Upper Salmon River Chinook Update: 6/29/2022

Hi everybody, here’s the weekly upper Salmon River Chinook update:

Angler effort increase since opening weekend, with an estimated 612 hours fishing over the past week.  No interviewed anglers reported catching a salmon. Below is the breakdown of angler effort by river section in the upper Salmon River fishery:

 

Upper Salmon River – preliminary harvest estimates: June 20 – 26, 2022

River Section Clipped Adults Clipped Jacks Total Angler Hours Hours per fish kept Unclipped Salmon Released
North Fork Salmon River to Lemhi River (location code 16) 0 0 0 98 0 0
Lemhi River to Pahsimeroi River (location code 17) 0 0 0 277 0 0
Pahsimeroi River to East Fork Salmon River (location code 18) 0 0 0 91 0 0
East Fork Salmon River to 100 yards downstream of Sawtooth weir (location code 19) 0 0 0 146 0 0

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Totals 0 0 0 612 0 0
Season Totals 0 0 0 698 0 0

 

River conditions continue to improve as flows drop throughout the upper Salmon River basin. We did see a small increase in flows towards the end of last week, as warm weather melted high elevation snow. Since then, flows have gradually dropped back into what is more average stream conditions for this time of year (see graphs below). This means that fish will be moving quickly to get upstream into the upper Salmon River. Again the upper Salmon River streamflow gauges can be found at the USGS streamflow website.

 

chart-salmon-river-yankee-fork-6-17-22
Creative Commons Licence
USGS National Wildlife Health Center, 06/2021
Salmon River stream flows below the Yankee Fork Salmon River (6/17 – 6/28/2022)

 

chart-salmon-river-salmon-id-6-17-22
Creative Commons Licence
USGS
Salmon River stream flows near Salmon, ID (6/17- 6/28/2022)

 

 

Run Update (timing, survival, and harvest shares):

Sawtooth Hatchery

The Sawtooth run over Bonneville Dam is complete as we have not seen any more PIT tagged Sawtooth fish crossing in the past 11 days.  That puts the Sawtooth run at Bonneville Dam at 2,585 fish. These fish continue to work their way upstream, with 72% of the run (1,873 fish) now over Lower Granite Dam.

As mentioned last week, Sawtooth fish are surviving through the Columbia and Snake River systems at a higher rate than average, with survival between Bonneville Dam and Lower Granite Dam currently at 81% compared to an average of 66%. This increased survival will help our harvest share, which still looks like it will land between 500 and 600 fish.  

 

Pahsimeroi Hatchery

The Pahsimeroi run crossing over Bonneville Dam is tapering off as well. Nine days had passed since the last PIT tagged Pahsimeroi fish crossed Bonneville Dam, but we did get one more PIT tagged Pahsimeroi fish over Bonneville Dam again yesterday.  That means an estimated 2,231 Pahsimeroi fish have passed over Bonneville Dam this year. Since last weeks’ update, we’ve seen these fish continue to move up through the Columbia and Snake rivers, with 1,419 Pahsimeroi fish now over Lower Granite Dam.

In last weeks’ update I mentioned that survival between Bonneville and Lower Granite Dams for Pahsimeroi fish was a little below average, but was likely related to delayed migration due to increase flows. Well flows across the basin have dropped, and we’ve seen a few more of those PIT tagged fish make it from Bonneville to Lower Granite. That has increased our survival estimate for that group to 80%, which is above average (73%). While this isn’t a huge difference, these changes in survival estimates will help in determining our final harvest share. We’re currently looking at a harvest share of ~550 fish from the Pahsimeroi return.

Movement into the fishery area…

Of course, the day after I posted last weeks’ update, we had our first PIT tagged Sawtooth fish cross the Elevenmile PIT tag array south of Salmon on 6/23. Similar to first few wild fish I talked about last week, which took 38 days to get from Granite to Elevenmile, it took this first Sawtooth hatchery fish 35 days to travel from Granite upstream into the upper Salmon. In addition to the fish encountered at the array, Pahsimeroi hatchery trapped their first two fish last week as well. Since last weeks update, we had gone a few days without seeing any PIT tags over the Elevenmile array, but over the past two days (6/27- 6/28) we've had nine unique PIT tagged fish detected at the Elevenmile array. Given those earlier detections and the timing of fish over Lower Granite, I think we’re about to see a big push of fish moving into the upper Salmon River fishery.

 

Hatchery Returns

Trapping operations have started at both the Sawtooth and Pahsimeroi hatcheries, and as mentioned above, Pahsimeroi staff trapped their first two fish last week. Through this update, no other fish have been trapped at either Pahsimeroi or Sawtooth. Due to differences in timing of when hatchery staff check traps and when I post these updates, it’s best to check the Hatchery Returns webpage for the most up-to-date hatchery trapping numbers.

And again, for the current seasons and rules information, please visit the Chinook Salmon Seasons and Rules webpage for more details.

Thanks all and good luck on the water!

chinook_phillips_108a
Creative Commons Licence
Roger Phillips/Idaho Fish and Game
Chinook