chinook fishing

Clearwater Region Chinook Salmon Update 6/17/14

There are a lot of rule changes occurring this week so I want to make sure you are all aware of these first.  So the rule changes are as follows:

Rule Changes in the Clearwater River drainage

In the Clearwater drainage at the close of fishing hours on Sunday June 22, 2014 all Chinook Salmon fishing for adults and Jacks will end downstream of confluence of the South Fork Clearwater and Middle Fork Clearwater rivers (adults harvest is already closed in this area).  This includes the entire mainstem Clearwater River, and the North Fork Clearwater River.  In addition, all harvest for adults will end at the close of fishing hours on Sunday June 22, 2014 in the Middle Fork Clearwater, South Fork Clearwater, and Lochsa rivers.  That means starting on Monday June 23, 2014 only the harvest of adipose clipped Jacks (salmon less than 24 inches)  with a daily limit of four (4) will be allowed in the Middle Fork, South Fork, and Lochsa rivers.  All other areas will be closed.  These closures are occurring because we anticipate our harvest share of adult fish will be met in the entire Clearwater River drainage and because reaches downstream of the confluence of the South Fork Clearwater and Middle Fork Clearwater rivers will have met their quota for Jacks.

Rule Changes on the Rapid River Run

On the Salmon River, fishing for all Chinook Salmon (adults and Jacks) will end at the close of fishing hours on Thursday June 19, 2014 between Rice Creek Bridge and Time Zone Bridge and between Shorts Creek and Vinegar Creek.  The Park Hole (the Salmon River between Time Zone Bridge and Shorts Creek) will remain open through the weekend and then close to all Chinook Salmon fishing (adults and Jacks) at the end of fishing hours on Sunday June 22, 2014.   The Little Salmon River will remain open to the harvest of both adult and Jack Chinook Salmon until further notice.  These closures are being made to protect hatchery and wild Chinook Salmon migrating to upstream fisheries and because we anticipate we will be close to reaching our adult harvest share for this entire fishery by the end of the weekend.

Rule Changes for the Hells Canyon Fishery

No rules changes will occur on this fishery through the weekend.  This fishery will continue until further notice.

Clearwater River Fishery Update

Chinook Salmon fishing in the Clearwater River drainage was excellent last week with catch rates below 10 hrs/fish in most areas open to fishing.  Harvest totals are listed on the Fish and Game website.  We have 340 fish left in our adult harvest share.  For that reason, we anticipate that Chinook Salmon fishing in all reaches will not last much past this weekend.

Rapid River Fishery Update

Fishing on the Salmon and Little Salmon rivers was excellent last week with catch rates less than 10 hrs/fish in the Park Hole area and Little Salmon River.  I myself got involved with this fishery last week and had a great time catching fish and visiting with all of you – I look forward to doing it again.   Due to the high effort and good catch rates, we estimated around 3,000 adult fish were harvested last week.  This high amount of harvest is the reason for these closures.  Be prepared for a quick closer on the Little Salmon River after the weekend if we are close to meeting our harvest share.

Hells Canyon Fishery Update

Fishing was also excellent below Hells Canyon Dam.  In fact it was the best we have seen all year there (catch rates of 7 hrs/fish).  A large reason for this is the low amount of effort that occurred there.  I suspect a lot of the people that often fish there were fishing the Little Salmon or Salmon rivers.   To date around 600 adult fish have been taken from the Hells Canyon Fishery.  Our harvest share is around 1,000 fish. 

Well it looks like we are in store for another good week of fishing before many river reaches start closing down.  I’m already hearing good reports out there, so be sure to take advantage of it while you can. 

Good luck and be safe. - Joe DuPont, Clearwater Region Fishery Manager

Projected Chinook Returns - Lower Salmon River

The latest indicators, as of the last week in April 2014, show a projected return of Chinook salmon to Rapid River fish hatchery of somewhere between 11,000 and 17,000 adults.  Passive Induced Transponder (PIT) tags detectors at Bonneville Dam continue to show strong numbers of salmon passing through the ladder with embedded tags that were placed in the fish before they left Rapid River Hatchery on their migration to the ocean.

Fish currently passing over the dams should arrive in Idaho within the next 30 - 45 days, depending on flow conditions at the Columbia and Snake River dams.

Schedule your time-off and break-out your salmon fishing gear!

Does it look like the Chinook fishing season will extend past Oct. 31 for Snake/Mainstem Clearwater?

I am very happy to be able to fish in the historic chinook return this year. I was wondering about the quote on "The timing and length of Idaho’s salmon fishing seasons depends on the number of fish returning to Idaho in any given year."

Is this a strong possibility this year given the return over Bonneville (844083 fall chinook) and Lower Granite (42276 fall Chinook)?

I was just curious how that process worked and when the decision would be made? It seems like if it were ever extended this would be the year.

why was there a salmon season on the clearwater but not on the upper salmon? Neither section reached its goals and the clearwater fell far short.

