Press Release

Spring chinook seasons open Saturday

The spring chinook salmon fishing season will open Saturday, April 22, with a four-day-a-week season in the Clearwater River drainage, and daily fishing on the Snake, lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.

Chinook have started entering the Columbia River, but only 503 have crossed Bonneville Dam as of Sunday, April 16. Bonneville is the first of eight dams the fish cross in the Columbia/Snake river systems.

The forecast for this year is 45,046 adult adipose fin-clipped hatchery fish to cross Lower Granite Dam about 25 miles downstream from Lewiston, which is the last dam the fish cross before reaching Idaho. Last year, an estimated adult 52,228 adult adipose fin-clipped hatchery chinook crossed Lower Granite.

Once open, the seasons will continue as set until further notice. The season typically ends when the sport anglers' share of the run is caught, which varies by river.

Because the projected return to the Clearwater River basin is down this year, and the sport anglers share is about 1,900 adult fish, fishing will be open Thursdays through Sundays and closed Mondays to Wednesdays. Limits are four fish per day, only one of which may be an adult (24 inches or longer). The possession limit is twelve fish, only three may be adults.

In the Snake, lower Salmon, and Little Salmon rivers, fishing will be open seven days a week. Anglers will be allowed to keep four fish per day, only two of which may be adults. The possession limit in these rivers is twelve fish, only six may be adults.

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 (jacks) count against the daily limit but need not be recorded on the salmon permit. The season limit is 20 adult chinook salmon for seasons prior to September 1.

Other rules and special restrictions for the chinook salmon fishery are in the 2017 Seasons and Rules brochure available at Fish and Game offices, license vendors, and online at https://idfg.idaho.gov/fish/chinook/rules.

Salmon anglers can view up-to-date season information, including seasons and rules, in-season fish counts, harvest information, hatchery returns, and interactive season maps, by visiting Fish and Game's website at https://idfg.idaho.gov/fish/chinook

The Fish and Game Commission is scheduled to decide on summer chinook salmon fisheries on the Lochsa River, South Fork Salmon River and upper Salmon River at its May meeting. Fish return to those areas later than to the Clearwater River and Rapid River hatcheries, allowing fishery managers more time to develop season proposals.