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salmon fishing

Weekly Chinook Update 5/29/12

May 31, 2012 - 11:52am -- idfg-vosborn

Hi all.  I hope you have all had a chance to get out to and try and catch some fish.  There certainly has been a lot of effort and a bunch of fish caught this past week.

My phone has been inundated with calls this morning and the rumors are running rampant.  So, hopefully I can clear some things up for you with this update.

First of all, the non tribal harvest shares for adult Chinook salmon are listed below (4,724 for the Clearwater and 5,095 for the Riggins area).  They haven’t changed much since last week, but survival appears to be higher for the migrating salmon between Bonneville and Lower Granite than expected. We may see our harvest share increase some in the future, but not more than a couple hundred fish.  Regardless, there are a lot of fish out there to catch. (click 'read more' for chart and more informaiton.)

Weekly Chinook Update 5/24/12

May 24, 2012 - 4:21pm -- idfg-vosborn

Hi all, it looks like I need help with my ability to forecast the run size.  Unfortunately, I think we have gotten to the point where most of the adult Chinook salmon destined for the Clearwater Region have come over Bonneville Dam.  This means our harvest share will likely be somewhere between 4,500 and 5,000 adult fish for the Clearwater River drainage and the Rapid River area.  Check out the table below (or click 'read more') to see where these fish are headed for based on PIT tags we have detected at Bonneville Dam.  

Clearwater Weekly Chinook Harvest Summary 5/22/12

May 24, 2012 - 10:58am -- idfg-vosborn
Flying J Ramp

Fishing has definitely started to pick up on the Clearwater! There were a lot of anglers out over the weekend. Creel section 1 (Railroad bridge to Cherry Lane bridge) saw the highest effort and had the most fish caught. Sections 2, 3, and 4 have also documented a few fish.  (see chart below or click on 'read more.') Creel section 5 on the Snake River (Dug Bar boat ramp to Hells Canyon Dam tail race) documented its first fish caught over the weekend. The Salmon river did have some documented effort, but no fish were caught.

This week’s picture was taken at the Flying J boat ramp on Sunday. The angler was very happy after being skunked on Saturday.  - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Region Fisheries

Clearwater River Drainage

 

 

 

 

Chinook Salmon Kept

Angler Hours

Hours per fish kept

Unclipped salmon released

Adults

Jacks

Total

Railroad Bridge to Cherrylane Bridge

213

0

213

6,173

29

76

Cherrylane Bridge to Orofino Bridge

15

0

15

1,100

73

0

North Fork Clearwater River

21

0

21

216

10

Weekly Chinook Update 5/16/12

May 17, 2012 - 3:04pm -- idfg-vosborn

Hi all.  It appears my crystal ball has some glitches in it that I need to work out.  Our projected harvest share (based on counts at Bonneville Dam) for adult Chinook salmon for the entire  Clearwater River basin increased by about 1,200 fish from last week, which is great, but I’m not sure we will get to that 7,000 to 9,500 range that my crystal ball predicted (see table below or click 'read more' for estimates). 

Fish destined for the Clearwater River are still coming over Bonneville in good numbers and the Jacks are just starting to arrive which may indicate there still are a bunch to come.  Regardless, we are in the makings for one of the best Chinook seasons in the Clearwater River since 2002.   Based on our creel surveys, we estimated that 16 adult Chinook salmon were harvested from the Clearwater River last week.  I’ve already heard of more fish harvested this week, and the counts are really starting to pick up over Lower Granite Dam.  This weekend should be a great time to be fishing in the lower Clearwater.  These fish will start pushing further upstream later in the week.

Where my crystal ball seems to really have had some problems is with predicting the run headed for the Riggins area.  The projected harvest share has not changed since last week (about 5,000 adult fish) and based on the number of PIT tagged fish coming over Bonneville it makes it seem that the run over Bonneville Dam is starting to be wind down.  However, a harvest share of over 5,000 adults is nothing to scoff about.  We’ve had some great fisheries in the Riggins area with fewer fish than that.  We also don’t have the same snow pack as last year, so we shouldn’t expect the same continuous high flows that can cause havoc with our fisheries.  Right now flows are projected to be in the 45,000 to 55,000 range for the next week.  This may or may not influence fish movement depending on how dirty the water gets.  Right now two-thirds of the fish crossing over Lower Granite Dam are headed for Rapid River and they have been passing over the Dam for about two weeks now.  That means these fish should just start to be arriving in the Riggins Area fishery.  We think the slide (a big rapid on the lower Salmon River) can cause delays once flows start exceeding 50,000 cfs so this may slow down these fishes travel times.  I hope to hear of the first fish being caught in Riggins by this weekend or a little bit later in this area. 

