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Upper Salmon River Weekly Chinook Update – 7/21/16
By angelamontana


Similar to last weeks’ report, the current topic of discussion and the majority of questions we’ve been getting at the office is “how long can we keep the upper Salmon River Chinook fishery open?” In last weeks’ report, I estimated that anglers had been taking between 250 and 350 fish per week and based on that we’d end up with somewhere around 1,100 fish harvested by this report…

Well, that was not the case, as effort dropped off this past week, anglers harvested an estimated 167 fish from the upper river, bringing our season total to 954. While the overall effort was down, for those anglers that showed up, we actually saw the highest catch rates of season (10 hours per fish caught in section 19) – see Brent’s report below for more details.

Our harvest share is sitting at 1,350, and we’ve harvested an estimated 954, so with ~200 fish harvested per week, we’ll be able to keep the fishery open through this weekend (7/24) and likely through the next week and weekend (7/31).

Catch, harvest, effort, and hours per fish courtesy of Brent Beller from our harvest monitoring program….

Angler Catch/Harvest and River Conditions (7/11 – 7/17)

The upper reach of the Salmon River near Stanley, ID continued to fish well over the past week. The majority of angler effort was located near Stanley, but effort in this area declined considerably from the previous week. Angler effort near the Pahsimeroi River confluence in location code 17 was similar to the previous week. Chinook anglers in location code 17 averaged an estimated 41 hours per Chinook caught and 71 hours per hatchery Chinook harvested. Near Challis in location code 18, anglers averaged an estimated 50 hours per hatchery Chinook harvested. Upstream of the East Fork in location code 19, anglers averaged an estimated 10 hours per Chinook caught and 16 hours per hatchery Chinook harvested which were the best catch and harvest rates observed so far this season on the upper Salmon. At this point in the season, Chinook anglers have harvested an estimated 121 adult hatchery Chinook downstream of the Pahsimeroi River and 954 adult hatchery Chinook upstream of the Pahsimeroi River.

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*Location Code key (from downstream to upstream):

  • LC 15 – Copper mine boat ramp to North Fork Salmon River
  • LC 16 – North Fork Salmon River to Lemhi River
  • LC 17 – Lemhi River to Pahsimeroi River
  • LC 18 – Pahsimeroi River to East Fork Salmon River
  • LC 19 – East Fork Salmon River to Sawtooth Hatchery

River Conditions:

Water conditions in the upper Salmon River remain good, and similar to most of the chinook fishery, flows have remained below average. Today (7/21) the Salmon River is flowing at 1,020 cfs through the town of Salmon, ID which is 50% of average for today’s date. Upstream near the Yankee Fork, the Salmon River is flowing at 673 cfs which is 65% of average. Morning water temperatures on Sunday were in the mid-50s near Stanley and in the upper 50s near the Pahsimeroi River confluence. These have likely crept up a bit higher as we’ve been experience day time high air temperatures in the low- to mid-90’s this week in Salmon.

Hatchery Returns:

Adult Chinook continue to return to both hatchery facilities. And similar to last week, the number of fish being trapped at Sawtooth hatchery has tapered off, but fish are still being trapped, while trapping at the Pahsimeroi has remained fairly steady (see below).  As of July 19th, 550 hatchery adult Chinook had returned to the Pahsimeroi Hatchery, and 1,089 hatchery adult Chinook had returned to the Sawtooth Hatchery.

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