Posts tagged: Snake River
FISHING — Anglers harvested 21 chinook in Washington's Snake River fishery area at Clarkston last week. That leaves about 30 fish in the allocation for the Snake River.
Washington Fish and Wildlife officials are considering whether to continue the Clarkston fishery through this next weekend (May 26 & 27), said Glen Mendel, Snake River fisheries biologist.
“At this time, it appears likely that the fishery will remain open, but should that change,” he said, noting the emergency rule would be posted online and by email.
The future of this season's spring chinook fishing season after Memorial Day in the Washington portion of the Snake River depends on decisions the Technical Advisory Committee is likely to make after re-evaluating run size on Tuesday (May 28).
FISHING — Here's an update to with more and clearer details regarding my earlier post on Idaho's decision to close fishing for adult spring chinook salmon in the Clearwater River. This was just released from Idaho Fish and Game's Lewiston office.
Tuesday, May 21, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game closed the lower Clearwater River from the Camas Prairie Railroad Bridge in Lewiston to the Cherrylane Bridge to all salmon fishing. The other sections of the Clearwater previously open to salmon fishing will remain open for harvest of jack salmon four days per week, Friday through Monday.
Sections of the Clearwater River basin that remain open to jacks-only harvest include:
- The mainstem Clearwater: From Lenore Bridge to Greer Bridge
- The North Fork Clearwater River: From the mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam excluding the perimeter of the Dworshak National Hatchery at Ahsahka. Fishing from any watercraft is prohibited.
- The Middle Fork Clearwater: From the mouth of the South Fork Clearwater River upstream to the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway rivers.
- The South Fork Clearwater: From its mouth upstream to the confluence of the American and Red rivers.
Anglers are not be allowed to retain adult Chinook salmon anywhere in the Clearwater basin, but can continue to retain four adipose fin-clipped salmon less than 24 inches total length (jacks), per day. Jack salmon count against the daily limit but need not be recorded on the salmon permit. There is no season limit for jacks.
Jacks are salmon that return after one year in the ocean. They are relatively abundant this year, are not necessary in the brood stock and are all available for harvest. Managers estimate that over 2000 jacks returning to hatcheries in the Clearwater River will be available for harvest by sport anglers.
Fishery managers had consistently predicted that a relatively small number of adult hatchery Chinook salmon would return to the Clearwater River in 2013 and that over 50 percent would be needed to fill the hatchery brood stock quota. With the support of the public, managers structured a conservative fishery framework that allowed fishing four days per week with a daily limit of one adult Chinook salmon per day. The hatchery fish available for harvest are shared with Tribal fishers, resulting in less than 25 percent of the hatchery adults available for the sport fishery. Excellent fishing conditions and a pulse of fish moving through the lower Clearwater River resulted in the sport fishery achieving the harvest objective more quickly than expected.
Salmon fisheries on the Snake, lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers remain unchanged at this time.
FISHING — Salmon fishing on the Snake River has been closed in the lower two spring chinook fishery zones near Ice Harbor and Little Goose, but will remain open in the Clarkston area.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department issued the notice today at 4:20 p.m.
The closure affects Zones A and B:
Zone A) Below Ice Harbor: Snake River from the South Bound Highway 12 Bridge at Pasco upstream about 7 miles to the fishing restriction boundary below Ice Harbor Dam;
Zone B) Below Little Goose: Snake River from Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river upstream of the mouth of Tucannon River) to Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility (includes the walkway area locally known as “the Wall” in front of the juvenile collection facility).
Fishing will still be allowed in Zone C: Open May 19 and 20, and then open two days per week (Sunday and Monday) until further notice.
Zone C) Clarkston: Snake River from the intersection of Steptoe Canyon Road with the Wawawai River Road on the Whitman County shore upriver approximately 12 miles to the Washington state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the WA/ID boundary waters marker on the Whitman County shore).
Read on for more details.
