho have black mouths and white gums.
Coho spawn in October and November. Males and females die after spawning. The fry usually hatch out in March or April. Coho generally spend at least one year in fresh water before migrating to the ocean. They will generally return to their freshwater spawning grounds as three year olds, with a few waiting one more year.
Young Coho are voracious feeders focusing on plankton and aquatic insects in fresh water. Once they reach salt water they turn to a diet of fish. Adults returning to fresh water do not feed actively.
It is illegal to harvest Coho in Idaho. The Coho in the Clearwater River Drainage are the result of a reintroduction effort by the Nez Perce Tribe in cooperation with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. To date the program has not produced enough returning adults to justify a season. Because this is a reintroduced run of fish, it is not listed under the Endangered Species Act.
The Klickitat River, located in south-central Washington, flows generally south from its origin on Mt. Adams in the high country of the Yamaka Indian Reservation to its confluence ... morewith the Columbia River in the Columbia River Gorge. The designated segment is the lowermost 10.8 miles of the river. At the upper end of this segment, the river flows through a broad canyon. As it drops toward the Columbia at a steady gradient of 26 feet per mile, the canyon tightens and small rapids spike the channel.
At about river mile 2.5, the Klickitat drops into a tight, rock-walled gorge. The water cascades and crashes through the rocky channel where the tribes and bands of the Yamaka Nation have used dip-net fishing continuously for generations to catch salmon and steelhead. Of the mid-Columbia tributaries, the Klickitat is one of the favored fishing sites, due to both the number of fish and the narrow canyon with its high water volume.
In addition to the river's outstanding hydrology, the geology of the gorge between river mile 1.1 and 2.5, and the dip-net fishing sites, the river is also the most significant anadromous fishery on the Washington side of the Columbia in the stretch from Bonneville Dam to the Snake River. It supports steelhead trout, Chinook salmon and coho salmon, with six distinct runs.
The lower Klickitat offers a variety of recreation opportunities, including boating, fishing, hiking, camping and sightseeing. Boat fishing is popular when the salmon and steelhead are running. There is an undeveloped boat put-in/take-out on Klickitat County Park land just below the Pitt bridge, and river access at several places along Highway 142, including a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fee camp site. The take-out is before the fish screw trap at about river mile 5, just above the Klickitat canyon gorge. Ongoing construction of the fish bypass at the top of Lyle Falls requires boaters to take out at this point. The falls also marks the beginning of the tribal in-lieu fishing sites and no boating is allowed through this area.
The only permits required are from commercial outfitters; existing commercial outfitters include beginning kayak schools and fishing guides.
The Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railroad built a railway linking Lyle and Goldendale in 1903. This branch line was abandoned in 1992 and is now the Klickitat Rails-to-Trail. The trail parallels the river's east bank from the Columbia River to Fisher Hill Bridge, where it crosses to the west bank and continues to the town of Pitt. It crosses Highway 142 and continues along the west bank leaving the wild and scenic river portion and continues for many miles upriver.
More than a river, the Klamath is part of a regional watershed that includes three of its principal tributaries – Wooley Creek, Scott River and the Salmon River. It is one of only ... morethree rivers that bisect the Cascade Mountain Range, traversing a wide range of topography from high desert to coastal rain forest. Beginning approximately three-quarters of a mile below the Iron Gate Dam, the river runs through until it reaches the Pacific Ocean. Administration of the river is split. The upper, 127 miles are managed by the US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management. The State of California, in concert with the National Park Service and various Native American tribes, manage the remainder. All of its tributaries, except a small portion of the Scott are under the purview of the US Forest Service.
The most notable characteristic of the Klamath is its variety of androgynous fish, supported by the river throughout most of their in-river life stages. These species include Chinook salmon (spring and fall runs) coho salmon, steelhead trout (summer and winter runs) coastal cutthroat trout, green and white sturgeon and Pacific lamprey. The river is also home to a genetically unique population of rainbow trout that have adapted to river’s high temperatures and acidity.
