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Idaho Steelhead Day 2- Salmon River Steelhead in January

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

Hammer Down River Excursions

Dylan McGregor with a beautiful wild Salmon River Steelhead.

Day two of our Idaho Steelhead adventure took us to the town of White Bird, Idaho on the Salmon River for a steelhead trip with Hammer Down River Excursions. The Salmon River gets a good run of steelhead, although not the size and numbers of the Clearwater. It was a great opportunity to fish a remote part of Idaho, for steelhead that have traveled over 500 miles to get there.

Our crew today was Chris Shaffer, National Sales Manager of Pautzke baits, George Csoban, Chris’ cousin from Long Island NY, and Captain John Albrich from Lewiston Idaho. We met up with Guide Dylan McGregor of Hammer Down River Excursions, had a quick breakfast and headed for the river. We headed down river in “The Sled” - a 24 foot Jet boat. You can link here for more info on the boat.

Pautzke Coon Shrimp Cure

Coon Shrimp cured with Pautzke Fire Brine, Fire Cure, Nectar and Liquid Krill

Today we were drifting coon shrimp with a corkie. Dylan used a combination of Pautzke Fire Brine, Fire Cure, Nectar and Liquid Krill to brine the coon shrimp. The color and texture of the shrimp were perfect for the river conditions we would be fishing today.

We had a slow start to the day, but Big George finally got us on the board with a small but beautiful Salmon River Hatchery Steelhead.

Salmon River Idaho Steelhead

Big George with the first fish of the day.

Dylan landed the next fish, a beautiful wild steelhead that we released back into the river.

Salmon River Idaho Steelhead

Dylan got the fish of the day!

I hooked and lost two fish by 1:00. The first one was a small hatchery fish, but the second was a stud wild Salmon River Steelhead. When the barbless hooks pulled out before we could get it into the net I was disappointed to say the least. I really wanted to land a steelhead from this beautiful river, but it was not looking good.

After I lost my fish, we pulled over for a shore lunch of beef stew, homemade biscuits and an apple crisp. I swear it tasted like a five star meal on this cold day.

Salmon River Idaho

Shore lunch on the river

It was getting late but we really wanted one more fish. We fished hard for the next two hours with nothing. Finally Chris had to pull the plug and tell Dylan we had to go. We were just getting ready to pack up, and Dylan said. “Lets try one more spot before we go.” We motored up the river about 1/2 mile and situated the boat for a drift. On my first cast, I felt the tap tap tap of of a steelhead bite. I held off setting the hook because I had lost my two earlier fish and wanted to get a good hook set in this one. The tap became a tug and I set the hook on a beautiful salmon river hatchery steelhead. After a brief fight we had the fish in the net. I have never been so excited about such a small steelhead! I worked 8 hours to get this fish and I was stoked to have finally landed a steelhead on the beautiful Salmon River.

Small but Mighty - My first Salmon River Steelhead!

It was another great day of fishing for Idaho Steelhead and I will definitely make this trip again.

Big Thanks to Dylan McGregor and Hammer Down River Excursions for working hard for us to get our fish, and thanks to Chris Shaffer of Pautzke for putting this trip together.

Thanks for reading



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