FISHING — The long-term news is not great, but in the short term anglers should be prepared this weekend to take advantage of spring chinook streaming into Idaho waters.
Joe DuPont, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager just posted an update on all the details. In addition to the above details, he gives the sobering news that last week's surge of salmon hundreds of miles downstream into the mouth of the Columbia has pooped out.
As the Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners prepare to set chinook seasons during a Thursday meeting in Coeur d'Alene, read on for some of the data they'll be working with, as summarized by DuPont:
SALMON — Fishing for spring chinook on the selected open stretches of the Snake River in Washington was good this week, except that Monday afternoon the weather changed and blew a lot of folks off the water, reports Glen Mendel, state Snake River fisheries biologist.
Anglers must check the rules carefully and stay tuned.
The Snake River has taken most of its harvest allocation, Mendel said in an email a few minutes ago.
The lower two zones (Ice Harbor and Little Goose) of the Snake River will close, so they will NOT be open during the next Friday and Saturday or Sunday and Monday (May 17 & 18, and 19 & 20).
The Clarkston area will remain open for another two day period on May 19 and 20, so they will have an opportunity to take the remaining salmon available in the Snake River allocation.
Department staff are in the process to get approval for the emergency closure regulation and provide a public announcement out within the next day or so.
More from Mendel:
The Technical Advisory Committee met Monday morning and reduced the Columbia River upriver spring Chinook adult run prediction to 107,500 (down from 141,400 pre-season prediction). They will meet again next Monday to look reconsider the run estimate.
Now that the in-season run update has occurred, the remaining commercial and sport harvest that is available to the lower Columbia River under the original buffered run prediction can be taken. Therefore, the area below Bonneville is proposed to reopen for harvest. Those fisheries had closed in April below Bonneville, and early May (for zone 6 from Bonneville to the Oregon State line upstream of McNary Dam), and they had left part of their harvest allocations on the table to ensure that they did not affect the Snake River fisheries or overshoot their allocations if the run came in short of the 30% buffered run prediction.
For example, below Bonneville sport had left nearly 30% of their harvest allocation untaken, so now they are going back to get that portion.
Some anglers in the past have been upset that the Snake River closes and the lower river reopens, but each zone (below Bonneville, Bonneville to Oregon line, and the lower Snake River) of the mainstem Columbia River and lower Snake are allocated a certain percentage of the ESA impacts and harvest. As long as the total non-tribal harvest or ESA impacts remain within the limits agreed to with other fishery managers for the determined run size, each zone is allowed to try to harvest their allocation, even if that means reopening after other areas have closed.
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.
FISHING — Following up with today's setting of limited Idaho spring chinook salmon fishing seasons on the Clearwater, Snake and Salmon rivers, the Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager in Lewiston is offering more details to help anglers understand the situation.
“In some areas, I think people will be satisfied with these rules and in others, maybenot so much,” DuPont concluded. “This has certainly been tough on us in Idaho Fish and Game when setting these seasons and rules, as there is still a lot of uncertainty. We also know how important this fishery is to all of you, and it hurts to start the season with such restrictive rules in the Clearwater River drainage.
“For some better news, the Jack run is starting out good. Let’s hope it continues as it could provide us some good fishing opportunities, and it is an indicator of good things to come.”
FISHING — Moments after Idaho announced a limited spring chinook salmon fishing season that will start on May 4, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department Snake River fisheries biologist Glen Mendel has just issued this update on spring chinook from his perspective.
As many of you have undoubted seen at the Fish Passage Center website, the Chinook counts at Bonneville Dam spiked at over 5,000 per day, but they quickly dropped within a few days to about 2,500. What we don’t know right now is whether another spike in fish numbers is coming soon or not. If not, the run could be very small this year. As of yesterday, the Chinook run is ahead of last year at this time, but well below the 10 yr average, for Bonneville, Ice Harbor and Lower Granite dams. The next few days could be very informative about the likely run size. The Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) is likely to update the run prediction next week.
