Chinook Salmon update for the Clearwater River, lower Salmon River, and Little Salmon River fisheries (5/14/19)

Hi Everybody.  It is time for the weekly spring Chinook Salmon update for the fisheries in the Clearwater River Basin and in the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers (Rapid River Run) (5/14/19). 

For those who like to fish on the Clearwater River run please read on for an explanation on why we will be suspending the season.

Run Update

At this point, we think the runs of Chinook Salmon over Bonneville Dam that are destined for the Clearwater River and Rapid River are 60-72% complete.  Using this information we have updated our run size and harvest share table for the Clearwater and Rapid River run fisheries (using data through 5/13/19)  This table assumes that around 70% of the adult Chinook Salmon that pass over Bonneville Dam will make it to Idaho.  If you look at the table below, you will see we are projecting that there will be no harvest share for the Clearwater River run fishery.  In fact, right now we are projecting not enough fish will make it back to our hatcheries to meet our full brood needs (199 fish short). The Rapid River run is not looking so bad.  Right now, we are forecasting a harvest share of 1,683 fish, very similar to what we forecasted before the season started.

spring_chinook_run_size_and_harvest_share_estimates_5-13-19
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Joe DuPont

Clearwater River Run Fishery

Last week we finally saw some people salmon fishing in the lower Clearwater River hoping to be lucky enough to catch one of the 260 fish that finally made it to Idaho.  Not too surprising, we did not talk to anybody who said they harvested a fish.  One person did mention they caught and released a jack that had an adipose fin. 

Unfortunately, due to the low number of adult Chinook Salmon we are projecting to make it back to our hatcheries, we have decided to suspend all salmon fishing in the Clearwater River basin.  That means the season will not open this Saturday and Sunday (May 18 and 19).  We will continue to look at the data, and if counts pick up, we will let you know if enough will be returning to provide a fishery.  Our plans are to provide you an update on the status of this fishery no later than May 22.  For more information on this closure, you can click on this link https://idfg.idaho.gov/press/chinook-salmon-fishing-clearwater-river-basin-closed-until-further-evaluation.

Rapid River Run Fishery

We did not observe anybody fishing for salmon in the lower Salmon River or Little Salmon River last week (season is open Thursday through Sunday).  As such, I have no harvest to report.  It seems that every year we have a few early birds that show up a week or two before the rest.  As such, if you have the itch to fish for salmon this week, there is that chance that you could hit the lottery and catch yourself a fish.  In reality, I don’t expect to see fish harvested for a couple weeks especially now that flows are starting to exceed 50,000 cfs in the Salmon River.  Flows at this level tend to slow down salmon migration in the Salmon River. 

 

That’s all I have for you today.  Hopefully, my update next week will be more uplifting. 

Have a good week everybody