I’m happy to pass along the good news that we will be having a Chinook fishery in the Upper Salmon River this season. This has been an unusual year to say the least, with extremely high water and late-returning fish. Normally, our upper Salmon season is set at the May IDFG Commission meeting, but this year we did not have enough data (i.e. PIT tagged fish crossing Bonneville Dam) to move forward with any proposals at that time. High flows throughout the Columbia basin seemed to have delayed migration into the system, but in the past ~2 weeks we have seen a fair number of fish crossing Bonneville Dam.
I’ve attached the official proposal for the Upper Salmon and South Fork Salmon River fisheries, as well as the Clearwater, Little and Lower Salmon fisheries. All were approved this a.m. by the Commission.
As far as the upper Salmon goes, at this point we are seeing decent numbers of fish from Sawtooth Hatchery crossing Bonneville Dam, and therefore will be opening the Upper Salmon River from the Hwy 93 S bridge in Challis (locally known as the “junction” bridge – just south of the intersection of Hwy 75 and Hwy 93) upstream to the posted boundary ~100 yards downstream of Sawtooth Hatchery. Current numbers of Pahsimeroi Hatchery stocks are too low for us to open the fishery further downstream. Bag limits will be similar to what we’ve had in the past (4 Chinook salmon, only 2 of which can be adults). Please note that opening day for the Upper Salmon Chinook fishery will be Thursday, June 22 – this date was chosen to keep the opener consistent with other fisheries.
Please review the attached proposal for further details.
Currently we are looking at an estimated adult harvest share of about 650 adult Chinook in the upper Salmon fishery. This number is likely to change as things progress, so I will keep you updated. Also, things seem to be shaping up for us to see a significant number of jacks in the fishery as well.
Right now, the Salmon River is running over near all-time highs, with 8,000 cfs at Clayton and over 15,000 cfs in the town of Salmon, with some flooding starting to occur. The river is predicted peak early next week, but all depends on the weather and snowmelt. My assumption is that the river will still be high by the June 22nd opener, but hopefully it will at least be fishable.
Thanks for your time, and as always, feel free to contact me with any questions.
I will start sending updates in the following weeks, and as the fishery progresses. If you do not want to receive these updates, please contact me and I will remove you from the list.
Regional Fisheries Manager, Idaho Department of Fish and Game – Salmon Regio