The Ice Harbor (IHR) fishery began last Friday and ran through Saturday. We that fishery to be open again on Friday and Saturday of May 3 & 4. We had staff sampling the fishery on both days last week. We heard about one adult Chinook kept and one lost but we could not confirm that. Our estimates so far are shown below. The daily ladder window counts should increase substantially by this next Friday.
Ave. number of Shore Anglers
Ave. number of Boat Anglers
Catch Rate (hrs/fish)
The Little Goose and Clarkston area fisheries ran on Sunday and Monday. There was almost no fishing effort, and there was no catch, at Clarkston because few Chinook have reached there yet (only about 20-30 per day at Lower Granite Dam). Little Goose had modest angling effort both days, and it was windy on Monday. So far we have observed that they kept 4 Chinook at Little Goose during our sampling surveys. We are still entering data and doing estimates but total harvest here might be 5 or 6 fish. The counts at Little Goose will probably be over 100 Chinook today and continue to climb so fishing should get better soon.
FISHING — Idaho will open a spring Chinook salmon fishing season on Saturday, May 4, on parts of the Clearwater, Salmon and Snake rivers, according to rules adopted today by the state Fish and Game Commission.
Fish counts from Bonneville Dam suggest that the 2013 return of Chinook salmon to Idaho may be significantly lower than forecast but large enough to support fisheries. Projected returns for the Clearwater River are farther below forecast levels than returns to the Salmon and Snake rivers.
Fish and Game tailored the 2013 fisheries proposals to meet hatchery broodstock needs, focus fishing efforts in areas where hatchery fish are most abundant, and still allow fishing in river reaches that anglers have grown accustomed to fishing in recent years.
The proposal for the Clearwater River approved by the commission achieves these goals by limiting fishing to four days per week and reducing the length of river open to fishing in each of the recently fished sections.
Only the Lochsa River is closed entirely to fishing.
Salmon returns to the Salmon and Snake rivers do not appear to be as far below forecast levels as those to the Clearwater. Fisheries in the Lower Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake rivers are similar to fisheries in recent years. These areas will be open seven days a week, and river sections recently fished will not be shortened – except the Shorts Bar to Vinegar Creek stretch of the lower Salmon River, which is closed.
Read on for details on Idaho areas open and closed to fishing.
FISHING — As Washington is opening limited spring chinook salmon fishing seasons on specified stretches of the Snake River this weekend (see details here), Idaho has set April 30 as the day fish managers will meet to decide on seasons.
Here's today's update from Joe DuPont, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager in Lewiston:
The Idaho Fish and Wildlife Commission will be meeting on April 30 to set our spring Chinook salmon seasons.
Since Monday, the number of Chinook salmon passing over Bonneville Dam has certainly picked up and not surprisingly so have the number of PIT-tagged fish destined for Idaho.
If you look at the table above, notice that the total number of Chinook salmon that we project to pass over Bonneville Dam in almost all cases is higher than what I showed you on Monday. There is still a big gap between what we project the harvest share will be with an average versus late run timing, so we aren’t out of the woods yet. However, it is looking more promising.
FISHING — A section of the Snake River below Ice Harbor Dam near Pasco will open to fishing for spring chinook salmon on Friday (April 26), the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has just announced.
Two other sections of the Snake near Little Goose Dam and Clarkston will open Sunday (April 28).
Each section of the river is scheduled to be open two days a week.
All three sections are open until further notice, but the fishery is not expected to remain open for more than a few weeks, said Glen Mendel, district fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Mendel encourages anglers to review the fishing rule change, posted on WDFW’s website.
Read on for more details from WDFW.
FISHING — After Idaho backed off making spring chinook salmon season predictions for lack of run information this week, Washington's Snake River fisheries biologist added his take today.
Glen Mendel of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife notes the spring chinook returns so far at Bonneville Dam and even at Snake River dams are above last year but well below the 10 year average.
