Because Chinook Salmon return to so many places in the state, it’s hard to say there is a best place to fish. Much of this has to do with an angler’s preference in how they like to fish and how far they are willing to travel.
If you want to fish where the best catch rates occur consider fishing closer to where the fish are released. Recognize that these locations are also the most crowded and it is not unusual to fish shoulder to shoulder in these areas. You can learn where these release locations are by calling the Clearwater or Salmon Fish and Game offices. If you don’t like crowds, there are many places where one doesn’t have to fish right next to another person. However, these places tend to have lower catch rates. If one does enough searching, at times you can find good fishing with little competition from other anglers.
Some people like to fish from boats whereas others like to fish from shore. In general, the smaller rivers tend to provide the most shore fishing opportunities, and the larger rivers tend to provide more boat fishing opportunities. If you like shore fishing consider the South Fork Clearwater, Little Salmon, South Fork Salmon, and upper Salmon rivers. If you want to fish from a boat consider the Clearwater and lower Salmon rivers.