Spring Chinook Salmon Fishery Update (7/5/2022)
Clearwater River Return, Rapid River Run, Hells Canyon and Lochsa River Fisheries
by Joe DuPont
Hi everybody, it is time for my weekly spring Chinook Salmon update (7/5/2022).
The table below shows what the harvest shares are for Idaho’s spring Chinook Salmon fisheries and the Lochsa River summer run fishery. The numbers are about the same as I presented last week except for the fishery in the Lochsa River. For the Clearwater River fishery, the harvest share is 5,735 adult fish (shown in darker pink row), 3,630 for the Rapid River run fishery (blue row), zero for Hells Canyon (green row) and 145 for the Lochsa River fishery (yellow row). The Lochsa River fishery will likely go up another 25 to 50 fish once the run past Lower Granite Dam is complete.
Clearwater River Basin Fishery
Catch rates were really good last week in river sections 2-4 (5-6 hrs/fish) with the boat anglers experiencing the best fishing. Catch rates dropped in section 5 (Middle Fork Clearwater near Kooskia Hatchery) to 14 hrs/fish which suggests many of the fish have started moving into the hatchery trap. Catch rates on the South Fork (section 7) dropped off as well (37 hrs/fish), and we only observed jacks being harvested. This data suggests that the majority of fish have already pushed up towards Red River. Angling effort dropped to the lowest levels we have seen since the fish first arrived in the Clearwater, and resulted in the lowest weekly harvest total we have seen this season (227 adult spring Chinook). This brings the season harvest total to 4,639 fish with 1,097 remaining in our harvest share (see table below). For this reason, no additional closures will occur this week in the Clearwater River basin.
Rapid River Run Fishery
Last Friday (July 1) was the last day of fishing on the Rapid River run fishery (the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers are now closed). We estimated that in the five days the fishery was open (Little Salmon River only) an additional 383 adult fish were harvested (see table below). That brought our total harvest for the entire fishery to 3,634 adult fish which is almost exactly what our harvest share ended up being (3,630 adult fish). All river sections in this fishery (except section 1 of the Lower Salmon River) were open for about 6 weeks once the fish arrived. We haven’t been able to keep this fishery open this long since 2015 when we had a harvest share of over 11,000 adult fish. We were 7% off from achieving our harvest distribution goal of a 50:50 split between the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers as 57% of the fish were harvested in the lower Salmon River.
Hells Canyon Fishery
Last week we estimated that 27 jacks were harvested below Hells Canyon Dam. Catch rates were really good (2 hrs/fish), but we observed hardly anybody fishing there. This brings the season harvest total to 19 adults and 82 jacks.
Lochsa Summer Run Fishery
Once again, we only saw a few people fishing for salmon on the Lochsa River, and nobody we talked to had caught a fish. We have trapped only 1 fish at our hatchery trap near Powell (upper Lochsa River) which indicates the fish are just starting to get there. Based on PIT tag detections at the Lochsa River PIT tag arrays, many summer Chinook fishery have entered the Lochsa River over the last 5 days which suggests that people should start harvesting fish there this week.
That is all I have until next week. Have a good week everybody.