2024 Upper Salmon River Chinook fishery update 5.25.24
By angelamontana

Posted: May 25, 2024

Hi all,

I’ve been getting a lot of calls from folks this week asking about the potential for a Chinook fishery in the upper Salmon this year, so thought I’d share a quick update on where we are at.

Currently, we are watching dam counts and PIT tag passage at Bonneville Dam like many of you. I’ve been telling everyone that this week will be the make or break if we’re able to have a fishery or not…and it appears we’ll be watching a few more days to get a better idea of what the return to the upper Salmon will look like.

The Pahsimeroi return is expected be low, as there was a disease outbreak when these fish were released as juveniles a couple of years ago. We lost about half of this release group before they left the hatchery. We have seen a few PIT tags to-date, and as many of you know, for the most part these fish cross Bonneville a couple of weeks after the Sawtooth return, so we’re hopeful that we’ll continue to see those fish return and get enough to meet our broodstock need.

The Sawtooth run is fairing a little bit better, and right now, we’re a bit past the half-way mark of Sawtooth chinook crossing Bonneville. Right now, we’re estimating a small surplus that may provide a fishery (~450 fish harvest share), but it will depend on what we see over the next week or so. A few more days of tagged fish (or not) could swing this either way.

As most of you know, the number of wild fish returning will dictate the location of the lower boundary of any fishery we propose. And unfortunately the wild fish returns are relatively low this year, so it’s likely that any fishery we have will be limited to the upper reaches (likely above Valley Cr) to Sawtooth.

The IDFG commission will be meeting on June 12 to hear any summer Chinook season proposals.

I’ll send out another update next week when we have more information to share.

Thanks, and I hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend.


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