Considered by ecologists to be important to the area’s bio-diversity, the Southern Oregon and Northern California Coast coho are federally listed as endangered species and the Klamath River is a designated, critical habitat. This habitat also provides a home for other endangered fish including Lost River and short-nose suckers. Despite this designation, the river supports a thriving sports fishing industry as well as myriad other uses including white water rafting, birding, hiking and camping.
The Rogue River begins near Crater Lake and flows 215 miles through the mountains and valleys of southwest Oregon emptying into the Pacific Ocean at the town of Gold Beach. Rushing ... morefrom the Cascade Range, the river glides into the Rogue Valley floor, drifting peacefully past cities and towns and agricultural lands. The Wild and Scenic River designation begins west of the city of Grants Pass where the Applegate River flows into the Rogue River. The river turns north, flowing through the scenic Hellgate Canyon, and then bends sharply west at Grave Creek, where the Wild Section of the Rogue River begins. Here the powerful river cuts through the rugged terrain of the northern edge of the Klamath Mountains. The river churns through the steep rock walls of Mule Creek Canyon and the boulder-strewn Blossom Bar Rapids before slowing in Huggins Canyon and Clayhill Stillwater. Below the town of Agness, the Rogue and Illinois Rivers join and flow through picturesque Copper Canyon. Below Copper Canyon, the river widens and slows, with the Wild and Scenic designation ending where Lobster Creek enters the Rogue River.
Flowing through time, the Rogue River has nurtured those who have come to its lush banks. The earliest inhabitants were Indians who lived a life of hunting, fishing, and gathering. Various Indian tribes made their homes and found sustenance along the Rogue River for over 9,000 years before Euro-Americans arrived. In the 1850s, miners poured into the Rogue Valley and Indians awoke to the coarse cry of “Gold!” which, with startling immediacy, signaled an end to a way of life Indians had known for thousands of years. The boatmen of the early- to mid-1900s, whose daring and perseverance established dominance over the wild waters of the river, were responsible for opening these waters to the guide-fishing industry and whitewater boating that has become so economically vital to southwest Oregon today.
The Rogue River was one of the original eight rivers included in the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. With its famous steelhead and salmon fishing, challenging whitewater, and extraordinary wildlife-viewing opportunities, the Rogue River continues to be one of the world’s most popular recreation destinations. The 34-mile Wild section features predominantly Class III (or less) rapids, and includes thundering Rainie Falls (Class V) and breathtaking rapids at Mule Creek Canyon (Class III) and Blossom Bar (Class IV).
Within the Idaho borders, the most recognized section of the Snake River for fly fishing is commonly referred to as the South Fork, a 66-mile stretch that starts below the Palisades ... moreDam and flows through stark canyons, looming valleys and broad flood plains until it reaches Henry’s Fork near Menan Buttes. Ranked as the one of the most productive Blue Ribbon Rivers in the US, its last census counted over 5000 fish per mile. Since 1985, the River has been included in the nation’s Wild and Scenic River System, boding well for its preservation and future.
Home to the largest riparian cottonwood gallery forest in the West, it is considered by naturalists to be among the most diverse ecosystems in Idaho. In addition to the cottonwoods, it is also home to over 120 avian species, including raptors, songbirds, shorebirds and game birds, earning it a distinctive “National Important Bird Area” designation. Outside of Yellowstone National Park, the South Fork corridor also contains the country’s largest native cutthroat fishery and an extensive population of other wildlife including moose, deer, elk, mountain goats, mountain lions, black bears, bobcats, coyotes, river otter, beaver, fox and mink.
Famous for its large summer stoneflies, with Salmon flies often reaching 3 inches in length, the best dry fly fishing is during the months of July and August. The hatches in the first half of July are so prolific that fish readily come to the surface in great numbers to seize the appetizing display. By the first week of August many fish have already been caught and released and become more hesitant to bite. At this point experts suggest employing emerger and cripple patterns, especially if the fish are feeding in the South Fork’s riffles and back channels. Lodging and guided trips are widely available.
