The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Wednesday, July 1, changed the daily and possession limits for Chinook salmon in part of the Upper Salmon River, and opened a Chinook season in the Boise River.
The change affects the season in the Upper Salmon River from the city of Salmon upstream to the mouth of the Pahsimeroi River, and it allows anglers to keep Chinook salmon less than 24 inches total length.
A large number of jack Chinook salmon returning to Pahsimeroi Hatchery has crossed lower Columbia River and Snake River dams. They are expected to enter the Upper Salmon River fishing area before sockeye return to the upper Salmon basin, and only a few Chinook jacks are needed in spawning operations at the hatchery.
The commissioners modified the limits to allow anglers to keep Chinook jacks that they catch. The new daily bag limit on the reach from Salmon upstream to the mouth of the Pahsimeroi River is six fish, no more than two of which may be 24 or more inches in total length. The possession limit is 18 fish, with no more than six, 24 or more inches long.
Anglers are reminded that they may not harvest sockeye salmon. Most sockeye salmon, like the Chinook jacks, are less than 24 inches long. Information signs have been posted in the upper Salmon River fishing area to help anglers distinguish between sockeye and Chinook salmon. Any sockeye caught must be released unharmed.
Fish and Game officials expect few hatchery jack Chinook salmon to return to the Sawtooth Hatchery near Stanley this year. Keeping jacks in the Salmon River upstream of the Pahsimeroi River continues to be prohibited.
The commissioners also opened a Chinook salmon fishing season on the Boise River downstream of Barber Dam to run 24 hours a day from July 2 until September 6 or further notice. The daily limit is two salmon - regardless of size - and the possession limit is six salmon.