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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Idaho approves modest spring chinook season

Salmon anglers fish the Boulder Hole on the lower Salmon River near Riggins, Idaho. Fisheries managers are expecting another poor return of spring chinook but enough for a season on the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.  (Courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game)
By Eric Barker Lewiston Tribune

LEWISTON – Anglers will be able to fish for spring chinook just four days per week in the Clearwater, lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission recently approved the seasons that will open April 27. The limited days along with a daily bag limit that allows the retention of just one adult hatchery fish reflect what is expected to be a modest return of springers to the Snake River Basin.

Fisheries managers are expecting a harvest share of about 1,360 adult hatchery chinook on the Clearwater River and its North, South and Middle forks.

The Rapid River return that anglers access in the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers is expected to support a harvest share of about 2,500 adult hatchery fish. The run there is just large enough that fisheries managers asked anglers to choose between a seven-days-a-week season and one that lasts just four days a week. In public meetings and written comments submitted online, they chose the more limited option with the idea that the season is more likely to stay open longer.

The Clearwater River and its tributaries, the lower Salmon River and Little Salmon River will be open Thursdays through Sundays.

Anglers plying those rivers can keep up to four hatchery salmon per day but only one of the four can be an adult fish.

The Snake River in Hells Canyon will be open seven days a week and anglers who fish the hard-to-access area that starts at Dug Bar and extends to Hells Canyon Dam may keep a total of four salmon per day, two of which can be adult fish.

New this year, anglers can keep only 10 adult hatchery spring chinook between the start of the season and Aug. 10. Last year the seasonal bag limit was 20 fish.

For the first time, anglers will be able to use e-tags instead of paper catch record cards to record harvest. The e-tagging system uses a cellphone application and can be used even when out of range of cellular signals.