Section 3 of the Salmon River (Time Zone Bridge to Short’s Creek) is seeing a lot of fish being harvested. Section 2 on the Salmon River is also seeing good numbers of harvest. See charts for details. - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Region Fisheries
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Monday, June 11, approved Chinook fishing seasons on the upper Salmon and South Fork Salmon rivers. The Chinook fishing season opens June 23 and continues until further notice from Fish and Game.
Seasons open June 23 on:
- South Fork Salmon, lower – From the bridge on Forest Service Road (Lick Creek/East Fork South Fork Road) where it crosses the South Fork Salmon River main stem just upstream of the confluence with the East Fork South Fork Salmon River, upstream about 18 river miles to the Blackmare Creek pack bridge, accessible from the trailhead at Poverty Flat campground.
- South Fork Salmon, upper – From Blackmare Creek pack bridge, accessible from the trailhead at Poverty Flat campground, upstream about 17 river miles south to a posted boundary about 100 yards downstream from the Idaho Fish and Game South Fork Salmon River weir and trap.
- Upper Salmon River, Stanley Area – From the State Highway 75 Salmon River bridge about 250 yards upstream of the mouth of the East Fork Salmon River upstream to the posted boundary about 100 yards downstream of the weir and trap at Sawtooth Hatchery south of Stanley.
These waters would remain open until closed by further notice. Fishing hours on the South Fork will be from 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on the upper Salmon from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Daily bag limits will be four Chinook, no more than two of which may be adults, and the possession limit will be 12 Chinook, no more than six of which may be adults. Anglers must stop fishing for salmon when daily, possession or season limits of adult salmon are reached, whichever comes first.
The season limit is 20 adult Chinook salmon statewide during 2012 salmon seasons occurring before September 1, 2012.
Adults are Chinook, 24 or more inches long and jacks are less than 24 inches long. Only salmon with a clipped adipose fin, as evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept. All adult Chinook that are caught and kept must be recorded on the angler’s salmon permit.
A brochure will be available before the start of the season. For additional information please consult the 2011-2012 Fishing Seasons and Rules brochure, on the Fish and Game website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.
To start, we are proposing NO CLOSURES in the Clearwater drainage or Lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers fisheries this week.
In the Clearwater drainage effort and harvest dropped considerably last week (June 4 – June 10) resulting from increased flows and rainy weather. Last week the adult harvest in the Clearwater drainage was estimated to be less than 200 fish with the majority coming from the North Fork and South Fork Clearwater Rivers. Flows are dropping so hopefully effort and harvest jump back up. For those who fish the South Fork Clearwater the current estimate of hatchery adults that have entered is a little more than 2,000. For a chart on the running progress of the harvest and harvest share for the Clearwater drainage fishery, see below or click on 'read more.'
The adult harvest in lower Salmon around at Riggins and the Little Salmon rivers are finally picking up. Below is running progress of the harvest and harvest share for the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.
Again, we are proposing NO CLOSURES in the Clearwater drainage or lower Salmon and Little Salmon river fisheries this week.
There are still a lot a fish to harvest so go get them while you can (just save a few for me). Stay tuned for next week’s updates. - Don Whitney, Clearwater Region Fisheries Biologist
Hi everybody. It looks like people were catching fish about everywhere last week (May 28-June 3, 2012). Hopefully there are a lot of happy anglers out there. For those who like to fish the Clearwater River basin, I have some good news. It appears that survival of migrating adults between Bonneville Dam and McNary Dam was higher than we typically see which has increased our projected harvest share to above 5,000 fish (see table below). The bad news is survival for the Rapid River fish in this same reach appears lower than expected and has resulted in a lower projected harvest share estimate for these fish. These differences in survival are largely based upon when these runs migrated through the fisheries on the Columbia. Rapid River fish came a little earlier this year which made them more susceptible to harvest. The final harvest share estimate will be based on the number of fish that pass over Lower Granite Dam, so these harvest shares could still change some. There was considerable harvest in the Lower Snake River (between Ice Harbor and Lower Granite) so we will have to wait and see how this influences our harvest share. (Click 'read more' for more information.)
