Upper Salmon River Chinook Update via IDFG – 6.28.23
By angelamontana

Posted: June 28, 2023
The Chinook have started to arrive.

Hi everyone, the upper Salmon River fishery opened this past Thursday (6/22/23), and during the first four days of the fishery we estimated that 10 hatchery adult Chinook Salmon were harvested. Angler effort was low during the first week, and we estimated that anglers fished for 548 hours between Thursday and Sunday. No anglers reported catching a jack or releasing any salmon which resulted in an average harvest rate of 55 hours per Chinook Salmon kept.


The upper Salmon River fishery is open 7 days a week, and will remain open until harvest share is reached, wild fish impacts are reached, or until August 10th, whichever comes first. The fishery is open from the Hwy 75 bridge upstream of the East Fork Salmon River upstream to the posted boundary approximately 100 yards downstream of the weir and trap at the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery. Fishing hours are from 5:30am to 10:00 pm MDT. The daily limit is four (4) hatchery Chinook salmon, only two (2) of which may be adults (over 24 inches). For the full season rules, please click here.


Since the last update, we haven’t seen any additional Sawtooth hatchery PIT tagged Chinook Salmon cross over Bonneville Dam. This means that the table below remains unchanged from last week’s update.

USR Bonneville 6-27-23


An additional 88 Sawtooth hatchery PIT tagged Chinook Salmon crossed over Lower Granite Dam since last week, and survival from Bonneville Dam to Lower Granite Dam continues to be better than average (currently 87% vs. 70% over the past 5 years). So far, 84% of the upper Salmon River Chinook that are over Bonneville Dam have made it over Lower Granite Dam. The above average survival rate continues to bump up the harvest share for the upper Salmon River fishery, and it is currently sitting at just under 1,000 fish (see table below).


Since last Wednesday, we have detected 15 additional PIT tagged Sawtooth and Yankee Fork fish at the Elevenmile PIT array (~11 miles upstream of Salmon). The travel times from Lower Granite to the Elevenmile array continue to be slightly longer than normal, but with river flows dropping, we would expect fish detected at this array to make it upstream of the East Fork within 5 to 7 days.


The upper Salmon River is currently flowing at about 1,700 cfs (measured at the gauge below the Yankee Fork) which is 67% of average. The river’s clarity upstream of the East Fork was excellent throughout last week, and we expect fishing conditions to keep improving as we move into July and flows continue to drop.


Now that river flows have dropped, Sawtooth Hatchery personnel were able to put the weir in on Tuesday, June 26th. Once salmon start arriving to the hatchery, the numbers will be updated on the Hatchery Returns webpage, so make sure to bookmark that page if you want to stay up-to-date with the trapping totals.

If you have questions, comments, or would like to be added to my email update list, please reach out to me at: greg.schoby@idfg.idaho.gov or at the Salmon Regional Office at (208) 756-2271.

(report via Idaho Fish and Game)
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