Weekly Chinook Update 5/24/12

Hi all, it looks like I need help with my ability to forecast the run size.  Unfortunately, I think we have gotten to the point where most of the adult Chinook salmon destined for the Clearwater Region have come over Bonneville Dam.  This means our harvest share will likely be somewhere between 4,500 and 5,000 adult fish for the Clearwater River drainage and the Rapid River area.  Check out the table below (or click 'read more') to see where these fish are headed for based on PIT tags we have detected at Bonneville Dam.  

Adult Chinook salmon run estimate based on PIT tags passing over Bonneville Dam
Release group Bonneville pre-season forecast Current number over Bonneville based on PIT tags Projected total run estimate to Bonneville based on late run timing Broodstock needs Estimated non-tribal harvest share above LGD
Dworshak 30,720 6,908 7,025 1,200 1,501
Kooskia (Dwrs) 3,680 2,938 3,166 800 616
Kooskia (Clwr) 2,539 1,583 1,590 NA 568
Selway 4,154 2,624 2,686 NA 848
Powell 6,146 1,568 1,602 694 226
SF Clearwater 10,287 4,177 4,294 1,014 935
Total Clearwater R. 57,525 19,799 20,363 3,708 4,694
Rapid River 35,425 16,689 16,783 2,000 4,730
Upper Little Salmon R.   974 980 NA 333
Total Riggins Area 35,425 17,664 17,763 2,000 5,063
Hells Canyon    3,350 3,369 400 946

Fishing effort certainly picked up in the Clearwater River last week with most of it occurring in the Lewiston Area.  With most of the effort occurring there, it is not too surprising that this is where most of the fish were caught.  As time progresses we will see more and more fish caught upstream.  The table below shows where these fish were caught on a weekly basis.  One thing all of you can track is as we add on each weeks harvest onto the table below, you will be able to determine how close we are getting to potential closures for the different river sections.  Our target adult harvest for each river section is listed in the bottom part of the table below.  In case you are wondering how we came up with these different target amounts of harvest for each river section, it came from all of you based on input in public meetings, creel surveys and mail surveys.  It is important for all of you to realize that these are only targets and we may need to adjust them based on where the fish are destined and how harvest is going in the different river sections.  For example, if anglers in the lower river (Lewiston area) cannot harvest 25% of the fish, we will obviously allow more harvest upstream; or if a very high percentage of the adults are destined to a certain stream section, we may be required to allow more harvest there to get at these fish.  At this point, there is no point for you to worry, just get out there and catch more fish.  Now is the time to be fishing the Clearwater River.

 

  Clearwater River 2012 Adult Chinook Harvest Summary                            
  Harvest Share   ##### 4,698                      
    Creel Census River Section Weekly % of  Harvest Share cumulative
Date Interval 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Harvest share Remaining % harvested
April 22 -29 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0% 4,698 0.0%
April 30 - May 6 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0% 4,698 0.0%
May 7 -  13 3 16 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 16 0.3% 4,682 0.3%
May 14 -  20 4 213 15 21 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 263 5.6% 4,419 5.9%
May 21 -  27 5                     0 0.0% 4,419 5.9%
May 28 - June 3 6                     0 0.0% 4,419 5.9%
June 4 -  10 7                     0 0.0% 4,419 5.9%
June 11 -  17 8                     0 0.0% 4,419 5.9%
June 18 -  24 9                     0 0.0% 4,419 5.9%
June 25 - July 1 10                     0 0.0% 4,419 5.9%
July 2 -  8 11                 0 0.0% 4,419 5.9%
July 9 - 15 12                     0 0.0% 4,419 5.9%
July 16- 22 13                     0 0.0% 4,419 5.9%
July 23 -  29 14                     0 0.0% 4,419 5.9%
July 30 - Aug 5 15                     0 0.0% 4,419 5.9%
  16                     0 0.0% 4,419 5.9%
  Total 229 15 21 14 0 0 0 0 0 0 279 5.9% 94.1%  
  % of share 4.9% 0.3% 0.4% 0.3% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% ####        

As predicted, the first Chinook were caught in the Riggins area last week, but high dirty water slowed things down some.  We estimated that only 8 fish were harvested last week in this area.  Recent rains will cause flows to increase again; but based on the Flow Prediction Service, the river should peek out on Wed or Thur and then slowly drop.  As the river drops, I expect fishing will start getting good, and then 7-14 days later that large surge of fish that went over Lower Granite Dam a few days ago should be getting to the Riggins Area (assuming we don’t have any blowouts).  For those of you who like to fish this area, don’t wait until then.  Often early in the run there is less fishing effort and the fish tend to be more aggressive which can make for some fun fishing. 

We also saw the first harvest of Chinook at Hells Canyon Dam last week.   We started collecting some fish at the trap along the Dam which says the fish are there.  I fully expect this fishery to take off by this weekend.

I’d like to say I have a bunch of fish stories to report to you, but so far I have just hooked two and landed one.  I’m just getting going though.  Have fun out there, and stay safe.   - Joe DuPont, Clearwater Region Fishery Manager