Spring chinook seasons set
March 20, 2017
By Mike Demick
IDFG Conservation Information Supervisor
Idaho Fish and Game commissioners approved the
spring chinook seasons and rules for the Snake,
Clearwater, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers
during its regular meeting Thursday, March 16,
Fishing will open April 22, with a
four-day-a-week season on the Clearwater River
and daily fishing on the Snake, lower Salmon and
Little Salmon rivers. Once open, the seasons
will continue as set until further notice. The
season typically ends when the sport anglers'
share of the run is caught, which varies by
Chinook have just started entering the Columbia
River and less than 15 have crossed Bonneville
Dam, which is the first of eight dams the fish
cross in the Columbia/Snake river systems. The
forecast for this year is adult 49,400 hatchery
fish to cross Lower Granite Dam about 25 miles
downstream from Lewiston, which is the last dam
the fish cross before reaching Idaho. Last year,
an estimated adult 58,200 hatchery chinook
crossed Lower Granite.
Because the projected return to the Clearwater
River basin is down this year, and the sport
anglers share is about 1,900 adult fish, fishing
will be open Thursdays through Sundays and
closed Mondays to Wednesdays.
“Fishing four-days-a-week will extend the
season, which anglers told us they wanted,” said
Joe DuPont, Fish and Game regional fisheries
manager at Lewiston. “This will also allow us to
calculate real time harvest rates so that
harvest can be better distributed to all the
communities throughout the basin.”
Anglers should note that the section of the
Clearwater from Five Mile Boat Ramp to Kamiah
will be closed this year to make it easier for
fisheries officials to monitor harvest rates.
Anglers should consult the 2017 spring chinook
salmon seasons and rules brochure for other
rules and special restrictions regarding fishing
from shore and watercraft. Brochures will be
available at Fish and Game offices, license
vendors and online prior to season opener.
Areas open to spring chinook fishing include:
Clearwater River drainage –
open Thursday through Sunday
* Mainstem Clearwater River from Camas Prairie Railroad Bridge at
Lewiston upstream to the Five Mile Boat Ramp
(about three miles upstream of Greer); and from
Kamiah Bridge to the mouth of the South Fork
* North Fork of the Clearwater from the mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam.
* South Fork Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to the confluence
of American and Red rivers.
* Middle Fork Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to the confluence
of the Lochsa and Selway rivers.
Salmon River drainage – open
seven days a week
* Lower Salmon River from Rice Creek Bridge near Cottonwood upstream to
the uppermost boat ramp at Vinegar Creek.
* Little Salmon River from the mouth upstream to the U.S. Highway 95
bridge near Smokey Boulder Road.
Snake River – open seven days a
* Snake River from Dug Bar boat ramp upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
Bag limits for the Clearwater River, North Fork,
Middle Fork and South Fork of the Clearwater
rivers are four chinook per day, only one may be
an adult (24 inches or longer) and 12 in
possession, only three may be adults.
Limits for the Snake River, lower Salmon River
and Little Salmon River are four chinook, only
two may be adults and 12 in possession, only six
may be adults.
Season limit is 20 adult chinook salmon
statewide during 2017 for salmon seasons
occurring prior to Sept. 1, 2017.
Only hatchery chinook with a clipped adipose fin
may be kept by anglers, and all others must be
released unharmed. Chinook anglers are also
restricted to barbless hooks.
The Fish and Game Commission is scheduled to
decide on summer chinook salmon fisheries on the
Lochsa River, South Fork Salmon River and upper
Salmon River at its May meeting. Fish return to
those areas later than to the Clearwater River
and Rapid River hatcheries, allowing fishery
managers more time to develop season proposals.
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