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Chinook seasons open through Sunday

In this June 27, 2012, file photo, a sockeye salmon, left, swims pass a chinook salmon, center front, and shad, above, at the fish counting window at the Bonneville Dam near Cascade Locks, Ore. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)
In this June 27, 2012, file photo, a sockeye salmon, left, swims pass a chinook salmon, center front, and shad, above, at the fish counting window at the Bonneville Dam near Cascade Locks, Ore. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

Fishing seasons for spring and summer chinook will remain open on the Little Salmon and Lochsa rivers at least through Sunday.

Idaho Fish and Game officials made the announcement Wednesday after previously committing only to keeping the seasons going through Friday.

The Little Salmon River will resume its regular four-day-a-week season today and run through the weekend. Fisheries managers there are keeping a close eye on the season in an effort to give anglers the opportunity catch the quota for the run returning to the nearby Rapid River Hatchery and also to ensure enough adult spring chinook return to the hatchery for spawning.

Idaho Fish and Game fisheries biologist Brett Bowersox said the adult return goal for Rapid River Hatchery has not yet been met but that is not unusual for this time of year.

“We are comfortable we are on a correct trajectory there to get our brood stock,” he said.

The Lochsa River is open seven days a week for summer chinook fishing. Anglers in both areas are getting closer to reaching harvest quotas. After last week’s fishing interval, anglers on the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers had caught about 1,500 of the state’s expected harvest quota of 1,980 adult chinook.

On the Lochsa River, anglers had caught and kept about 105 chinook through last weekend. Bowersox said some Lochsa-bound chinook are still making their way up the Snake River but the harvest share is expected to be about 200.

“It’s very likely this will be the last weekend,” said Sam Sharr, Idaho Fish and Game anadromous fish coordinator at Boise.

Meeting spawning goals on the Clearwater River will be much more difficult, and fisheries officials don’t know if enough adults will return to meet full production levels at hatcheries.

“We still have fish coming into the hatcheries and anticipate that will continue for a few more weeks but no doubt we are concerned and looking at any potential to get more brood out of the Clearwater,” said Bowersox.

The department closed spring chinook fishing on the Clearwater River and its north, south and middle forks earlier this spring when it became clear the run would fall well short of preseason predictions.

Chinook returning to the Lochsa River are from a separate run with different harvest quotas and spawning goals.



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