Idaho’s spring Chinook salmon fishing season opens April 25, but early indications show the fish appear to be social distancing on their own. As of April 19, only six fish had crossed Lower Granite Dam, which is about 25 miles downstream of Lewiston, and the last dam the fish cross before reaching Idaho.
That’s a tiny fraction of the 10-year average for that date, and there are also few fish in the Snake/Columbia rivers so far. Only 1,385 had crossed Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River through April 19, which is the first dam the fish cross after leaving the Pacific.
While numbers at Bonneville are also a fraction of the 10-year average, they’re at least trending upward. The forecast is calling for a below-average run, and it could be later to arrive than expected, smaller, or both. But the run is expected to be better than last year.
Fish and Game biologists will be keeping a watchful eye on the Chinook run as it progresses and keeping people informed when the fish start arriving in significant numbers and anglers start catching them.
To learn more, read Clearwater Regional Fisheries Manager Joe DuPont's analysis of the upcoming Chinook season.
IDFG file photo