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F&G Commission Sets Chinook Season to Open April 23 for the Clearwater, Snake and Salmon Rivers

Idaho Fish and Game

LEWISTON – Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved spring Chinook fishing seasons for the Snake, Clearwater, and Salmon River drainages, which will open on April 23.

  • Fishing for Chinook will be open daily in the Lower Salmon River, Little Salmon River, Snake River in the mainstem Clearwater River, Middle Fork of the Clearwater River, and South Fork of the Clearwater River.
  • Fishing for Chinook will be open four days per week in the North Fork Clearwater River, Thursday through Sunday.

Seasons will run no later than Aug.7 but are typically closed sooner by Fish and Game when harvest shares are met by sport anglers.

Bag limits on the Snake River, Mainstem Clearwater River, North Fork will be:

Snake River, Clearwater River, Middle Fork Clearwater River and South Fork Clearwater River

  • Daily: Four Chinook, only one may be an adult 24 inches or longer.
  • Possession: 12 Chinook, only three may be adults.

Salmon River and Little Salmon River

  • Daily: Four Chinook, only two may be adults 24 inches or longer.
  • Possession: 12 Chinook, only six may be adults.

Full seasons are rules for Chinook fishing will be available on the Chinook Fishing webpage.

The preseason forecast for adult Chinook returning to Idaho is 39,631, which would be the highest run since 2015, but still below the 10-year average of 44,259 Chinook.

Fish and Game Anadromous Fish Manager John Cassinelli told commissioners that when Chinook returns are trending upward, the return often exceeds forecast. For example, last year’s forecast was 18,000 fish, and about 30,000 returned. Fisheries managers will be monitoring Chinook returns as they come over dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers. 

In addition to the adult Chinook returning this year, additional Chinook is likely to return as juvenile male “Jacks” that have spent only one year in the ocean and are less than 24 inches long. Jacks provide anglers more opportunities to harvest fish without affecting the number of fish available to replenish hatcheries. 

Cassinelli also noted that ocean condition surveys taken in 2021 were good to excellent, which bodes well for future Chinook returns to Idaho.