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Chinook tracking leads to bag limit revamps, Salmon season opened June 23 on Lochsa

Chinook anglers now have a chance to harvest salmon in the Lochsa River.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved a summer chinook season starting June 23. It also closed some sections of the lower Salmon River and reduced bag limits on the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers near Riggins.

The bag limit for the Lochsa River is one adult chinook per day, and anglers are allowed to keep chinook with intact adipose fins. The river is projected to have a small harvest share of about 100 adult chinook.

Two sections of the lower Salmon — between Rice Creek Bridge near Cottonwood and the southernmost Twin Bridges near Cottonwood, and from Short’s Creek near Riggins to Vinegar Creek Boat Ramp — are closed. The bag limit on the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers fell from two adult chinook per day to one.

The harvest share for the Rapid River run is now projected to be just 640. However, Joe DuPont, regional fisheries manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at Lewiston, said that could change soon. Fisheries biologists are comparing detection of Rapid River chinook at Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River, via tags a percentage of the fish are carrying, with genetic sampling conducted at the dam. In recent years, the tags have underrepresented the actual run strength DuPont said.

“We will have this analysis done later in the week,” he said. “This could bump up the Rapid River harvest share some, but don’t expect any large changes.”

On the Clearwater River and its North, South and Middle forks, DuPont is now projecting a harvest share of 1,771 adult salmon. Anglers fishing in the lower Clearwater River had 260 fish remaining in the quota for that section of the river prior to the the four-day fishing period that ended Sunday. DuPont said it’s possible that quota may have been exhausted. The department attempts to manage salmon fishing on the Clearwater and its tributaries so that harvest is distributed somewhat evenly up and down the basin.

The commission also approved summer chinook seasons to begin June 23 on sections of the South Fork of the Salmon River and the upper Salmon River.


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