First, let me tell you what we know about the number of Chinook Salmon we are projecting to come to the Clearwater Region. Last week we had some exciting times when over a three day period over 40,000 Chinook Salmon passed over Bonneville Dam. Since then the counts have dropped back down, but that spike in numbers caused our projected non-tribal harvest share to increase to about 4,000 adult fish in the Clearwater drainage and about 6,3000 adult fish for the Rapid River run. If you recall, last week the projected harvest share was around 3,400 for the Clearwater drainage and 4,500 for the Rapid River run. At this point I am not expecting any large changes in harvest share as typically by this time around 75% of the run of fish heading to the Clearwater Region has passed over Bonneville Dam. If you are wondering how these harvest shares compare to previous years. This is very similar to what we saw in the Clearwater River basin in 2008 and 2009-2012. Last year the harvest share in the Clearwater Basin was 640 fish. So this will be a marked improvement over that. For the Rapid River run, last year the harvest share was 2,100 fish and the year before that it was 4,500 fish. As such this year will be an improvement over the previous two years. All in all, I think we are in store for a very good season.
Clearwater River Basin Fishery
The table below has about everything you need to know about adult harvest of Chinook Salmon in the Clearwater River basin, and I will update it every week for you. It shows how many fish we estimated were harvested each week and where. It shows our harvest share and how many fish are left. Finally, it shows how the public has indicated they would like the harvest share allocated to the different river reaches and how much harvest remains in each of those areas. As we get close to reaching these different target amounts you can expect the fisheries to close in those areas (or at least the adult harvest). Last week we estimated 21 adult Chinook Salmon were harvested in the Clearwater River drainage, all near Lewiston. Go to harvest data for more details.
Counts over Lower Granite Dam the last couple days were around 1,300 and 3,000 fish which is good. Flows are also looking good, so those fish should spread upriver fast. Expect the fishing to really pick up from here on out.
Rapid River Fishery
We did not see any harvest of fish last week on the Rapid River run, and as such I did not include a harvest summary table below. However, once harvest begins I will display a similar table as above for this fishery as well. I can tell you though that the first fish showed up at Rapid River Hatchery two days ago so it would surprise me if some fish are caught this weekend. Flows are looking good right now so those fish coming over Lower Granite Dam now should start being caught in a week.
Hells Canyon Fishery
The Hells Canyon fishery is often one of the first to start up. In fact, our creel crew check one adult last week and we estimated a harvest of three fish. Expect this fishery to pick up in a week as well.
Well the fishery is upon us. I hope you all are getting your gear ready as if the fish aren’t in the area you like to fish now, they should be there soon. - Joe DuPont, Clearwater Region Fishery Manager