salmon fishing

Clearwater Region Salmon Fishery 9/16/14

One nice thing about this time of year is while you are fishing for steelhead you could also catch a fall Chinook Salmon. This year, like the past four years, is supposed to be another good year.  In fact, we are anticipating that the returning Fall Chinook Salmon run to Idaho will be the second largest run we have seen in quite some time (last year was the largest).  We are expecting around 50,000 adults to pass over Lower Granite Dam and what is even more exciting is this year the majority of the adult fish are three-ocean fish that typically range from 18-22 pounds. On average, over 2,000 adult Chinook a day have been passing over Lower Granite Dam for the past week.  Soon we should exceed 3,000 adult Chinook a day. Catch rates for Chinook have been quite slow, but they should pick up with all these fish starting to move in.

One thing all of you should know is that only about 30% of the Chinook passing over Lower Granite Dam are clipped. That is because a lot of wild fish are returning and because around half the hatchery Fall Chinook released in Idaho are clipped (This was done to help build the run when numbers were low).   As such, you will have to catch around 4 unclipped fish for every one clipped fish you can harvest.

A commonly asked question that I get is, “why don’t you allow us to harvest Fall Chinook Salmon upstream of Memorial Bridge?” Because it is asked so often, I thought I would share my answer with all of you.  There are three main reasons.

  • First, only about 25% of the hatchery fish released into the Clearwater River are clipped. Thus, when you mix in the wild fish only about 15% of the fish are clipped.  That doesn’t leave a lot of fish to be harvested.  This clip rate is set until 2017.  Discussion will occur to decide what the new clip rate will be starting in 2018.
  • Second, the Clearwater River is a very popular place to catch-and-release Steelhead, and has been for many years.  Anglers come from all over the Nation to fish this unique fishery.  Opening a Fall Chinook season at the same time as this catch-and-release Steelhead season occurs would cause significant changes in the dynamics of this fishery (more anglers and more boats).  Many Steelhead anglers say they are not in support of this.
  • Finally, the Nez Perce Tribe is largely responsible for rebuilding the Fall Chinook run in Idaho.  Because most of the Clearwater River is in the Nez Perce Tribal Reservation, we need to be considerate of their concerns and interests before moving forward with a fishery that targets Fall Chinook in this area.  We will have discussions with the Tribe about this when we feel the time is appropriate.

This doesn’t mean that we will never have a Fall Chinook Salmon fishery upstream of Memorial Bridge, but it is important to realize there are many things to consider and address before we ever do so. 

Here's additional information on the Clearwater's steelhead fishery this fall.

Well, it is time for me to go.  The elk are bugling and I’m hoping one has my name on it.  - Joe DuPont, Fishery Manager, Clearwater Region

Clearwater Salmon Weekend Update 9/23/14

Salmon Fishing on the confluence of Snake and Clearwater Rivers

This past weekend on the Clearwater River was still pretty warm weather wise but, many anglers hit the water in the mornings and evenings. Many anglers  are off the water by 12pm. The confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers, which is creel section 1 river sect. 01, is still getting the most amount of effort of the creel sections. Most people coming off the water are commenting on the ratio of unclipped vs. clipped fish. Many people are using herring and eggs for bait. Check harvest information. - Jaime Robertson Fisheries Technician, Clearwater Region

Upper Salmon River Chinook Report 7/27/14

Chinook fishing on the upper Salmon River closed at the end of fishing on Sunday, July 27th.

During the previous week, anglers in location codes 16 and 17 averaged 45 hours per Chinook caught and 84 hours per Chinook kept. Upstream, in location code 18, anglers did not report harvesting a Chinook and averaged 70 hours per Chinook caught. For the season, an estimated 79 adult Chinook were harvested out of location codes 16 and 17 and an estimated 529 adult Chinook were harvested out of location codes 18 and 19.

This is the last weekly report for the upper Salmon River Chinook season. Our weekend steelhead reports will begin Monday, October 6th. - Brent Beller, Salmon Region Fishery Technician

Clearwater Chinook Update 7/18/14

Hi everybody. This will be the last update I provide regarding fishing for spring Chinook Salmon in the Clearwater Region for you die hard, never say stop Chinook anglers.

