Here's the latest update on last week’s Chinook fisheries on the Salmon River around Riggins, Hell’s Canyon and the Lochsa River. I’ve included some more detailed information on the status of each of the fisheries below; but, bottom-line, all three fisheries are staying open this coming week. Hell’s Canyon and the Lochsa River will remain open on their 7 day / week schedule and the Salmon River around Riggins will start up again this Thursday the 29th.
Fishing in the Salmon and Little Salmon rivers around Riggins was excellent this past week. We documented 707 adults and 493 jacks harvested with estimated catch rates of 6 hours per fish caught in the main Salmon River and 11 hours per fish caught in the Little Salmon River. These catch rates do include jacks which were a significant portion of the harvest this past interval.
We did increase our estimated harvest share for the Rapid River stock this week. The decision was based upon new information which informed us how well PIT-tags were representing the run. With that new information, we estimate a harvest share of 1,978 adult fish and as of the end of fishing hours yesterday we have caught 903 adults. So, with a little over 1,000 fish still on the harvest share the main stem Salmon and Little Salmon rivers will be open starting on Thursday.
Flows on the main Salmon and Little Salmon are predicted to continue to drop this week. In addition, sediment in the water that kept the main Salmon pretty off color this past interval should start to decrease.
Anglers continued to have success in the Hell’s Canyon fishery this past week. Anglers harvested 68 adults and 16 jacks with an estimated catch rate of 10 hours per fish caught. The catch rate in the fishery was still very good even though an overall drop in angling effort resulted in fewer fish harvested. To date we have harvested 297 adults out of a 402 fish harvest share.
The summer Chinook season on the Lochsa River opened this past Thursday June 22nd. Folks that got out to take advantage of this fishery were catching some fish. We documented 9 adults and 2 jacks harvested with and estimated catch rate of 33 hours per fish caught. This catch rate isn’t as good as the fisheries I mentioned above but remember this is a summer Chinook run. Based upon PIT-tag detections at the mouth, many of the fish are just starting to enter into the lower Lochsa River. The harvest share in the Lochsa is still around 200 fish so fishing will continue this week.
That’s it for this week. Good luck to you if you are able to get out on the water. - Brett Bowersox, Fisheries Biologist, Clearwater Region