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Idaho Fish and Game Commission Sets Spring Chinook Season to Open April 22

RPhillips | IDFG

Photo by IDFG/MKNC

Idaho Fish and Game Commission set the 2023 spring Chinook salmon fishing seasons for the Clearwater, Salmon, and Snake rivers to open on April 22. The preseason forecast is for 49,291 hatchery adults to return to Lower Granite Dam, which is located about 35 miles downstream from Lewiston.

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Chinook fishing will be open 7 days per week on the main Clearwater, South Fork Clearwater, and Middle Fork Clearwater rivers, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers, and in the Snake River. Fishing will be open four days per week (Thursday through Sunday) on the North Fork of the Clearwater River.

The updated Chinook Seasons and Rules will available soon on the Chinook Salmon Fishing webpage. 

This year’s forecast is larger than last year’s preseason forecast and above the 10-year average of 43,788. If the actual run matches the forecast, about 7,000 Chinook will be available for sport anglers to harvest.

Harvest limits will be:

  • Clearwater River system: four per day of which only one may be an adult longer than 24 inches. Possession limit is 12 of which only three may be adults.
  • Salmon River, Little Salmon River, and Snake River: four per day, of which two may be adults longer than 24 inches. Possession limit is 12, of which only six may be adults.

The preseason forecast is an estimate based on last year’s return of “Jack” Chinook that returned after only a year in the ocean and gives fisheries managers an indicator of the following year’s return of fish that spend two years in the ocean, which make up the majority of the annual Chinook return.

Fisheries managers will monitor the run and update anglers as it progresses. Fishing seasons for summer Chinook on the South Fork of the Salmon River, Upper Salmon River and Lochsa River will be considered at the May 10-11 Commission meeting in Jerome. Those fishing seasons typically open in mid-to-late June.

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