July 3: Chinook fishing update for the Clearwater River, Rapid River, and Hells Canyon seasons

Hi everybody.  It’s time for updates on the Clearwater River, Rapid River and Hells Canyon Chinook Salmon fisheries (7/3/18).  I’m going to keep this update fairly short as these fisheries are winding down and people are starting to focus their interests elsewhere.  There will be no additional closures this week, but we are reopening a river section in the Clearwater.  Please read on to find out the details.

Run Update and Harvest Share

The table below shows the run estimates and harvest shares for the Clearwater River, Rapid River and Hells Canyon Chinook Salmon fisheries.  There are no real changes from last week.

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Joe DuPont

Clearwater River Fishery

Fishing effort dropped considerably last week.  This was expected seeing the vast majority of fish have reached the end of their journey and are hanging out near where they were released as smolts or have been trapped for brood stock.  What was surprising though is we observed the best catch rates (8-9 hrs/fish) of the year last week.  It appears that with less competition, a higher percentage of anglers were able to catch fish.  For you diehards out there, I suspect there will still be some good opportunities during this next 4-day fishing interval as well.  Don’t forget that the North Fork Clearwater is closed to salmon fishing.  However, seeing we still have harvest share remaining we are reopening section 2 (Cherrylane Bridge to Orofino Bridge) this Saturday (same rules as before).  From there on out, it will remain open on the same 4-day schedule (Thursday through Sunday) as the rest of the open river sections in the Clearwater River fishery.  It wouldn't surprise me if the fishing was good, as many of these fish haven’t seen a hook for some time.

As a reminder, the Lochsa River is closed to salmon fishing.  We estimated 33 salmon were harvested from this summer run fishery, which is about what our harvest share is.  One of the reasons so few fish returned this year is we released less than half of our goal.  In the future, I suspect we will have some very good fishing opportunities on this run of salmon. 

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Joe DuPont

Rapid River Fishery

The Rapid River fishery is pretty much over.  When I drove by last Thursday, I was amazed to see only a couple cars parked along the Little Salmon River.  We estimated that only 11 fish were harvested last week with catch rates averaging about 32 hrs/fish.  We still have a ways to go before we reach our harvest share and a few fish are trickling by.  So, the Little Salmon River will remain open four another four days.

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Joe DuPont

Hells Canyon Fishery

The Hells Canyon Fishery is pretty much done.  We haven’t documented a fish being harvested for a couple weeks now. 


I hope you all have a great Fourth of July.  Talk to you next week.