Currently the remaining river reaches open to Chinook Salmon fishing in the Clearwater Region include:

  • Little Salmon River from its mouth to Hwy 95 bridge near Pollock (adipose clipped jacks only).
  • Little Salmon River from Pollock 95 bridge to the Smokey Bolder Road (adipose clipped adults and jacks)
  • Snake River from Dug Bar to Hells Canyon Dam (adipose clipped adults and jacks)

All Chinook Salmon fishing will end on July 27 at the close of fishing hours in these waters.  After July 27 no Chinook Salmon fishing will be allowed in the Clearwater Region. 

As a heads up, the Fall Chinook Salmon season starts on September 1. It is supposed to be another great run, so it is never too early to start planning. Unfortunately we were not able to get a permit from NOAA fisheries that would allow us to harvest unclipped fish.  As a result the rules will remain the same as in past years where only adipose clipped fish may be harvested. - Joe DuPont, Clearwater Region Fishery Manager

Upper Salmon Chinook Update 7/21/14

The Chinook season in location code 19, upstream of the East Fork of the Salmon River, was closed at the end of fishing on Saturday, July 19th.  The season is still open in location codes 16, 17, and 18 until the end of fishing (10:00 PM) on Sunday, July 27th.

During the previous week, the best Chinook fishing was still found upstream of the Pahsimeroi River in location codes 18 and 19. In location code 19, which is now closed, anglers averaged 13 hours per Chinook caught and 75 hours per Chinook kept. In location code 18, anglers averaged 34 hours per Chinook caught and 85 hours per Chinook kept. Downstream of the Pahsimeroi, in location codes 16 and 17, the fishing was slower. Anglers in location code 17 averaged 106 hours per Chinook caught and 138 hours per Chinook kept while anglers in location code 16 did not report any harvest. See harvest details.

The Salmon River has continued to drop over the past week and the water temperatures keep rising. As of today, the river is flowing at approximately 1,300 cfs through the town of Salmon with mid-day water temperatures around the middle to high 60s. - Brent Beller. Salmon Region Fisheries Technician

Upper Salmon Chinook Update 7/7/14

The Chinook harvest increased this past week on the upper Salmon River, but once again, anglers upstream of the Pahsimeroi River fared better than those downstream. Anglers downstream of the Pahsimeroi, in location codes 16 and 17, averaged 81 hours per Chinook caught and 162 hours per Chinook kept. Upstream in location codes 18 and 19, anglers averaged 18 hours per Chinook caught and 38 hours per Chinook kept. At this point in the season, an estimated 44 hatchery adult Chinook have been harvested downstream of the Pahsimeroi and 324 hatchery adult Chinook have been harvested upstream.

The Salmon River has been slowly dropping for the past week. It is currently flowing at approximately 2,410 cfs through the town of Salmon, which is down from 3,000 cfs a week ago. Mid-day water temperatures have been in the low to mid 60s, and the visibility is good. As of today, 1090 Chinook have returned to the Sawtooth hatchery and as of July 3rd, 311 Chinook have returned to the Pahsimeroi hatchery.  - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician, Salmon Region

Upper Salmon Chinook Update 6/30/14

Chinook anglers on the upper Salmon River had mixed results this past week depending on where they decided to fish. Anglers downstream of the Pahsimeroi River, in location codes 16 and 17, were working hard to find the fish and averaged 202 hours per Chinook caught. Upstream of the Pahsimeroi, in location codes 18 and 19, anglers did much better and averaged 13 hours per Chinook caught. At this point in the season, an estimated 23 hatchery adult Chinook have been harvested downstream of Pahsimeroi and 123 hatchery adult Chinook have been harvested upstream.  For  more details go to the Chinook Harvest Report.

The Salmon River near the town of Salmon was on the rise most of the week, but it did begin to drop again Sunday morning. As of today, it is back down to approximately 3,000 cfs and the visibility is good. As of June 27th, 150 adult Chinook have returned back to the Pahsimeroi hatchery and as of June 30th, 157 adult Chinook have returned to the Sawtooth hatchery. - Brent Beller. Salmon Region Fisheries Technician

 

Upper Salmon Chinook Report 6/23/14

Chinook fishing opened on the upper Salmon River this past weekend, and fish were being caught right away. The river was running at approximately 3,000 cfs through the town of Salmon on Saturday and the visibility was good. Interviewed anglers harvested Chinook in all the river sections open to fishing. Anglers were having to put in a lot of effort to find them, especially in section 16 between North Fork and the Lemhi River. Fishing should improve as we move forward and more Chinook continue to move up river into the fishery while the river level keeps dropping.

As of June 19th, two adult Chinook had been trapped at the Pahsimeroi Hatchery and two adults had also been trapped at the Sawtooth Hatchery.  - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician