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Idaho Fish and Game

Releasing a wild Fall Chinook salmon

Chinook Salmon Fishing

In Idaho, anglers eagerly wait and plan their vacations around the Chinook salmon’s annual return.

Chinook Salmon are one of the more popular sport fish across the western states due to their large size, hard fighting ability, and excellent table fare.

Chinook returning to Idaho are classified into three groups or “runs” – spring, summer and fall Chinook – based on when they begin their migration upstream to spawn. Most fish range from 12 to 20 pounds, but fish over 30 pounds are caught each year. Due to the different times Chinook salmon enter Idaho, fishing opportunities can often be found from May through October. 

Seasons and rules are set annually because the number of Chinook returning to Idaho can vary greatly from year to year.  Many factors influence seasons, such as collecting enough fish for spawning and providing different communities with the opportunity to harvest fish. Use the Seasons and Rules page to find maps of each fishing zone.