The Lemhi River flows 56 miles from
the confluence of Texas and Eighteen-mile creeks to the Salmon River at river
mile 258.5 at the city of Salmon. The river drains approximately 1,290 square
miles and flows through a broad valley of fertile agricultural land between the
Bitterroot and Lemhi mountain ranges. The valley includes more than 25,000 acres
of land irrigated for hay production and grazing. The principal form of irrigation
is flooding from an extensive system of ditches. All major ditches are screened
and have bypass systems to prevent fish losses. The river is overappropriated
for irrigation and is dewatered in the lower reach during low flow years which
impedes adult and juvenile salmon and steelhead migration.
valves, south of Salmon.
The drainage supports runs of both
salmon and steelhead. The amount of spawning habitat has been reduced by stream
alterations but is still significant, particularly in the upper reaches.
Native resident trout include rainbow,
cutthroat, and bull trout. Brook trout are present in limited numbers.
Written and compiled by Jacqueline