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Spring Chinook Salmon Fishery Update for the Clearwater River Return, Rapid River Run, Hells Canyon, and Lochsa River Fisheries

LEWISTON – Idaho Fish and Game have provided their weekly spring Chinook Salmon Fishery update for the area, however, Joe DuPont, Fisheries Regional Manager explained the numbers are roughly the same as the week before.

The table below shows what the harvest shares are for Idaho’s spring Chinook Salmon fisheries and the Lochsa River summer run fishery. The numbers are about the same as they presented last week except for the fishery in the Lochsa River. For the Clearwater River fishery, the harvest share is 5,735 adult fish (shown in darker pink row), 3,630 for the Rapid River run fishery (blue row), zero for Hells Canyon (green row) and 145 for the Lochsa River fishery (yellow row). The Lochsa River fishery will likely go up another 25 to 50 fish once the run past Lower Granite Dam is complete.

Harvest Share Table

FISHERIES

Clearwater River Basin Fishery

Catch rates were really good last week in river sections 2-4 (5-6 hrs/fish) with the boat anglers experiencing the best fishing. Catch rates dropped in section 5 (Middle Fork Clearwater near Kooskia Hatchery) to 14 hrs/fish which suggests many of the fish have started moving into the hatchery trap. Catch rates on the South Fork (section 7) dropped off as well (37 hrs/fish), and they only observed jacks being harvested. This data suggests that the majority of fish have already pushed up towards Red River. Angling effort dropped to the lowest levels they have seen since the fish first arrived in the Clearwater, and resulted in the lowest weekly harvest total they have seen this season (227 adult spring Chinook). This brings the season harvest total to 4,639 fish with 1,097 remaining in our harvest share (see table below). For this reason, no additional closures will occur this week in the Clearwater River basin.

Clearwater Harvest Share Table

Rapid River Run Fishery

Last Friday (July 1) was the last day of fishing on the Rapid River run fishery (the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers are now closed). They estimated that in the five days the fishery was open (Little Salmon River only) an additional 383 adult fish were harvested (see table below). That brought our total harvest for the entire fishery to 3,634 adult fish which is almost exactly what our harvest share ended up being (3,630 adult fish). All river sections in this fishery (except section 1 of the Lower Salmon River) were open for about 6 weeks once the fish arrived. They haven’t been able to keep this fishery open this long since 2015 when Fish and Game had a harvest share of over 11,000 adult fish. They were 7% off from achieving our harvest distribution goal of a 50:50 split between the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers as 57% of the fish were harvested in the lower Salmon River.  

Clearwater Harvest Share Table

Hells Canyon Fishery

Last week Fish and Game estimated that 27 jacks were harvested below Hells Canyon Dam. Catch rates were really good (2 hrs/fish), but they observed hardly anybody fishing there.  This brings the season harvest total to 19 adults and 82 jacks.

Lochsa Summer Run Fishery

Once again, Fish and Game only saw a few people fishing for salmon on the Lochsa River, and nobody they talked to had caught a fish. They have trapped only 1 fish at our hatchery trap near Powell (upper Lochsa River) which indicates the fish are just starting to get there. Based on PIT tag detections at the Lochsa River PIT tag arrays, many summer Chinook fishery have entered the Lochsa River over the last 5 days which suggests that people should start harvesting fish there this week.