Press Release

Commission approves spring Chinook season, opener is April 28

Forecast is for the spring run to be well above last year and slightly above the 10-year average

Fish and Game Commission on Thursday, March 22 approved spring Chinook fishing on the Clearwater, Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers to start April 28 and run until closed by the Fish and Game director. 

Fisheries managers are forecasting a run of 66,000 spring Chinook, roughly double last year’s return and slightly above the 10-year average of 62,000. 

Included in the forecast are 53,000 hatchery Chinook and 13,000 wild Chinook. The 2017 return was 30,000 and 4,000. 

The actual run has just started with only six spring Chinook crossing Bonneville Dam as of March 22. 

Rules will include open fishing four days per week, Thursdays through Sundays, in the Clearwater drainage and seven days per week in the Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake rivers. 

Daily bag limits will be four per day with no more than one being an adult (24-inches or longer) in the Clearwater River system and four per day with no more than two being adults in the Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake rivers. 

Sections of the Clearwater River open for fishing will include: 

  • Mainstem Clearwater from Camas Prairie Bridge upstream to the mouth of the South Fork of the Clearwater River. 
  • North Fork Clearwater from mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam. 
  • South Fork Clearwater from mouth upstream to the confluence of American and Red rivers
  • Middle Fork Clearwater from South Fork Clearwater upstream to the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway rivers. 
  • Salmon River will be open from Rice Creek Bridge upstream to the uppermost boat ramp at Vinegar Creek. 
  • Little Salmon River will be open from the mouth upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 bridge near Smokey Boulder Road. 
  • Snake River will be open from Dug Bar boat ramp to Hells Canyon Dam. 

Full rules will be posted on Fish and Game’s website in late March or early April.  Printed rules will be available prior to the season opener.