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Chinook Fishing Season Opens This Week

The 2010 Chinook salmon fishing season opens Saturday, April 24 on the Clearwater, Snake, Little Salmon and the lower Salmon Rivers.

Chinook fishing also will open May 23 on the Lochsa River, and June 19 in the lower Salmon River from Short's Creek upstream to Vinegar Creek. In addition, this year Fish and Game will open a new section of the lower Salmon River from Rice Creek to Hammer Creek to salmon fishing during the same time as the other sections of the lower Salmon.

Chinook salmon fisheries in the South Fork Salmon River and upper Salmon River will be set by the Fish and Game Commission at a later date.

In the Clearwater River drainage the daily limit is three Chinook, only one may be an adult 24 or more inches long; the possession limit is nine, only three may be adults.

In the Snake River from Dug Bar to Hells Canyon Dam, the lower Salmon and the Little Salmon rivers, the daily limit is four Chinook, only two may be adults. The possession limit is 12, only six adults.

The statewide annual limit is 20 adult Chinook.

Daily fishing hours will be presented in a table in the 2010 rule brochure.

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 inch from point to shank. On 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.

A new rule prohibits fishing from any watercraft within 30 yards of the west shoreline of the Salmon River from the Riggins City Park boat ramp upstream to a posted boundary about 200 yards upstream of the mouth of the Little Salmon River, and the lower 200 yards of the Little Salmon.

The change is aimed at reducing conflicts between boat and bank anglers. Though fishing from a boat has been restricted near Riggins, additional fishing will open June 20 on 25 miles of the Salmon River just upstream from Riggins this year.

Please refer to the 2010 Chinook Seasons and Rules brochure for details. The brochure is available to the public at license vendors and Fish and Game offices.

Waters that open April 24 are:

Clearwater River, main stem:

  • Lower - from the Camas Prairie Railroad Bridge at Lewiston upstream to the Cherrylane Bridge.
  • Middle - from the Cherrylane Bridge upstream to the Orofino Bridge, excluding the perimeter of Dworshak National Fish Hatchery at Ahsahka, and excluding the ladder to the Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery as marked by posted boundaries about 100 yards upstream and downstream of the ladder and extending into the river about 50 yards.
  • Upper - from the Orofino Bridge upstream to the South Fork Clearwater River.

North Fork Clearwater: From the mouth to the Dworshak Dam, excluding the perimeter of the Dworshak National Hatchery at Ahsahka.

South Fork Clearwater: From its mouth to the confluence of the American and Red rivers.

Middle Fork Clearwater: From its confluence with the South Fork upstream to the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway rivers.

Lower Salmon River:

  • Pine Bar - From the Rice Creek Bridge upstream to the posted boundary about 200 yards downstream of the Hammer Creek boat ramp. This is a new section added this year.
  • Hammer Creek - From a posted boundary about 200 years downstream from the Hammer Creek boat ramp upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 Time Zone Bridge.
  • Park Hole - From the Time Zone Bridge upstream to a posted boundary at the mouth of Short's Creek, about 1.4 miles upstream of the mouth of the Little Salmon River. Fishing from any watercraft is prohibited within 30 yards of the west shoreline from the Riggins City Park boat ramp upstream to a posted boundary about 200 yards upstream of the mouth of the Little Salmon River.

Little Salmon:

  • Lower - from the mouth to a posted boundary about 200 yards upstream of the mouth of the Rapid River. Fishing from any watercraft is prohibited in the Little Salmon River from the mouth upstream about 200 yards to a posted boundary.
  • Upper - from the posted boundary about 200 yards upstream of the Rapid River upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 Bridge near Smoky Boulder Road.

Snake River: From the Dug Bar boat ramp upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.

Opening May 23:

Lochsa River: From its mouth to the Twin Bridges immediately upstream from the confluence of Crooked Fork and Colt Killed Creeks.

Opening June 19:

Lower Salmon:

  • Vinegar Creek - From posted boundary at the mouth of Shorts' Creek upstream to the uppermost boat ramp at Vinegar Creek.

All these waters will remain open seven days a week until further notice. For additional rules and restrictions, please refer to the 2010 Chinook Salmon Seasons and Rules brochure. All salmon anglers 14 years old and older must have a 2010 Idaho fishing license and salmon permit.