Chinook are Arriving Later Than Usual.
Chinook fishing on the Clearwater, Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers opens April 28 and will run until closed by the Fish and Game director.
Fisheries managers are forecasting a run of 66,000 spring Chinook, roughly double last year’s return and slightly above the 10-year average of 62,000, but so far, few fish have started crossing the dams and only six had crossed Lower Granite Dam near Lewiston as of April 21.
Fisheries managers are watching the timing of the run and numbers of fish crossing the dams. With so few in Idaho, there’s no reason to postpone the opener, and “if the fish don’t materialize, we have options,” F&G Anadromous Fish Manager Lance Hebdon said.
Included in the forecast are 53,000 hatchery Chinook and 13,000 wild Chinook. The 2017 return was 30,000 and 4,000.
Rules will include open fishing four days per week, Thursdays through Sundays, in the Clearwater drainage and seven days per week in the Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake rivers.
Daily bag limits will be four per day with no more than one being an adult (24-inches or longer) in the Clearwater River system and four per day with no more than two being adults in the Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake rivers.
Sections of the Clearwater River open for fishing will include:
• Mainstem Clearwater from Camas Prairie Bridge upstream to the mouth of the South Fork of the Clearwater River.
• North Fork Clearwater from mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam.
• South Fork Clearwater from mouth upstream to the confluence of American and Red rivers
• Middle Fork Clearwater from South Fork Clearwater upstream to the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway rivers.
• Salmon River will be open from Rice Creek Bridge upstream to the uppermost boat ramp at Vinegar Creek.
• Little Salmon River will be open from the mouth upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 bridge near Smokey Boulder Road.
• Snake River will be open from Dug Bar boat ramp to Hells Canyon Dam.