I was looking through the Chinook brochure and didn't see the S fork Salmon listed. Will it be open this year, or when will the decision to open be made?
Ok, as biologists we like to have data "in-hand" before setting seasons and bag limits. The primary information we rely on is the number of Passive Induced Transponder (PIT) tagged adult fish that pass the first dam on the Columbia River (Bonneville) on their journey up the Columbia and Snake rivers. Each tag has an individual number - so we know where the fish originated, as a juvenile. The antennas at the dam read the tag and send us real-time information. We proportion the number of tagged fish from a hatchery, such as Rapid River near Riggins, and can forcast run numbers with that information.
Lower Salmon River and Clearwater fish usually pass Bonneville Dam, first - so those are the first season and bag limits we set in March/early April. South Fork Salmon River PIT tagged fish pass next so we typically wait until May or early June to set the South Fork Salmon River season and bag limit. The latest fish to pass Bonneville are salmon headed to the upper Salmon River to our Sawtooth and Pahsimeroi hatcheries - so determination for that season will be made in June by our Idaho Fish and Game Commission.