Chinook Fishing Updates - 5/19/21

Hey everyone.

Lower Salmon/Little Salmon Chinook Fishery

Hopefully by now you’re all aware that there is a Chinook Salmon fishery currently open and running Thursdays through Sundays on the Lower Salmon River and Little Salmon River (Rapid River Hatchery stock). The preseason harvest share forecast for that stock was 1,200 adults, but that has declined slightly as we’ve fined-tuned our estimates based on numbers of tagged fish crossing the dams - the current harvest share estimate for Rapid River stock is slightly over 1,000 adults.

During the last fishing interval (5/13 – 5/16) we documented some great fishing on the Lower Salmon! With relatively low water levels this year and folks chomping at the bit to get out and fish for Chinook, we estimated 154 adults were harvested on the Lower Salmon River last week. We anticipate seeing increased effort and harvest on the Lower Salmon River during this upcoming fishing interval (5/20 – 5/23), and hopefully our first documented catch on the Little Salmon River as well. We always try to split harvest share 50:50 between the Lower Salmon and Little Salmon, so if harvest on the Lower Salmon this weekend puts our season total close to 500 adults (season total for Lower Salmon only), this may be the last fishing interval to get out and fish that section of river before it is closed for the season. Keep in mind however, that the run is not over yet and we will continue to adjust our harvest share estimate as more data becomes available. Keep your fingers crossed for good news!

South Fork Salmon River Chinook Fishery

Speaking of good news - I have some great news for anglers that like to fish for Chinook Salmon on the South Fork Salmon River. Preseason forecasts were looking pretty grim for the South Fork Salmon River fishery so we were not anticipating having a season there this year (we have not had a fishery on the South Fork Salmon since 2018). However, the current data is telling a different story. Over the past few weeks we have seen higher than expected numbers of Chinook crossing the dams headed for the South Fork Salmon River. Its too early to put a finger on what our anticipated harvest share will be, or what the season structure will look like, but based on these numbers, we ARE anticipating being able to provide a fishery on the South Fork this year!

As a reminder, here is the season-structure recommendation table we’ve assembled with your input to guide our recommendations for a fishery to the IDFG commission:

Table 1. Chinook seasons and limits proposal table for the South Fork Salmon River Run based on harvest share

Adult Harvest Share

Season

Limit

Comments

<150

--

--

No fishery OR jacks only (if applicable)

151-300

2 days a week

1 adults

Open Friday, Saturday

301-750

4 days a week

1 adults

Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

751-1,200

4 days a week

2 adults

Open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

1,201-3,000

7 days a week

2 adults

No restrictions

3,001+

7 days a week

3+ adults

No restrictions

 

I’d love to be able to give you all an estimated harvest share number and an idea of what season structure will look like on the South Fork Salmon River this year, but frankly it is just too soon. Each week we have a better handle on what the run size will look like, and I’d like to give it a few more weeks to have more concrete information for you. I did want to give you all a heads up though, that planning is in the works for a fishery. In the next few weeks we’ll be providing you with more information about what that fishery will look like, which should give you plenty of time to make your plans for the South Fork in late-June/early July to fish for Salmon!

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or comments. I’ll be in touch, and I look forward to seeing you all on the river!

 

Jordan