Idaho Fish and Game is hosting public meetings to discuss potential salmon fishing seasons on the Clearwater River, the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam and the lower Salmon, Little Salmon and South Fork Salmon rivers.
More than 52,000 hatchery Chinook salmon and another 20,000 wild salmon are expected to cross Lower Granite Dam this spring, with most of those fish bound for Idaho. This is considerably lower than last year's run, which exceeded 100,000 hatchery salmon and about 27,000 natural origin salmon across Lower Granite Dam - but still the eighth best year since 1979.
About 4,175 Rapid River Hatchery salmon are expected to be available for sport harvest on the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.
"We need angler input regarding fishing area locations, fishing days of the week, possession limits and other issues related to this and other highly popular fisheries, on the Clearwater, Snake, upper Salmon and South Fork Salmon rivers," Fish and Game fisheries manager Dale Allen said.
The Snake River Hells Canyon salmon fishery is expected to have 800 hatchery fish available for sport harvest, while the South Fork of the Salmon River is projected to have 3,200 hatchery salmon available for sport harvest. The Clearwater River is expected to have around 1,900 Chinook salmon available for harvest.
At upcoming public meetings, Fish and Game fisheries personnel will provide information about these fisheries, discuss options and collect comments to help draft fishing proposals. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will consider public comments and staff recommendations at the March 29 meeting, at which time they will set salmon fishing seasons for the Clearwater River, the Snake River (Hells Canyon) and the Lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers (Rapid River Hatchery fish).
The Chinook seasons for the South Fork of the Salmon and Upper Salmon rivers will be set at the May 19 commission meeting.