Upper Salmon River Chinook update – 6.10.22
By angelamontana

Posted: June 10, 2022

A message from Greg Schoby | Regional Fisheries Manager with Idaho Fish and Game on chinook salmon:

Hi everybody,

Here’s the latest information on the proposed Chinook salmon fishing season in the upper Salmon River.

The IDFG Commission will be meeting by conference call next Tuesday (6/14) at 9 am to review season proposals for the upper Salmon, South Fork Salmon, and Lochsa rivers.  For the upper Salmon River, we’ve proposed opening the river for adipose-clipped hatchery Chinook fishing from the North Fork Salmon River upstream to Sawtooth Hatchery (standard boundary 100 yards below the weir/trap). The proposal includes a bag limit of 4 chinook (only 2 of which may be adults) and 7 days per week fishing. For complete details on the meeting and the upper Salmon River proposal (as well as the Lochsa and SF Salmon proposals), click here.

Regarding harvest shares, we’ve only seen a few additional PIT tags for the Sawtooth return and since about 90% of that run is over Bonneville Dam now, it’s looking like it will come in just a little below the pre-season forecast. Although we’re a little below the pre-season forecast, so far the survival from Bonneville Dam to Lower Granite Dam has been higher than average at ~82% vs. 66% historically. The Sawtooth return, in combination with some hatchery fish that were released from the Yankee Fork Salmon River, should result in a harvest share between 500 and 700 adults in the upper Salmon.

For the Pahsimeroi return, it is still coming in well above the forecast. As a reminder, we were only forecasting about 1,200 adults over Bonneville heading to the Pahsimeroi. To date, we have over 2,000 Pahsimeroi adults over Bonneville and we should be about 60% of the way through the run. If things taper off and we don’t see many more Pahsimeroi fish, the harvest share will come in around 500 fish, but if this return continues on average timing, we could have a harvest share near 1,000 fish – so we’ve still got a little ways to go on this one, but will likely land in the 500 – 1,000 range for harvest share. Either way, this could provide some good fishing in areas where we haven’t been able to provide much opportunity in recent years, which is exciting.

So stay tuned to the Commission’s decision on Tuesday. This will be a quick turnaround with the season opener the following Saturday (6/18) if approved. I’ll send out another email after the Commission meeting, and as always, information will be available on the IDFG webpage.

Thanks everyone!