Historical Site - Lewiston, Clarkston Valley

The Lewiston, Clarkston Valley is considered an outdoorsman's paradise, surrounded by rugged hills and the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater River.  These two rivers meet between the towns of Clarkston, Washington and Lewiston, Idaho. Traveling west on Highway 12 the ever popular Clearwater River meanders alongside the highway providing spectacular views and a changing landscape.

The Northwest and particularly this part of the country was discovered by an expedition led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in 1805.  The journey began in St. Louis Missouri, in May 1804. This expedition turned out to be a major turning point for the United States as land west of St. Louis had been discovered and details of landmarks, hills, and most importantly rivers were logged in a journal.

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Much of the journey the party used rivers like the Missouri as their highway to get them into the western landscape. Their travels led them through the Mid-Western parts known as Kansas City, Missouri, (present day). The group made their way through land occupied by Native Americans and were able to develop relationships with many of the tribes along their way. The Native Americans, played a pivotal role in the success of the expedition by helping with food, clothing, and providing general supplies along with knowledge of the land. Without their assistance, the journey might have ended.

Image from - http://www.mrb-lewisandclarkcenter.org/pages/Native-American-Connection.html

One of the most important Native Americans that Lewis and Clark met on the trip was a Shoshone tribe member named Sacajawea. The group members could have never realized  how important Sacajawea, would turn out to be when she agreed to join the party. Sacajawea, became an integral part of the expedition. She was able to help navigate land, locate food, and most importantly build the relationship between Lewis and Clark and the Native Americans.

As Lewis and Clark, led the expedition further into the west they followed the Missouri River to the headwaters where they began their trek over the continental divide. After crossing the Continental Divide in September 1805 the party soon reached the historic Lolo Trail, which is located in what is known today as the Great State of Montana. Lewis and Clark would make a treacherous climb that took them over the top of Lolo pass and eventually to the other side where they first made contact with the Nez Perce Tribe.

Sacajawea, was able to again help establish relationships between the tribe members and the members of the expedition.  The Nez Perce Tribe was truly a formidable piece to the journey as they were able to replenish the famished party with fresh Salmon from the Clearwater River.

The Nez Perce Tribe, also showed the members of the expedition how to form canoes out of  large Ponderosa Pines that blanketed the banks of the Clearwater River and pointed Lewis and Clark in the right direction toward the Columbia River. Their guidance eventually lead them to the mouth of the Columbia where it enters in to the Pacific ocean known today as Astoria Oregon.  Astoria, most famous for the Buoy 10 fishery is considered one of the premier salmon fisheries in the United States. In the months of August and September, our Stott's fishing team can be seen fishing our clients for the abundant Fall Chinook.

The Nezperce, tribe over the years have played a critical role in preserving and enhancing the resources of the Clearwater River with their Salmon and Steelhead fish hatchery programs. Fish conservation practices performed by the Nez Perce Indian fish hatchery program, along with state and local entities have made the Clearwater River fishery one of the best in the United States, if not the world. We at Stott’s are very appreciative of the dedication and hard work put forth for the conservation efforts  are very proud to call the Clearwater River our home office.

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The canoes that were used to navigate the Clearwater, Snake, and Columbia were crafted out of large Ponderosa Pines. As they carved out the canoes the expedition was able to rest a few days before continuing towards the Pacific Ocean.  The area in which the party camped  as they built these canoes, is known today as Canoe Camp. Canoe Camp is down river from the town of Orofino Idaho.

Orofino Idaho, (fine gold) in Spanish was named after the discovery of gold on Orofino Creek. Ultimately the Lewis and Clark expedition paved the way for industry in the Orofino and Clearwater Valley.  In 1861 Orofino was established and the Gold Rush was on. Orofino began as a mining town as Gold was discovered in the Clearwater River valley and other surrounding areas. Eventually the Logging Industry became the next big thing in the Clearwater Valley and Orofino transitioned from a mining camp to a logging town.

Image from - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orofino,_Idaho

The Clearwater River, again served a huge purpose becoming a highway to transport logs.  With the emergence of logging camps up and down the North Fork River drainage and surrounding areas, log Drives were born. Beginning in 1928, every year on the North Fork of the Clearwater River, millions of board feet of lumber floated down river to the Potlatch Mill. The mill today is called Clearwater Paper and is located in Lewiston Idaho. The log Drives would last until 1971.

The last Log Drive occurring in 1971, gave way to Dworshak Dam on the North Fork of the Clearwater River. Dworshak Dam began construction in 1966 and opened in 1973 completing what is today’s third tallest Dam in the United States, standing at 717 feet. With the conception of the Dam a reservoir was created behind the Dam covering 19000 surface acres of water.

This large body of water now covers up what was a tributary in which Salmon and Steelhead had made their returns to the area since the beginning of time. In order to make sure the Clearwater River valley maintained this incredible natural resource Dworkshak National Fish Hatchery was built in 1969, by the Army Corps of Engineers.  Along with the Army Corps, the hatchery is co managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Nez Perce Tribe. Dworshak National Fish Hatchery, is a mitigation hatchery for Steelhead, Chinook, and Coho Salmon.

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Dworshak, is the largest steelhead hatchery in the world along with being one of the largest producers of anadromous migratory fish. These fish are raised at the hatchery for up to 1-1/2 years. Once the fish are large enough to be released they will begin their 500 mile journey to the Pacific Ocean. Many anglers wait in anticipation for the fish to return back to the Clearwater River.

Orofino and the Clearwater valley have had many historical changes since the days of Lewis and Clark, the discovery of Gold and the beginning of Logging.  Industries have shifted and economies have changed throughout time.

Image from - Steven Hanks, Lewiston Tribune - http://usfwspacific.tumblr.com/post/71331581686/dworshak-hatchery-wins-some-rounds-against-ihn

Orofino is the Northern Boundary of the exclusive permit in which Stott’s operates the family ran business as the area continues to thrive. Fishing and Hunting revenue has become a staple for the once bustling community. Stott's overnight fishing guests that choose to stay in Orofino often  bunker down at the Rivers Edge Best Western Lodge.

The Best Western in Orofino Idaho is our chosen location for the annual Cast for a Cure Celebrity Fishing Tournament that raises money for cancer research. As the fishing season progresses a popular meeting place for Stott’s fishing guests is the Pink House Boat Ramp.

Part 8

Pink House is down river from Orofino, and is a popular boat launching spot and fishing hole for the Stott’s crew.  Pink House Hole down to the town of Lewiston is the same stretch of water that Lewis and Clark once Navigated in their pursuit of the Pacific Ocean. On our guided trips, you might hear one of Stott's fishing guides refer to one of the popular fishing holes like Pink House, Magill, Saddle Bags, Peck, Tomahawk, Lenore, Cherry Lane, Gibbs Eddy, and Spaulding. The Spaulding hole was once a wintering location for Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery. When enjoying their fishing adventure, many of our guests wonder what it would have been like when Lewis and Clark were making their way down the Clearwater.

The entire Stott's fishing family is very thankful and appreciative for the historical impact that has shaped the Clearwater river and it's fishery of today.  We feel it's our obligation to work with the Nez Perce tribe, Federal, and state hatchery programs to protect our future fishing. We hope you enjoyed the little piece of history that we can add to our adventures.

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