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Tue., May 7, 2013, 12:54 p.m.

Idaho spring chinook run offers more optimism

Salmon River fishing guide Norm Klobetanz of Exodus Wilderness Adventures maneuvers his drift boat through a jet-boat deterring rapid. Floating the Salmon River is half the fun for anglers. With him is Amy Sinclair, co-owner of Exodus Wilderness Adventures based in Riggins. (Rich Landers)
Salmon River fishing guide Norm Klobetanz of Exodus Wilderness Adventures maneuvers his drift boat through a jet-boat deterring rapid. Floating the Salmon River is half the fun for anglers. With him is Amy Sinclair, co-owner of Exodus Wilderness Adventures based in Riggins. (Rich Landers)

FISHING -- Things are looking somewhat better, according to a just-posted report on the run of spring chinook salmon headed for Idaho waters.

Here's what Joe DuPont, Idaho Fish and Game's regional fisheries manager in Lewiston, has to say:

I would say that things are looking better this week than last.  For the Clearwater River drainage, it looks like our harvest share will be somewhere between 300 and 1,000 adult fish (see last two columns in the table below).  If this trend continues it may allow us to expand the area we have open to fishing.  The Commission will be meeting next week on May 16 and will likely make a decision on this.  For the Riggins area fishery, it looks like the harvest share will end up somewhere between 1,500 and 2,500 adult fish. 

The exciting news is the Jacks are starting to pour over Bonneville Dam like we have never seen before.  In my glance over past year’s data, it looks like the only year when we had more Jacks over by this date was 2000, and that was a really early run year.  If this continues, the Jacks should provide an excellent fishery especially seeing they tend to be easier to catch than the adults.  The Commission may also look at Jack limits during their meeting next week as well. 

To date, the only place we have documented harvest of Chinook salmon is in the lower Clearwater River.  Based on our creel surveys, we estimated that 6 adults were harvested since the season started.  In the future I will also provide a table that shows how many fish were harvested in different reaches so you all can follow along to see where the fishing is good and how close we may be to closing down harvest in various reaches. 

Right now decent numbers of Chinook salmon are starting to come over Lower Granite Dam so I suspect fishing will get much better during the next four day stretch on the Clearwater River assuming the river stays fishable.  The rivers are all supposed to rise due to these warm temperatures we are experiencing.  We have already collected one Chinook salmon at the Rapid River trap so I suspect some fish will be caught over the next week in the Riggins area assuming the river remain fishable.

Fish should also start showing up at Hells Canyon Dam and I expect a few will be caught there over the next week as well.  As a reminder, the Cleawater River drainage is only open to Chinook fishing 4 days a week (Friday through Monday) whereas the Riggins area and Hells Canyon fisheries are open 7 days a week. 




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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