I want salmon recovered as much as anyone but it frustrates me to no end to see fish being exploited in the clearwater when we knew in advance they would not meet brood stock goals. Furthermore, we knew Pahsimeroi was not going to meet goals yet we continued to fish in and around Riggins. Conversely, the Sawtooth hatchery met its goal but with little to spare. Am I to understand that if I want to fish for chinook I must prepare to travel to Riggins or Lewiston to do so? Seems like the more logical route would to fish salmon closer to the hatcheries.

Clearwater & Salmon River Steelhead Update 10/22/12

River sections 01 and 03 had the best catch rates for steelhead this week at 13hrs/catch and 9hrs/catch. The North Fork of the Clearwater has documented harvest this week of 6 steelhead. The Salmon river catch rates were poor this past week.   - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Region Fisheries Technician

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS For Weekend of 10/22/2012    
River Location No. Anglers Checked No. of Hours No. of Fish Kept No. of Fish Released Total Fish Hours/Fish Water
caught kept Temp (F) Conditions
01   Snake River - Downstream from Salmon River 82 392 3 27 30 13 131 58 CLR
02   Snake R. - Salmon R. to Hells Canyon Dam 22 151 2 2 4 38 76 60 CLR
03  Clearwater River - Mouth to Memorial Bridge 58 208 13 9 22 9 16 51 CL
05   North Fork Clearwater R 25 126 6 0 6 21 21 50 CLR
10    Salmon R. - downstream from Whitebird Cr. 12 45 0 1 1 45 -- 50 CDY
11   Salmon R. - Whitebird Cr. to Little Salmon R 61 357 4 4 8 45 89 50 CDY
12   Salmon R. - Little Salmon R. to Vinegar Cr. 150 845 10 9 19 44 84 46 CDY
13   Salmon R. - Vinegar Cr. to South Fork Salmon R.. 25 305 1 2 3 102 305 48 CD
14   Salmon R. - - South Fork Salmon R. to Middle Fork Salmon R. 8 192 0 4 4 48 -- 46 CDY

Upper Salmon River Steelhead Report 10/07/12

Hello again, this is the first weekend update for the 2012 upper Salmon River fall steelhead fishery. These updates will be sent out each week from now until December 3rd and they summarize the creel data collected during the previous Saturday and Sunday.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game technicians began creel activities for the upper Salmon River steelhead fishery on October 4th. Since then, we have observed steelhead caught from Salmon downstream to Corn Cr. None of the river sections were very busy this weekend and many holes were left open. The majority of anglers were found in section 15 between the North Fork and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Section 15 also had the best hours per fish caught at 13 hours. Section 16 was a ways behind at 37 hours. With more steelhead moving into the sections every day, though, we expect the catch rates to only improve as we move into mid-October. Along with better catch rates, more anglers are also expected. Section 17 received very limited effort this past weekend and no data was collected. We will begin regular creel activities in section 17 this week, and that data will be included in the weekend report next week.

Two other things that are worth getting the word out on are the river level and the condition of the river corridor downstream of North Fork. First, the water level of the Salmon River is quite low for this time of year. As of today, it is 78% of normal just downstream of Cove Cr. I would suggest using smaller weights than last year because the current in most holes is much weaker than a year ago when it was above average. The second issue I wanted to discuss was the Mustang Fire. While the vast majority of the north side of the river corridor in section 15 did burn this summer, it was primarily an understory burn on the slopes near the river. Very few trees were lost on those slopes and in some places it is already difficult to see where the fire burned through. It is my hope that anglers will not be deterred from fishing in section 15 because, in most places, it is just as scenic as ever. Hope everyone has a great week.  - Brent Beller, Salmon Region Fisheries Technician

STEELHEAD CREEL NUMBERS For Weekend of 10/07/2012    
River Location No. Anglers Checked No. of Hours No. of Fish Kept No. of Fish Released Total Fish Hours/Fish Water
caught kept Temp (F) Conditions
14   Salmon R. - South Fork Salmon R. to Middle Fork Salmon R 33 196.5 0 3 3 66 -- 46 CLR
15   Salmon R. - Middle Fork Salmon R. to North Fork Salmon R 61 165.5 8 5 13 13 21 44 CLR
16   Salmon R. - North Fork Salmon R. to Lemhi R. 27 110 0 3 3 37 -- 44 CLR

Fall Chinook Update on Clearwater and Snake Rivers 10/02/12

Section 3 of the Snake River (Couse Crk –Cache Crk) had great catch rates this week and the highest amount of adults and jacks harvested. The guides are hitting Heller Bar hard and bringing in a lot of jacks this past week. Almost every Chinook that our clerks have been able to get their hands on has beeped positive for coded wire. We also saw a left opercule punch on a jack up at Heller Bar. I have not yet received Section 5 data, but as soon as I do I will get it out to everyone. - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Fisheries Technician