Outdoors

Idaho adopts spring chinook fishing seasons

A spring chinook salmon caught in the Salmon River near Riggins, Idaho, in spring 2010. (Exodus Wilderness Adventures)
A spring chinook salmon caught in the Salmon River near Riggins, Idaho, in spring 2010. (Exodus Wilderness Adventures)

SALMON FISHING — Anglers will be able to start fishing for a big run of chinook salmon in Idaho waters on April 22 under a fishing seasons and rules package adopted today by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

Chinook fishing will open in the Clearwater River, Snake River, Little Salmon and lower Salmon River in what's could be the third largest run since the fishery opened 12 years ago.

Closing dates will be announced later by Idaho Fish and Game Department officials.

The season is based on forecasts that an estimated 83,600 adult hatchery origin fish will cross Lower Granite Dam.

Read on for season details as released minutes ago by Idaho Fish and Game.

In the Clearwater River drainage the daily limit is be four Chinook, only two may be adults (24 or more inches long), but only one adult may be from the North Fork Clearwater. The possession limit is 12, only six may be adults.

In the Snake River from Dug Bar to Hells Canyon Dam, the lower Salmon and the Little Salmon rivers, the daily limit is four Chinook, only two may be adults. The possession limit is 12, only six may be adults.

The statewide annual limit is 20 adult Chinook in the 2012 seasons occurring before September 1, 2012.

Daylight fishing hours will be published in the season brochure.

Waters that open April 2s are:

  • Clearwater River, main stem:
  • Lower– from the Camas Prairie Railroad Bridge at Lewiston upstream to the Cherrylane Bridge
  • Middle– from the Cherrylane Bridge upstream to the Orofino Bridge, excluding the perimeter of Dworshak National Fish Hatchery at Ahsahka, and excluding the ladder to the Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery as marked by posted boundaries about 100 yards upstream and downstream of the ladder and extending into the river about 50 yards.
  • Upper– from the Orofino Bridge upstream to the South Fork Clearwater River.
  • North Fork Clearwater: From the mouth to the Dworshak Dam, excluding the perimeter of the Dworshak National Hatchery at Ahsahka.
  • South Fork Clearwater: From its mouth to the confluence of the American and Red rivers.
  • Middle Fork Clearwater: From the South Fork upstream to the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway rivers.
  • Lochsa River:From its mouth to the Twin Bridges immediately upstream from the confluence of Crooked Fork and Colt Killed Creeks.
  • Lower Salmon River:
  • Pine Bar– From the Rice Creek Bridge upstream to the posted boundary about 200 yards downstream of the Hammer Creek boat ramp.
  • Hammer Creek– From a posted boundary about 200 yards downstream from the Hammer Creek boat ramp upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 Time Zone Bridge.
  • Park Hole– From the Time Zone Bridge upstream to a posted boundary at the mouth of Short’s Creek, about 1.4 miles upstream of the mouth of the Little Salmon River.
  • Vinegar Creek – From posted boundary at the mouth of Shorts’ Creek upstream to the uppermost boat ramp at Vinegar Creek.
  • Little Salmon:
  • Lower– From the mouth to a posted boundary about 200 yards upstream of the mouth of the Rapid River.
  • Upper– from the posted boundary about 200 yards upstream of the Rapid River upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 Bridge near Smokey Boulder Road.
  • Snake River: From the Dug Bar boat ramp upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.

All these waters will remain open until further notice. All salmon anglers 14 years old and older must have a 2012 Idaho fishing license and salmon permit.

Seasons for Chinook fishing in the South Fork Salmon and the upper Salmon rivers will be proposed to the commission at the scheduled May meeting.

Detailed seasons and rules will be published in a pamphlet later this month and will also be available on the Fish and Game website.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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