|Adult Chinook salmon run estimate based on PIT tags passing over McNary Dam|
|Release group||Current number over McNary based on PIT tags||Projected total run estimate to McNary based on late run timing||Broodstock needs||Estimated non-tribal harvest share above LGD|
|Total Clearwater R.||15,395||15,850||3,708||5,482|
|Upper Little Salmon||646||653||NA||300|
|Total Riggins Area||11,867||11,991||2,000||4,540|
In the Clearwater Region last week, people were catching fish from the mouth all the way to the South Fork Clearwater River. The only place we didn’t document harvest was in the Lochsa River, although I know they were there. Some of the best catch rates last week were from Cherrylane Bridge to Orofino Bridge, the North Fork, the South Fork, and yesterday I heard fishing was really good in the Kooskia area. There should still be a couple thousand adult Chinook destined for the Clearwater yet to come over Lower Granite so don’t over look the lower Clearwater as well. Finally, I have good news for all of you Clearwater anglers. Because of the higher than expected survival, we will be proposing NO closures this week in the Clearwater River basin. So go find your favorite place and catch some fish. We will look at the harvest numbers next week and get back to you.
Fishing in the lower Salmon River picked up last week which was good to see. Catch rates were not the greatest (20-25 hr/fish), but I certainly talked to some people who limited out over multiple days. I was surprised to see that more fish were not harvested in the Little Salmon River last week; but after I was informed that high flows made the fishing difficult, it made more sense. The rain we had over the last couple days brought flows up considerably in the Salmon and Little Salmon which turned the rivers muddy and has turned off fishing. Based on the flow prediction services, flows should start coming down by Thursday which should mean the fishing will be good this weekend. Obviously, this will depend on what the water conditions are like. Let’s hope it stops raining, as the fish are there and ready to be caught.
The North Fork of the Clearwater saw a 41 in/27lb Chinook harvested this weekend. - Jaime Mils, Clearwater Region Fisheries
|Clearwater River Drainage||Chinook Salmon Kept||Angler Hours||Hours per fish kept||Unclipped salmon released|
|Railroad Bridge to Cherrylane Bridge||224||81||305||5,802||19||9|
|Cherrylane Bridge to Orofino Bridge||258||0||258||4,176||16||57|
|North Fork Clearwater River||131||0||131||1,686||13||13|
|Orofino Bridge to Kooskia Bridge||49||5||54||1,317||24||20|
|Middle Fork Clearwater River||53||3||56||1,248||22||27|
|South Fork Clearwater River||103||0||103||1,271||12||61|
Clearwater River drainage
Clearwater River drainage
Hi all, one thing we have continually heard from anglers is that they would rather have lower limits and a longer season – ideally to last through 4th of July weekend. Before the season began we projected that our harvest share for the Clearwater River drainage would be over 9,000 adult fish, and with that many fish we believed we could have a two-adult fish limit and the season would likely last until the beginning of July. It is now apparent that non-tribal harvest share for adult Chinook salmon will be about 4,800 adult fish. If we combine that with the fact that flows and water clarity have been favorable in the Clearwater system allowing for good fishing and high harvest rates, it seems evident that if the limits are not lowered we may not be able to make the season to last as long as the public desires. As such, we are reducing the limit of adult Chinook salmon to 1 fish in all reaches of the Clearwater River basin except the South Fork Clearwater River and Lochsa River where anglers have had difficulties harvesting fish in the past. This rule will take effect at the beginning of fishing hours on Saturday June 2nd. This will change the daily limit to four salmon per day, only one (1) of which may be an adult.
The Lochsa and South Fork Clearwater rivers will remain at four salmon per day, only two (2) of which may be adults.
I’d appreciate it if you could all help spread the word.
Thanks for your help, and good luck fishing.
- Joe Dupont, Clearwater Region Fishery Manager
Photo was taken during the creel survey this past weekend.