The spring Chinook salmon fishing season will open April 25, on parts of the Clearwater, Lochsa, Salmon and Snake rivers.
The Chinook salmon return to Idaho this year is forecasted to be similar to the returns observed in 2014. As of April 15, over 13,500 Chinook have crossed Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, while 70 fish have crossed Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River.
Fish and Game tailored the 2015 fisheries proposals to meet hatchery broodstock needs, focus fishing efforts in areas where hatchery fish are most abundant, and still allow fishing in river reaches that anglers have grown accustomed to fishing in recent years.
In the Clearwater Basin, except for the South Fork Clearwater River, limits are set at four fish per day, only one of which may be an adult. The possession limit in these parts of the Clearwater River drainage will be twelve fish, only three of which may be adults.
In the South Fork Clearwater, lower Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake River fisheries, anglers will be allowed to keep four fish per day, only two of which may be adults. The possession limit in these fisheries will be twelve fish, of which only six may be adults.
These areas will be open seven days a week. The season limit will be 20 adult Chinook salmon for seasons prior to September 1.
Only Chinook salmon with a clipped adipose fin, as evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept. Only adult Chinook salmon must be recorded on the salmon permit. An adult Chinook is any adipose fin-clipped Chinook 24 or more inches from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. Chinook salmon less than 24 inches (jacks) count against the daily limit but need not be recorded on the salmon permit.
An angler must cease fishing for Chinook salmon once they have retained their daily, possession, or season limit of adult Chinook salmon or their overall (fish of any size) daily or possession limit of Chinook salmon, whichever comes first.
Other rules and special restrictions for the Chinook salmon fishery are in the 2015 spring Chinook salmon brochure available at Fish and Game offices, license vendors, and online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=110.
The Commission will consider Chinook salmon fisheries on the South Fork Salmon and upper Salmon Rivers at its May 20 meeting in Lewiston. Fish return to those areas later than to the Clearwater River and Rapid River Hatcheries, giving managers more time to develop fishery proposals for those areas.