It looks like Idaho will have a spring Chinook salmon fishing season in the Clearwater, Snake and Salmon rivers.
Seasons open April 25 on the Clearwater, the lower Salmon, Little Salmon and the Snake rivers. A season opens May 23 on the Lochsa River, and a season opens June 20 on the Salmon River from Shorts' Creek upstream about 25 miles to the boat ramp at Vinegar Creek.
"We still anticipate enough Chinook salmon coming back to Idaho to justify a fishing season," anadromous fish manager Pete Hassemer told commissioners.
Hassemer expects to return to the commission in May with proposals for summer Chinook fishing in the upper Salmon River and the South Fork Salmon River.
The forecast is for about 105,600 hatchery fish and almost 23,000 wild Chinook returning to Idaho. That translates into estimates of 13,341 fish available for nontribal anglers in the Clearwater River, 9,700 in the lower Salmon and Little Salmon, and 1,365 in the Snake River.
The daily limit is four Chinook salmon, no more than two may be 24 inches or more in total length. Anglers must stop fishing for salmon - including catch-and-release - when they have caught and kept two salmon 24 or more inches long or four salmon, whichever comes first. The possession limit is 12 fish, but not more than six may be 24 inches or more in total length. The statewide limit is 40 Chinook 24 or more inches long during 2009. Salmon less than 24 inches are included in the limits but are not recorded on the permit.
Only Chinook with a clipped adipose fin - the small fin between the dorsal fin and tail - as evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept.
Anglers may use only barbless hooks no more than five-eighths of an inch from point to shank. In the Lochsa, only artificial flies and lures - no bait - with one barbless hook per fly or lure may be used. A single hook may have up to three points.