I also expect somebody to start catching fish in the Hells Canyon Fishery by this weekend as well. 

Clearwater Region Chinook Harvest Summary 5/14/12

May 15, 2012 - 12:37pm -- idfg-vosborn

This past week and more so this weekend saw a jump in angler effort, but the catch rates were poor on Section one ( Camas railroad bridge to Cherry lane bridge). Section 5 (Dug Bar to the tailrace of Hells Canyon Dam) did see a few anglers but there were no documented fish caught.  See Harvest Summary Chart below (or click on 'read more' for chart.) - Jaime Mills, Clearwater Region Fisheries

Clearwater River Drainage

 

 

Chinook Salmon Kept

Angler Hours

Hours per fish kept

Unclipped salmon released

 

Adults

Jacks

Total

 

Railroad Bridge to Cherrylane Bridge

16

0

16

1,985

124

3

 

Cherrylane Bridge to Orofino Bridge

0

0

0

0

-

0

 

North Fork Clearwater River

0

0

0

0

-

0

 

Orofino Bridge to Kooskia Bridge

0

0

0

0

Weekly Chinook Update 5/10/12

May 11, 2012 - 12:38pm -- idfg-vosborn

I hope you are ready to catch some salmon because they are on their way!! 

Yes, my weekly Chinook update for the Clearwater Region is going to have a much more upbeat tone than last week as the counts over Bonneville have increased dramatically.  In fact, we haven’t seen as many spring Chinook salmon come over Bonneville as we saw yesterday (18,436) since the incredible years of 2001 and 2002.  In case you were wondering, we had a peak one day count of spring Chinook over Bonneville in 2001 of 27,020 fish. 

I’m also happy to report that a whole bunch of these fish are headed to Idaho.  As you can see in the table below (or click on ‘read more’) the estimated non-tribal harvest share for fish headed to Clearwater Region release sites has about doubled since last week.  It’s important to understand though that this estimate is based on the average late timing we have seen in the past.  This run is even later the average late timed run so I expect to see this estimate continue to climb. 

To give you some idea of what I mean, based on the average late timing, about 76% of the hatchery Chinook salmon destined to the Clearwater River and Rapid River would have passed by Bonneville on this date.  Based on the number of Jacks and summer run Chinook that have come over Bonneville and the timing of when this run seems to be peaking, my best guess (for whatever that is worth) is that only about 40-50% of the hatchery Chinook destined to the Clearwater River and Rapid River have passed by Bonneville.  If this is true, our harvest share for the Clearwater River will increase to 7,000 to 9,500 fish and 9,000-12,000 fish for the Riggins area.  I guess only time will tell how good I am with my crystal ball.  I’m still trying to fine tune it.    

Weekly Chinook Update 5/4/12

May 8, 2012 - 12:00pm -- idfg-vosborn

Hi everybody, I waited as long as possible before I sent out this week’s weekly Chinook update.  I was hoping run conditions would improve so I would have better news to report.  Unfortunately they haven’t so this is what I  have to report. 

Shortly after I sent the weekly update last week (4-25-12) flows increased dramatically in the Columbia and a slug of dirty water moved through. Not too surprising the number of Chinook salmon moving over Bonneville Dam dropped off dramatically, as increases in flows - especially when they are coupled with dirty water - have consistently been shown to slow down fish migrations. Some telemetry studies have found that some fish will actually move back downstream in these types of events.

What I was fully expecting after these flows dropped and water clarity improved was the fish counts over Bonneville would rebound.  Counts have come back up some, but not to the level I was expecting. This drop in dam counts certainly has influenced our models prediction of what we could expect to come over Bonneville Dam in the future (table below or click 'read more'); however, it is important to realize that these predictions can fluctuate greatly early in the run, which is where we are now. 

I fully expect our projected run total to increase, but just how much is hard to tell. Flows are still high on the Columbia. They are at around 400,000 cfs and the average for this time of year is about 250,000, so this could help explain why fish aren’t coming over Bonneville like expected.  Some other things that lead me to believe we still have a lot more fish to come are, we have only seen a few jacks destined for Idaho come over Bonneville, which indicates we are still early in the run.  Another thing to note is if you look over the timing of runs since the construction of Bonneville Dam (1938), three of the five latest runs on record have occurred in the last 6 years which suggest maybe we are in a new paradigm where late runs are more of the norm. 

I still have heard no reports of anybody catching a Chinook in Idaho which is not too surprising since we have had only 129 come over Lower Granite Dam to date.  I expect we will have our first Chinook harvested by this time next week.   - Joe Dupont, Clearwater Region Fish Manager

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