South Fork Salmon River - Chinook Update 6/24/21

Hey everyone. I’ve been getting quite a few emails and phone calls asking for updates on the South Fork run, so I’ll try to hit the high points here.

What’s the harvest share and how long will the fishery be open?

  • Current estimated sport harvest share is ~450 adipose-clipped hatchery adults
  • The fishery opens on Saturday, June 26 and will close at the end of fishing hours on Sunday, June 27 (fishing hours are 5:30a – 10:00p)
    • Depending on how many fish are caught and harvested on opening weekend, the current plan is to re-open the fishery on Friday, July 2, and run four days per week Friday through Monday until closed. It is certainly possible that we only operate the fishery for only a portion of those days, or even none, depending on how much harvest share remains after opening weekend.
    • If you want to be guaranteed to fish the South Fork for salmon this year, you should fish this weekend (6/26 & 6/27)
  • Daily bag limit is one adult salmon per person. This is being done to try and spread harvest out and provide more opportunity to anglers.  Check stations will be operated at the upper and lower ends of the fishery to monitor harvest. Our final harvest estimate for this weekend will not be produced until late Monday 6/28. I will get an update out to you all on Tuesday 6/29.

Where are the fish?

  • Over 900 adults (mix of hatchery and natural) have been trapped so far at the weir – mostly in the past 7 days. This means the hatchery is getting close to broodstock needs which is great! And it also means fish are spread out in the river – top to bottom.
  • Based on PIT tags, we think a little more than 50% of the run is already within the fishery boundaries. More will be coming in over the weekend and into next week. Expect that fish will be distributed all throughout the fishery this weekend!
  • Due to low river flows, salmon are moving up the river fast. There is not a lot slowing them down right now. Salmon will mostly move up the South Fork in the evening, night, and morning, and will hold up in shaded areas with cover during the day. As for specific areas to fish—the saying goes…the fish will be where you find them.

Hopefully this answers many of your questions. Please refer to the Chinook Salmon Seasons and Rules page for details on this information: https://idfg.idaho.gov/fish/chinook/rules

We’re excited to be able to provide a fishery on the South Fork this year, and we hope you get out there and enjoy it! To those of you who do…..Be safe, Have fun, and GOOD LUCK!!