Fishing will be open seven days per week, but harvest share could be caught fast
The Chinook salmon fishing season on the upper Salmon River will open Saturday, June 23, with a seven-day-a-week season until further notice.
“Flows have dropped considerably over the past two weeks and the river should be in great shape for opening day,” said Greg Schoby, Salmon Region fish manager for Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “We’re starting to see adult Chinook show up throughout the upper Salmon River basin, so I expect a few lucky anglers to catch Chinook on opening day.”
Anglers will be allowed to keep four fish per day, only two of which may be adults. The possession limit is twelve fish, only six may be adults. An adult Chinook salmon is 24 inches or more in length.
The upper Salmon River will be open from the Highway 93 Bridge 0.3 miles south of the junction of Highway 93 and Highway 75 (south of Challis) upstream to the posted boundary 100 yards below the weir and trap at the Sawtooth Hatchery south of Stanley. Fishing hours will be from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight time.
Salmon anglers are restricted to barbless hooks. Only hatchery origin Chinook salmon with a clipped adipose fin, as evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept. Only harvested adult Chinook salmon must be recorded on the salmon permit. Chinook salmon less than 24 inches, referred to as jacks, count against the daily limit but need not be recorded on the salmon permit. Anglers must cease fishing for all Chinook salmon, including jacks, once they have retained their daily, possession or season limit of adult Chinook salmon of any size, whichever comes first. The season limit is 20 adult Chinook salmon for seasons prior to September 1.
Because changes to the seasons, bag limits and boundaries may occur on short notice, salmon anglers are encouraged to visit Fish and Game’s website at https://idfg.idaho.gov/fish/chinook for up-to-date season information before going fishing.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is considering two options for the 2019 hunting season in the Sawtooth Elk Zone, and hunters can take a brief survey to show their preferences. Deadline to comment is July 2.
The elk population within the Sawtooth Elk Zone (Units 33, 34, 35, and 36) has increased in recent years, but remains below Fish and Game's elk management plan objectives. The cap on A and B tags remains in place to limit hunter participation and harvest.
Sawtooth elk hunts have become very popular as elk numbers and harvest have increased in recent years. Tags are currently sold on a first-come, first-served basis starting July 12, with half being sold at Fish and Game offices and license vendors and the other half sold online. Sawtooth tags have sold out within minutes, which left many hunters unable to buy one.
Current options being explored include converting both A and B tag hunts to controlled hunts, or keeping the A tag as a general hunt and converting some of the B tags to controlled hunts.
Here are the options being reviewed.
One tag will be issued for a hunt in a portion of Eastern Idaho, and the drawing is limited to Idaho residents with a valid hunting license.
The Idaho Fish and Game's fisheries managers have determined that by June 15, the sport fishery harvest objectives for the Mainstem Clearwater River from Cherrylane Bridge upstream to Orofino Bridge will be met.
Sixty-three boys and girls between the ages of one and 16 participated in the annual Challis Fishing Derby. The derby is held every June during the National Fishing Week Event and Idaho's Free Fishing Day at Blue Mountain Pond.
Approximately fifty adults including parents and grandparents accompanied the derby contestants. The fishing derby had four age categories for the young anglers: 5 and under, 6-8, 9-11 and 12-16 years of age. Prizes were awarded for the three longest fish caught in each age category.
Idaho Fish and Game stocks land-locked Chinook in lakes and reservoirs, and biologists are asking anglers to help them learn more about these fish in Anderson Ranch, Lucky Peak and Deadwood reservoirs in southwest Idaho and Spirit Lake in North Idaho.
Hunters can now check to see if they drew controlled hunt tags for moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat. Results are posted through Fish and Game's licensing system at huntfishidaho.net for those who have already have an account.
Those without an account can get step-by-step instructions on the Controlled Hunts web page. Hunters who were successful in the drawing will receive their tags in the mail.
People have until June 27 to enter their comments on these proposals. People can read the full proposals and comment by going to F&G's Rulemaking Page and filling out online comments.
Limit transport of cervid carcasses into Idaho from states with CWD
To reduce the possibility of entry of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) into the state, and to prevent spread of CWD within the state after detection, the IDFG draft strategy for CWD prevention, detection, and management recommends the prohibition of importation of any wild cervid carcass into Idaho from any CWD positive state, and the prohibition of the export/transport of a wild cervid carcass from within a defined CWD management zone in Idaho (post detection) to an area outside of the zone.
