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Is there still a chance that a larger section of the upper salmon river will be opened in 2012 for harvest of chinook salmon as the fish get closer and we get a better idea about the hatchery returns, or has the fate of this years salmon season set?

Answer

Based on PIT tag detection among adult Chinook Salmon ascending the dams in the Columbia River we anticipate 2012 returns of adult Chinook salmon to the Sawttooth Hatchery will substatially exceed brood stock needs for that facility and will be avaialble for harvest. In contrast, current information from PIT tag detections in the Columbia River hydrosystem suggest that the returns of adult salmon to the Pahsimeroi hatchery are only slightly higher than the brood needs for that facility and cannot support a sustained and concentrated directed harvest in the terminal area downstream of that facility. The fishery in the Upper Salmon River that was approved by the Fish and Game Commission extends from the highway bridge just upstream of the mouth of the East Fork Salmon River to the posted boundary about 100 yards downstream of the weir at Sawtooth fishery. That fishery will allow anglers to target the harvestable share of returns to Sawtooth Hatchery River sections downstream of the aforementioned highway bridge near the East Fork Salmon River will remain closed to minimize fishery impacts on natural populations and the harvest of hatchery Chinook salmon destined for the Pahsimeroi Hatchery. We currently do not anticipate expanding the Upper Salmon REiver Chinook Fishery into the sections downstream of the East Fork Salmon River.