The picture left is of Hunt Nation’s founder Butch Manasse, with a big sea run winter steelhead caught with this excellent operation. Butch and some buddies have fished a number of times with them, floating on a portion of the Clearwater River in Idaho. Typically, they land 8 to 15 steelhead per day, but one memorable day Butch landed 9 by himself and lost several others! You can expect to actually land 2 to 4 per man as the norm; but expect many bites and a number of lost fish due to their sheer size and explosive power, plus the strong currents of the river. Sizes vary with timing of the various runs, but a typical trout will be 6 to 12 pounds, with big fish going 14 to 18 pounds! You can keep only hatchery spawned fish, and all wild fish must be released. The season for catch and keep starts around October 15th. Prior to that it is an all-release fishery, but plenty of action!
The Clearwater is highly regarded as one of the best Steelhead rivers in the world, being famous for the size of their B-run Steelhead trout, which average 10 to 12 pounds and routinely 14 -15 pounders are landed! Really good days are 12 to20 or more fish on!! They will fish out of Lewiston, Idaho; Clarkston, Washington; Orofino, Idaho; Kamiah, Idaho; Kooskia, Idaho. Locations are chosen to hit maximum fish concentrations.
All fish have swam into Idaho from the Pacific Ocean, and they are muscular and determined to survive and spawn in the river. Hook one and you are in for a battle! Some returning fish will be fish that were naturally spawned and survived to go into the ocean and grow to these big sizes. Others will be fin clipped fish that were raised in the hatchery to fingerling size, then released to go to the ocean and eventually return 2 to 4 years later. You can only keep fin clipped fish. Usually it is the adipose fin on the top lower back that’s cut.
Steelhead are fished in the fall, during the winter and in the spring. Most of the time you will be fishing with salmon roe, treated with a variety of secret formulas, and then rigged to stay on the hook. But a fly fisherman will be happily accommodated if agreeable with the rest of the party; or you can charter the whole boat. Our preference is to have no more than 3 to 4 people on board, and we try to keep the boat to ourselves, even chartering with only 2 guys. But you can also go solo and you will be added to the boat.
The river is a kick to fish on their jet boats (they have several). You will go rocketing up some boiling rapids in a foot of water, then float back down doing what is called side drifting. Side drifting means that your guide will keep the auxiliary motor running at the correct speed to allow the boat to slide downstream at just the right speed to allow your line to be cast toward shore, and then you and the bait both drift along at the same speed as the current. You may feel anything from a light tap to a hard rip, or to be fast to a rock or snag – it is all part of the game. Getting the “feel” for what to expect is the art, but even most novices will hang on to a couple fish a day; plus the guide will hand off any fish he hooks up with.
Fishing on this section in late May through July is absolutely amazing. The bass use the Grande Ronde as their spawning grounds in the spring. On a good day catches of over 100 smallies are not uncommon. Most of the fish average 12″ to 16″ with your 18″ to 20″ being caught once or twice a day. In late June and early July the fly fishing will kick on. Whatever style you prefer the Grande Ronde River smallmouth bass Fishing is world class.
STURGEON: Sturgeon can reach to over 13 feet long! The sturgeon is one of the largest fresh water fish on the planet. Because of their magnificent size and sheer brute strength, they were voted by In-Fisherman Magazine as one of the top ten fish to catch in the world!
This outfitter offers two types of sturgeon trips. The first is a catch and release trip on the Snake River. You will see Hell’s Canyon with its spectacular scenery and plenty of wildlife to spot while you are waiting for your next bite. The Snake River fishery is productive, averaging 5 oversized 6- to 10-foot fish per day. Their second trip is a catch and keep trip on the Columbia River below John Day Dam. This fishery takes place in early January and can produce some very fine keeper sized fish. When the water conditions are right, their expert sturgeon guides can get you onto some fun and exciting action.
WALLEYE: Walleye fishing is offered year round, BUT BEST is early spring through late summer. They operate boats on the Snake and Columbia Rivers for this fishery. Both of these rivers are chocked full of walleye ranging in size from 1 to 10 pounds. Walleye spawn in the spring and fall and can be found in shallow flats during that time. In the summer they can be found in deeper water near points of sharp ledges and bars. Walleye have better vision under low light conditions, making early mornings or late evenings best for fishing, or overcast skies or during windy conditions where sunlight through the water column is obscured. They offer guided walleye fishing service in Lewiston ID, Clarkston WA, Lyons Ferry WA, Richland WA, Pasco WA, Kennewick WA, Umatilla OR, Biggs Junction OR, Dalles OR, Cascade Locks OR, Portland OR and Maryhill State Park WA. Contact Hunt Nation for more details.
2024 PRICES: (subject to change without notice until deposit received)
All trips are $280/day per person.
Lodging option recommendations:
Lewiston ID/ Clarkston WA
Hells Canyon Grand Motel
Best Western Plus The Inn at Hells Canyon
Holiday Inn Lewiston
Holiday Inn Clarkston
Best Western Lodge at River’s Edge
For meals the trips include a hot lunch and there are wonderful restaurants available in Lewiston and Clarkston for dinner.
They also have some Exclusive Lodging Options. Call for details.
HUNT-NATION – WE ARE YOUR OUTDOOR ADVENTURE SPECIALISTS
307-637-5495; [email protected]; www.hunt-nation.com