Last Chance for Clearwater Springers

By: Toby Wyatt

We are at the tail end of the springer run, but most likely we are going to have one good weekend in Orofino (this weekend) and one good weekend in Kooskia (next weekend) and then it will be over. We have two good weekends of springer fishing left on the Clearwater in Idaho. However, after that there will be some opportunity to catch springers on the Salmon River.

All in all, considering all the doom and glooms we’ve been getting for what seems like forever now it’s been a pretty good springer run. We had a 1,700 fish quota on the Clearwater and fishing has been good. I’m pretty happy. Every time we’ve gone fishing with clients we’ve limited. You can’t complain about that. With that said every one knows the run is petering out. The numbers of springers coming in are less, but there are fish coming through daily still. There are still fresh ones entering the system, but not in the big huge numbers.

The Clearwater remains open Thursday through Sunday. The limit is one per angler, per day. Once you catch your springer, you’re done. The average springer has been about 12 pounds this season, but we’ve seen them caught to 27 pounds. Larger fish are available.


This weekend we’ll be fishing the Orofino area. There’s a hatchery in Orofino and the fish are going to stack around it. We’ll be targeting that area with Red Fire Cure eggs and Blue Fire Dye herring. Eggs have been working well, but it’s been tough to fish with eggs this year because the trash fish eat them so quickly. However, we started using Blue Fire Brine/Fire Dye herring and started crushing them. Blue seems to be my go-to color right now. It’s been working better than chartreuse, but some of the guys are running chartreuse and catching them, too.

Most of the fish are in travel lanes. Once you find the travel lane focus on the seams. When fishing the seams we use divers. On the other hand, in some of the deeper holes we’ve been back bouncing the herring or hover fishing with lead. We are trying to pick them off as they go by.

Most likely they are going to close Orofino after this weekend, but they’ll leave Kooskia open. They tend to close the river in sections. Every time they close a section we move upriver. We’ll use the same bait and same techniques up river.

Editor’s Note: Please check with Idaho Fish & Game for updated regulations. They can change frequently due to conditions. Toby Wyatt operates Reel Time Fishing. For more info on his guide Clearwater River springer trips please visit