Chinook Fishing Closes on
LEWISTON - Fishery managers estimate that through the end of May, recreational anglers had caught about 2,900 adult Chinook, more than half of the state's harvest share of adult Chinook returning to the Clearwater River drainage. They expected anglers will have caught about 80 percent by Sunday. Most of the fish were caught downstream of the Orofino Bridge.
Adult Chinook are 24 inches or more in total length.
To provide continuing salmon fishing opportunities in the South Fork Clearwater and Lochsa rivers, Fish and Game says it closed the main stem of the Clearwater from its mouth to the Orofino Bridge and the North Fork Clearwater at the end of fishing Sunday.
In addition, Fish and Game will close the main Clearwater upstream of the Orofino Bridge to the South Fork, and the Middle Fork Clearwater at the end of fishing on Sunday June 13.
The South Fork Clearwater River will remain open upstream to the confluence of American and Red rivers, and the Lochsa is open upstream to the Twin Bridges above the confluence of Crooked Fork and Colt Killed creeks.
Elsewhere, Chinook fishing remains open until further notice on the lower Salmon River from the Rice Creek Bridge to a posted boundary at the mouth of Short's Creek, about 1.4 miles upstream of the mouth of the Little Salmon River; on the Little Salmon upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 Bridge near Smokey Boulder Road; on the Snake River from the Dug Bar boat ramp upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
Chinook fishing also will open June 19 on the lower Salmon River from the posted boundary at the mouth of Shorts Creek upstream to the uppermost boat ramp at Vinegar Creek.
Managers estimate that through the end of May, anglers in the Lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers had caught about 4,900 adult Chinook, which is about 45 percent of the state's recreational harvest share of fish returning to Rapid River Hatchery and the Little Salmon River. Anglers also had harvested about 650 adult Chinook salmon in the Snake River fishery below Hells Canyon Dam. Some of the fish trapped at the Hells Canyon facility were taken to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for release into an out-of-basin recreational fishery in the Powder River.
Fish and Game said in a news release that about 900 fish, or about half of the non-tribal fishery share of Chinook salmon returns to Hells Canyon, are still available for harvest.
On Free Fishing Day, Saturday June 12, salmon anglers don't need a fishing license or a permit. Anglers who already have a salmon permit are not required to validate Chinook salmon harvested, but all other salmon fishing rules and limits apply during Free Fishing Day. Only salmon marked with a clipped adipose fin -- evidenced by a healed scar -- may be kept.
Salmon seasons, and daily bag and possession limits listed in the 2010 Chinook Salmon fishing rules brochure are subject to change; updates are available at Fish and Game offices, license vendors and online.
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