Integrate CWD risk into consideration of emergency winter feeding decisions
IDFG’s Chronic Wasting Disease Strategy recommends that the risks of spreading Chronic Wasting Disease are considered along with the other conditions and criteria considered by IDFG, and the recommendations from Winter Feeding Advisory Committees, for determining an emergency exists and that it is appropriate to initiate distribution of supplemental feed for wintering deer, elk, and pronghorn.
Restrict public from winter feeding wild deer and elk in designated Chronic Wasting Disease Management Zone
Winter feeding causes artificial concentrations of wild deer and elk that creates a high potential for disease transmission between animals and may increase the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). To reduce the possibility of transmission of CWD where wild deer and elk are concentrated by unsanctioned supplemental feed provided by the public, IDFG is proposing a rule that would restrict the public from feeding wild deer and elk in a designated CWD Management Zone following confirmation of CWD detection.
The Fish and Game Commission changed fishing to four days per week, Thursday through Sunday, on the Lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers starting Saturday, June 9, and anglers will also have a reduced daily bag limit on that date.
Two stretches of the Lower Salmon will also close at midnight on June 8 and not reopen this season, which are:
- The stretch of the Lower Salmon River from mouth of Shorts Creek upstream to the boat ramp at Vinegar Creek.
- Lower Salmon River from Rice Creek bridge upstream ot the southernmost of Twin Bridges that cross the Salmon River.
Bag limits will be reduced on June 9 to four Chinook per day, only one of which may be an adult, and the possession limit to 12, of which only three may be adults.
Chinook have arrived in the Salmon and Little Salmon rivers and anglers are starting to catch them, but the expected return to the Rapid River Hatchery is about a third of what was earlier forecast. Fisheries managers calculate nearly all the fish bound for the Rapid River Hatchery have been counted at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, and they expect about 640 fish will be available for sport harvest on the Lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.
So far, 55 Chinook had reached Rapid River Hatchery by June 5, and anglers had harvested nine hatchery adults through June 3.
Fish and Game Anadromous Fish Manager Lance Hebdon said the intent of reducing the bag limit is to slow harvest so the department can better manage the fishery and ensure there's not over harvest of fish needed to replenish the hatchery. The goal is not to extend the fishing season, even though that could occur, but it's difficult to predict.
With a smaller harvest share than in recent years and the rivers coming into good fishing shape, he said the harvest share could be quickly caught, but in the past, there's also been a reduction in angler effort when the bag limit is reduced.
Idaho Fish and Game Commission on June 6 set the Chinook fishing seasons on the South Fork of the Salmon, Upper Salmon and Lochsa rivers to open June 23.
Upper Salmon River, South Fork of the Salmon River and Lochsa River seasons and rules include:
- Opening date June 23, closing date as ordered by Director of Fish and Game.
- Fishing open seven days per week.
- Bag limits for South Fork of Salmon and Upper Salmon, four per day, of which only two may be adults, and 12 in possession of which six may be adults.
- Bag limits for Lochsa River, four per day, of which only one may be an adult, and 12 in possession of which only three may be adults.
- Anglers may retain Chinook salmon with an intact adipose fin from the Lochsa River.
Fisheries managers are watching returning Chinook cross Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River and find that unlike the spring fish that returned late, the summer run appears to running on time.
Managers are anticipating about 2,000 adult Chinook will return to the South Fork of the Salmon River, which would provide a sport-fishing harvest share of about 650 fish.
They expect another 2,000 will return ot the Upper Salmon River, and sport harvest share will be about 550, which is less than the South Fork due to more brood stock needed to replenish hatcheries in the Upper Salmon.
The Lochsa River run is predicted to be 610 fish, which would leave about 100 fish for the sport harvest share.
Fish are crossing dams now and are likely to be in the river stretches where fishing occurs when the season opens, according to Fish and Game's Anadromous Fish Manager Lance Hebdon.
Rivers are also dropping and fishing conditions could be prime, so anglers should be ready to fish when the season opens because the harvest share could quickly be caught.
If your sights are set on hunting this fall and you still need to complete Idaho’s hunter education requirement, now is the perfect time to sign up for a course, either in a classroom or online course.
Hunter education is required for anyone born on or after January 1, 1975 who wants to purchase an Idaho hunting license.
Summer is a great time to get into a course, as there are a number of courses to choose from and space is usually available. Courses are offered year-round, but the numbers offered decrease in early fall as most volunteer instructors prepare for their own hunting adventures. Early fall courses also fill up rapidly and there may not be available spaces for those who delay.
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