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Idaho fall chinook, coho fishing seasons open Sept. 1

A coho salmon sits on ice over a catch of steelhead from Idaho's Clearwater River. (Rick Itami)
A coho salmon sits on ice over a catch of steelhead from Idaho's Clearwater River. (Rick Itami)

FISHING -- Idaho will open fall chinook salmon fishing season on parts of the Snake, Clearwater, and Salmon rivers on Tuesday, Sept. 1, as well as the second-ever coho season on the Clearwater River.

The 2015 fall chinook forecast is 37,000 hatchery and naturally-produced fall chinook to the Snake River basin.

The Snake River will open for fall chinook fishing from the Washington-Idaho border upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.  Washington also is opening its stretch of the Snake to fall chinook harvest on Sept. 1.

Fishing on the Idaho portion of the Snake River from the Cliff Mountain Rapids (about a mile downstream of Hells Canyon Dam) will be open until Oct.31, but could be closed sooner depending on the actual number of fish that return and the amount of harvest. The stretch between Hells Canyon Dam and Cliff Mountain Rapids is scheduled to remain open until Nov. 17, or until further notice.

The Clearwater River, from its mouth upstream to Memorial Bridge in Lewiston; and the Salmon River, from its mouth upstream about three-fourths of a mile to Eye of the Needle Rapids, will be open until Oct. 31, or until further notice.

A valid fishing license and salmon permit are required to fish for fall chinook.  Only adipose-clipped salmon may be kept. The daily bag limit is six adult fall chinook; the possession limit is 18. There is no season limit.

Only adult fall chinook (24-inches and longer) must be recorded on the angler’s salmon permit. There is no daily, possession, or season limit on jacks (those less than 24 inches).

Coho fishing will be a nice bonus to Idaho anglers as fisheries managers predict 5,000-18,000 "silvers" will return to Idaho, enough to provide a tribal and non-tribal sport fishery.

The coho season will run through Nov. 15 on the mainstem and Middle Fork Clearwater River from the mouth upstream to Clear Creek near Kooskia, and on the North Fork Clearwater River downstream from Dworshak Dam.

Anglers can keep two coho salmon per day and have 6 in possession.  The season limit is 10.

Coho released from the Nez Perce Tribe's hatchery program have not had their adipose fins clipped.  Anglers may keep coho salmon with an intact adipose fin, but fall chinook salmon with adipose fins must be released unharmed. 

  • Color fish illustrations are printed in the general fishing seasons and rules brochure and online.
  • The Fall Chinook and Coho pamphlets also are available online

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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