Read on for his detailed update and predictions:
SALMON FISHING — The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has canceled its meeting set for today to set spring chinook salmon seasons because too few fish have made it over Bonneville Dam to predict the run into Idaho.
Here's the explanation, just received from Joe DuPont, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager in Lewiston.
I mentioned a couple weeks ago that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission was scheduled to meet today to set the spring Chinook Salmon season and limits. Due to the low number of PIT-tagged fish that have passed over Bonneville Dam (as of April 21, 2013), we felt it was too early to project how many salmon would eventually make it to Idaho. As a result, this commission meeting was cancelled, and we will likely announce later this week when the commission will reconvene to set the salmon season and limits.
I have provided the table (above) so you all can view the data we are working with that the will be used to estimate the number of fish that are destined for Idaho and eventually be used to set the Chinook salmon season and limits. I want you to focus on the last two columns of this table which summarizes how many fish would be available for harvest based on whether the run has an average timing or late timing.
For a Idaho spring Chinook run that has an average timing, about 30% of the run should have passed over Bonneville Dam by now. If this run has an average timing, you can see that it will be very weak and we won’t even have enough fish coming to Idaho to meet brood needs. For an Idaho spring Chinook run that has a late timing, less than 15% of the run should have passed over Bonneville Dam by now which means there will be a lot more to come. If the run is late, we are projecting there would be enough to have a fishery across the Clearwater Region. So, as you can see, it didn’t make much sense for the Commission to meet when there is so much uncertainty with how many fish will actually make it to Idaho.
Let’s all hope that the run is late and there will be enough coming to Idaho to have a fishery.
Stay tuned for more info to come next week.
An Idaho Fish and Game Commission teleconference to set 2013 salmon fishing seasons has been rescheduled for April 30.
FISHING — Anglers have until Monday to comment on proposals geared to helping them get the most out of a very limited spring chinook salmon fishing season being planned for the Snake River in late April and May.
“The 2013 run forecast is low, and following the restrictions of federal Endangered Species Act, the harvest allocation available for the Snake River is just 360 adipose-fin-clipped hatchery adults, at least until the in-season run update is available the first week of May,” says John Whalen, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife regional fisheries manager.
The agency is asking anglers to choose one of three options and let biologists know by email to help them make a decision that will please the most anglers.
Read on for details and the options from WDFW:
FISHING – Construction on a once-abandoned sockeye fish hatchery project in eastern Idaho intended to bolster Idaho’s breeding program is back on schedule, Idaho Fish and Game officials said.
The $13.5 million Springfield Fish Hatchery between Aberdeen and Blackfoot should be finished by November.
Hatchery manager Doug Engemann said the hatchery is intended to boost the number of endangered sockeye salmon returning to Redfish Lake near Stanley in central Idaho. The Bonneville Power Administration is paying for the hatchery that’s being built on a 73-acre site.
“We’re moving past the genetic conservation component of the program into a bonafide stock rebuilding, stock recovery program,” Engemann said.
RIVERS – The Corps of Engineers’ plan to dredge portions of the Lower Snake River is a touchy issue politically, economically and in regard so salmon and steelhead.
I know this because none of the fisheries biologists I contacted this month would comment. They all referred me to managers who referred me to documents their agencies were filing – on or after the public comment period that ended Tuesday for environmental impact statement on the Corps’ sediment management plan,
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game submitted comments to the Governor's Office to be incorporated into a package of State comments on the draft EIS.
Dredging is proposed at three sites in Lower Granite Reservoir and below Ice Harbor Dam because sediment buildup, an expected problem associated with dams, is interfering with commercial navigation.
Sam Mace of Save our Wild Salmon, says there’s a better idea that would be cheaper and more sustainable in the long run: Breach the dams.
Maintenance and operations costs for the lower Snake River barge transportation corridor greatly exceed its economic benefits, she says.
