Hi everybody, it’s time for the weekly Chinook update (6/26/12). Harvest shares for the Clearwater River, Riggins area and Hells Canyon are shown below and are not much different than last week.
Harvest dropped off some in the Clearwater Region from last week, but there are still areas where the fishing is good. Catch rates were below 10 hr/fish for both the North Fork Clearwater and Kooskia hatchery area. One of our creel clerks told me how surprised she was with how light the fishing pressure was in the Kooskia area last week especially since the fishing was good. In fact, in her break from work, she managed to go down to the rive and catch two Chinook. Surprisingly, catch dropped substantially in the South Fork Clearwater last week even though our PIT tag array indicates around 3,000 hatchery fish have moved into this river with fish still trickling in. We still have a lot of fish remaining on the non-tribal harvest share, so there will be NO closures or rule changes in the Clearwater River drainage this week. Based on the way the fishery is progressing, it looks like the season could last through July in the Clearwater drainage.
|Clearwater River Drainage||Chinook Salmon Kept||Angler Hours||Hours per fish kept||Unclipped salmon released|
|Railroad Bridge to Cherrylane Bridge||0||0||0||115||-||0|
|Cherrylane Bridge to Orofino Bridge||7||0||7||575||82||26|
|North Fork Clearwater River||150||2||152||1730||11||33|
|Orofino Bridge to Kooskia Bridge||2||1||3||163||54||0|
|Middle Fork Clearwater River||82||7||89||852||10||18|
|South Fork Clearwater River||28||4||32||1468||46||27|
|Clearwater River drainage Week Total||269||14||283||4903||17||104|
|Clearwater River drainage Season Total||3169||191||3360||71396||21||1021|
Harvest dropped in the Riggins area last week after two weeks of good catch rates. Surprisingly, the best catch rates were not in the Park Hole area or the Little Salmon River last week. They were actually in the Salmon River downstream of Time Zone Bridge and upstream of Shorts Creek. I think a combination of lower effort and the presence of upriver bound fish made the fishing good in these areas. There certainly are many fish around the Riggins area, as they continue to flow into the hatchery. Sometimes it seems that later in the run Chinook just don’t bite as much which can cause catch rates to decline. Despite this, it seems that there are always groups of anglers that figure it out and catch lots of fish. Maybe you are one of those anglers? To date we have harvested about 83% of the Rapid River run which means we have over 700 adult fish still left to harvest (see table below). Based on these numbers, there will be NO closures or rule changes proposed through Four of July for the lower Salmon or Little Salmon rivers. Be sure to check in with us after the 4th to see if we have any changes in mind.
|Lower Salmon River||Chinook Salmon Kept||Angler Hours||Hours per fish kept||Unclipped salmon released|
|Rice Creek Bridge to Hammer Creek Boundary||44||5||49||910||19||57|
|Hammer Creek Boat Ramp to Time Zone Bridge||127||22||149||3175||21||141|
|Time Zone Bridge to Mouth of Short's Creek||109||6||115||3700||32||15|
|Short's Creek to Vinegar Creek||54||4||58||1242||21||17|
|Salmon River Week Total||334||37||371||9027||24||230|
|Salmon River Season Total||2233||227||2460||51559||21||540|
People seem to have lost interest in the Hells Canyon fishery as we documented no harvest in this area last week. That being said, I would have to guess that the fishing pressure will be light next week and that there should be plenty of areas to fish if you plan on visiting.
Somebody mentioned to me today that this 4th of July will be one of the first times in a long time that every single area where we allow Chinook fishing will be open to the harvest of adult salmon. Believe it or not, we have not closed one river section to the harvest of adult Chinook fish this year. And now that Chinook are being caught in the upper Salmon and South Fork Salmon rivers, this should make for a great weekend and Fourth of July.
Have fun out there everybody. - Joe DuPont, Clearwater Region Fishery Manager