Hello anglers. This is Brett Bowersox from the Clearwater with an early Chinook season update. Given that Spring Chinook season officially started this past weekend I thought it was a good time to get a brief update out on the fishery and share some new videos that answer some common questions about how IDFG manages salmon
Early Season Update:
As you may expect, given there are very few Spring Chinook over Lower Granite Dam, we observed minimal angling effort over the weekend. However, a few folks did get on the water to stretch out lines, test gear and maybe just maybe hook one of the five fish over Lower Granite so far. Unfortunately, but not too surprising, no salmon catch was documented by Fish and Game creel crews over the weekend.
I am starting to get questions regarding run timing this year and if the run is late. Daily counts over Bonneville Dam continue to increase with yesterday, April 23rd, being the largest daily count to date with 245 fish. High flows and colder water temperatures do tend to slow down salmon migration. Therefore, it is possible that the run will be later, however, a few big days at Bonneville Dam in the next week could move the run toward average timing. We do have information from below Bonneville Dam suggesting fish abundance is increasing in the lower Columbia River. Test net sampling by WDFW and the sport fishery below Bonneville Dam have both shown increases in catch rates over the past couple weeks and that is a good sign the run is congregating. We will all be keeping a close eye on counts over Bonneville Dam during the next few weeks and I will send out additional updates to relay what we are learning about the run as it comes in.
Managing Salmon Season Videos:
Setting salmon seasons is an involved process and includes federal and state entities. Idaho Fish and Game recently produced a 3-part series detailing the process of setting and managing salmon seasons. We hope these videos will be a good reference for anglers.
Part 1 - Setting Salmon Fishing Seasons
Part 2 - Tracking Salmon Harvest
Part 3 - Finding Salmon Fishing Information