Upper Salmon River Chinook Fishery update 7.3.24
By angelamontana

Posted: July 4, 2024

Hi everyone, the Upper Salmon River fishery was open last week from June 26 to June 30 (Thursday to Sunday). Salmon angler effort increased considerably, and we estimated that anglers spent 1,328 hours targeting Chinook Salmon during the second week. Additionally, we estimated that anglers harvested 28 hatchery adults and 14 hatchery jacks and released three hatchery jacks and four wild adults. Anglers averaged 27 hours per salmon caught and 32 hours per salmon kept.


Nothing has changed since last week’s update regarding the fishery rules, but we are planning on continuing to include this paragraph in all upcoming reports to make it easier for anyone unaware of the rules to find the information.

The Upper Salmon River fishery is open 4 days a week (Thursday – Sunday), and it will reopen each Thursday until harvest share is reached, wild fish impacts are reached, or until August 10th, whichever comes first. The fishery is open from 100 yards upstream of the Valley Creek confluence 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.


The table below was included in last week’s report, and it shows the pre-season forecast and current (as of July 1st) PIT tag estimate at Bonneville Dam for adipose-clipped adult salmon returning to the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery. We did not detect any additional Sawtooth adult salmon at Bonneville Dam during the past week, so the numbers in the table have not changed. Since we are not anticipating any more changes to this table, this will be the last report where we show estimates from Bonneville Dam. Instead, we will focus on what has crossed Lower Granite Dam.

USR_ChinookUpdate_7_3_24_Table 1

As of July 1st,  1,545 Sawtooth hatchery PIT tagged adult Chinook Salmon have crossed over Lower Granite Dam which is an increase of 81 from last week (table below). Those of you that have been following along with the upper Salmon River updates know that we had a late push of PIT-tagged fish come over Bonneville Dam. As mentioned in last week’s report, survival from Bonneville Dam to Lower Granite Dam for Sawtooth Hatchery adult salmon had been above average, but unfortunately, we have seen survival drop during the past week. Most of those later arriving PIT tags have not showed up at Lower Granite Dam yet, and it appears unlikely that they will survive at as high of a rate as the earlier groups, which will affect our harvest share. With this reduced survival, we are now estimating that ~71% of the Sawtooth adult salmon will make it over Lower Granite Dam. If we calculate the harvest share using a 71% survival rate, then that leaves us with a harvest share estimate of approximately 295 hatchery adult salmon. If none of those late-arriving fish cross Lower Granite, our harvest share would be 256 hatchery adult Chinook. The harvest share estimate is not finalized and will continue to change as the remaining PIT-tagged Sawtooth Hatchery adult salmon either cross, or do not cross Lower Granite Dam, but it’s likely that the harvest share will end up in that 250-300 fish range.

Ultimately, even with this reduction to the harvest share, we only estimate that 30 adults have been harvested in the first two weeks of the fishery which means there is still a lot of harvest share remaining.

USR_Chinook update_7_3_24_Table 2


The Upper Salmon River is currently flowing at about 1,140 cfs (measured at the gauge below the Yankee Fork) which is 53% of average. These lower flows have resulted in excellent visibility through the fishery area for the past two weeks. Water temperatures on Sunday (June 30th) we near 60°F, but these temperatures will likely climb this week with the hot weather that is forecasted for this upcoming weekend.



As of yesterday July 2nd, 577 adipose-clipped adult salmon have returned to the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery. Hatchery trapping numbers will be updated throughout the summer on the IDFG Hatchery Returns webpage, so make sure to bookmark that page if you want to stay up-to-date with the trapping totals.

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