Fish and Game Expects
by Roger Phillips
The season will open April 25 on the Clearwater, the Lower Salmon, Little Salmon and the Snake rivers.
Idaho Fish and Game added 25 miles of additional water upstream from Riggins, which will open later, and tweaked downstream boundaries for salmon fishing to allow fishing 200 yards downstream from the Hammer Creek boat ramp.
Seasons will open May 23 on the Lochsa River, and June 20 on the Lower Salmon River from Shorts Creek upstream about 25 miles to the boat ramp at Vinegar Creek.
The later opener on the Lower Salmon is expected to coincide with season openers on the Upper Salmon and the South Fork of the Salmon rivers. Fish and Game will determine those seasons later this spring.
A new rule this year restricts boat anglers in Riggins near the mouth of the Little Salmon River to allow better access for anglers on the west bank.
Salmon seasons would not have firm closure dates, which allows Fish and Game to close seasons as needed to protect wild fish or reduce downstream harvests that could affect fishing opportunity upstream.
The department predicts about 105,600 hatchery chinook and almost 23,000 wild chinook will return to Idaho.
That translates into estimates of 13,341 fish available for sport anglers in the Clearwater River, 9,700 in the Lower Salmon and Little Salmon and 1,365 in the Snake River.
Last year, 68,000 chinook returned, and this year's run could be the best since 2001, which was the largest run in decades with 172,000 chinook returning and anglers harvesting 43,300 fish.
Fish and Game is including a table of fishing hours in this year's rules brochure that shows exact times when fishing is allowed.
So far, chinook are arriving late and Fish and Game will release a spring chinook season and rules brochure before the seasons open.
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