Many of you have asked if there will be chinook in the section of the Upper Salmon River that will open to salmon fishing this Friday (6/26). As a reminder, the fishery will be open from the South Butte boat ramp near Clayton, upstream to the posted boundary below Sawtooth Hatchery. The season opens 6/26 and will run Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and the bag limit is four (4) adipose clipped salmon per day, of which only two (2) can be adults. For complete rules, click here.
As far as fish being in the fishery, there will be fish there, but this years’ run bound for Sawtooth Hatchery seems to be spread out more than usual. The first PIT tagged Sawtooth fish to cross Bonneville Dam in the lower Columbia was on April 23rd and the last was on June 12th. These PIT tagged fish then have crossed Lower Granite Dam between May 16th and as recently as June 23rd. We’ve seen two PIT tagged fish cross the Eleven Mile PIT array on June 20th. This PIT array is about 11 miles upstream of the town of Salmon, and about 70 river miles downstream of the lower boundary of the fishery. Based on past PIT tag data and migration timing, it takes Sawtooth fish ~12 days to get from the Eleven Mile array to the trap at Sawtooth hatchery. So this first batch of fish should be within the fishery area when it opens this weekend, and based on how fish crossed the dams, groups of fish should keep showing up throughout the season.
Conversion of PIT tagged Sawtooth fish from Bonneville to Lower Granite has been about average for this group of fish (64% vs. 66% average). Currently, our sport fishery harvest share is 351 fish. This may go up slightly as one PIT tagged fish has yet to cross Lower Granite. If this fish converts, harvest share will jump up to 424. I’ll keep you updated on where the harvest share ends up.
That’s all for now, and best of luck!
Greg Schoby | Regional Fisheries Manager | Idaho Department of Fish and Game