“With a growing project backlog and deepening federal deficits, these new analyses raise serious questions about the lower Snake waterway’s economic viability, and its burden to local communities and American taxpayers.”
The byproduct of such economic responsibility would be boosting endangered salmon runs with a natural, free-flowing river.
FISHING — Steelhead have been working their way into tributaries as they near their spawning areas after a long migration that started last year. Many anglers love this time of year, when the fish are more accessible in the smaller streams.
Recent angler surveys show catch rates to be 11 hours per fish caught on the Salmon River upstream of the East Fork, 17 hours per fish caught on the Little Salmon River, and 8 hours per fish caught on the South Fork Clearwater River, the Idaho Fish and Game Department says.
Steelhead fishing is considered very good anytime catch rates are lower than 20 hours per fish caught.
The spring harvest season closes March 31 on the Salmon River from the Lake Creek Bridge to Long Tom Creek – three-quarters of a mile upstream from the Middle Fork Salmon River.
But anglers can continue fishing through April 30 in most other steelhead waters, except the Little Salmon River, which stays open until May 15.
Other open waters include:
Snake Riverfrom the Washington state line at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
Clearwater RiverMainstem and Middle Fork from its mouth upstream to Clear Creek.
North Fork Clearwater Riverfrom its mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam.
South Fork Clearwater Riverfrom its mouth upstream to the confluence of American and Red Rivers.
Salmon Riverfrom its mouth upstream to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream of the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery weir near Stanley. Except the reach from the Lake Creek Bridge to Long Tom Creek, which closes March 31.
Spring steelhead limits are three fish per day and nine in possession with no more than 20 fish for the season. Once limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing, even catch and release.
Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks, and may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin, as evidenced by a healed scar. All other steelhead must be released immediately.
Consult Idaho's 2013-2015 fishing rules book for special restrictions and limits.
Idaho has required a valid 2013 fishing license and steelhead permit since Jan. 1 in order to fish for steelhead.
FISHING — The steelhead forecast for the Columbia and Snake rivers — just released by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife — calls for a sizeable increase in the number of fish that provided great fishing last summer in the upper Columbia River.
Joe Hymer, the WDFW salmon-steelhead monitor in Vancouver, release a fact sheet noting that 339,000 upriver summer steelhead are predicted to return to the Columbia River this year, about 110,000 more than returned in 2012.
The forecast calls for:
See the attached document for the latest forecast for spring chinook (not looking so good), summer chinook (looking better than last year) sockeye (less than half of last year's bumper crop but still decent) and steelhead.
FISHING — Jacks, the overly eager salmon that return from the ocean before they have grown to full size, could be the saving grace of spring chinook fishing on the Clearwater River.
This year’s return of spring chinook to the Clearwater and its tributaries is predicted to be just over the threshold needed to hold a fishing season, write's Eric Barker in the Lewiston Tribune.
Fisheries managers are expecting the state’s harvest share could be as low as 300 adults. For context, last year the state had a harvest share of about 5,000 adults on the Clearwater.
Because of the low return, biologists are proposing to start with conservative regulations and expand fishing opportunities if the run comes in as strong or stronger than forecasted.
Idaho Fish and Game fishery personnel have set up meetings to present the latest information on this year’s chinook salmon runs and discuss stratgies for managing the runs in the Snake, Salmon and Clearwater rivers.
The meetings begin at 6 a.m. as follows:
Comments also can be emailed to Joe DuPont, fisheries manager in Lewiston, email@example.com.
Read on for more spring chinook details and proposals from the Lewistown Tribune story.
FISHING — Idaho Fish and Game fishery personnel has set up meetings to present the latest information on this year’s chinook salmon runs and discuss stratgies for managing the runs in the Snake, Salmon and Clearwater rivers.
The meetings begin at 6 a.m. as follows:
Comments also can be emailed to Joe DuPont, fisheries manager in Lewiston, firstname.lastname@example.org.