Averill Harriman, then Chairman of the Union Pacific (UP) Railroad, returned from Europe in 1935 impressed by the spread of luxurious ski resorts throughout the Austrian, Swiss and ... moreFrench Alps. Anxious to expand markets for his own trains, he set out to build American’s first high-end ski area near an existing UP railhead and hired Count Schaffgotsch, a famed Austrian skier, to scout the ideal location. The Count recommended Sun Valley as the perfect site, but there was a problem – the season was short, running only from December through April. In an effort to create an all year playground, Harriman invited Ernest Hemingway to hunt and fish from his lodge. Hemmingway loved it, wrote about it and encouraged his friends to join him and his son Jack as they hunted and fished along Silver Creek. Harriman’s Introduction of Hemingway to the environs succeeded, firmly establishing the valley’s reputation as a sportsman’s paradise.
In the early 1960’s the property was sold to a developer, and fortunately for fishing enthusiasts, the surrounding area including Silver Creek, was part of the transaction. When the property was again for sale in the mid 1970’s, Jack Hemingway stepped in and helped facilitate the purchase of the land by the Nature Conservancy, permanently insuring its preservation. Silver Creek is an ecological anomaly as it is part of a high-desert, cold spring system formed from underground aquifers and unlike typical freestone rivers, tends to maintain consistent temperature and water levels. These consistent conditions yield rich nutrients and provide model waters for trout to live in and thrive. Browns typically range from 14-16 inches although 17-20 inchers are not uncommon. Rainbows found in backwater sloughs can range from 22-24 inches. The creek is approximately 70% rainbow, 30% brown.
Several smaller feeder creeks with clean, gravel stream bottoms provide the breeding grounds for Silver Creek. Despite the fact that the browns and rainbows found today in Silver Creek are not indigenous, they have flourished and the Creek has not been re-stocked since the 1975. Ironically, native cutthroat trout are no longer present in the Creek, although the river continues to support a variety of other wildlife including songbirds, shorebirds, cranes, bald and golden eagles, mule deer, elk, coyotes and a rare mountain lion.
Jackson is the ideal hub for exploring the Snake River, a surging, full spirited river that provides a direct connection between Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National ... morePark. The setting is breathtakingly beautiful – jagged peaks jutting into the sky while the river and its maze of channels and tributaries “snake” their way through the verdant, lush valley. Important to early explorers seeking passage west, the Pacific and Atlantic Creeks reach the Continental Divide at Two Ocean Pass near Jackson and part ways. The Atlantic Creek turns east, merges into the Yellowstone River and eventually flows into the Missouri while the Pacific Creek turns west and merges into the Snake, becoming the largest tributary of the Columbia, eventually reaching the ocean.
Known for its own unique trout, the Snake River finespotted cutthroat can only be found in the waters around the Jackson Hole valley. Considered by experts to have once been the only trout species in the Western interior, it has evolved into 14 different subspecies. To this day, its native range is limited to the upper Snake from Heart Lake to the Palisades Reservoir. Despite the finespotted’s hearty, undiscerning appetite and a seeming willingness to eat just about anything, experienced anglers view this fish as the most aggressive, hardest fighting trout to snare. As a result, when you catch one you earn major bragging rights.
The most heavily fished areas of the Snake’s run through western Wyoming are the 35 miles in the park between Jackson Dam and the 17 remaining miles flowing through Jackson Hole. This section of the river is ranked as one of the best dry-fly streams in the West. Snake enthusiasts recommend floating the river although newcomers are advised to only go with a guide and veterans are reminded to exercise caution, as the water can be turbulent and unpredictable. Should you decide to wade, be mindful of swift currents along undercut banks and stick to quiet, shallow river sections and side channels. Great stream fishing can be found at Gros Ventre River and Flat Creek.