Fall Chinook and Coho
Sept. 1 marks the first day of the fall chinook salmon fishing season on parts of the Snake, Clearwater, and Salmon rivers; as well as the second-ever coho season on the Clearwater River.
The 2015 fall chinook forecast is 37,000 hatchery and naturally-produced fall chinook to the Snake River basin.
The Snake River will open for fall chinook fishing from the Washington-Idaho border upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
Fishing on the Snake River from the Cliff Mountain Rapids (about a mile downstream of Hells Canyon Dam) will be open until Oct.31, but could be closed sooner depending on the actual number of fish that return and the amount of harvest. The stretch between Hells Canyon Dam and Cliff Mountain Rapids is scheduled to remain open until Nov. 17, or until further notice.
The Clearwater River, from its mouth upstream to Memorial Bridge in Lewiston; and the Salmon River, from its mouth upstream about three-fourths of a mile to Eye of the Needle Rapids, will be open until Oct. 31, or until further notice.
A valid fishing license and salmon permit are required to fish for fall chinook. Only adipose-clipped salmon may be kept. The daily bag limit is six adult fall chinook salmon, the possession limit is 18 adult fall chinook. There is no season limit on adult fall chinook.
Only adult fall chinook (24-inches and longer) must be recorded on the angler's salmon permit. There is no daily, possession, or season limit on fall chinook jacks (those less than 24 inches).
This fall, anglers will enjoy the second consecutive coho salmon season in more than 30 years. Fisheries managers predict between 18,000 and 5,000 coho will return to Idaho, enough to provide a tribal and non-tribal sport fishery.
The coho season will run through Nov. 15 on the mainstem and Middle Fork Clearwater River from the mouth upstream to Clear Creek near Kooskia, and on the North Fork Clearwater River downstream from Dworshak Dam.
Anglers can keep two coho salmon per day and have six in possession. Season limit is 10.
Coho released from the Nez Perce Tribe's hatchery program have not had their adipose fins clipped. Anglers are reminded that they may keep coho salmon with an intact adipose fin, but fall chinook salmon with adipose fins must be released unharmed. With both salmon in these rivers, anglers are encouraged to carefully identify their catch before harvest.
Color illustrations are in the fishing brochure and online.
Steelhead season to open on Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon
The fall steelhead harvest season opens Tuesday, Sept. 1 on the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.
The Snake River is open from the Washington State line at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
The Salmon River is open from its mouth upstream to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream of Sawtooth Hatchery.
The Little Salmon River is open from its mouth upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 Bridge near Smokey Boulder road.
The limits on these waters are three per day and nine in possession.
The Clearwater upstream of the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge, the Middle Fork, North Fork and South Fork Clearwater rivers are catch-and-release only until Oct. 15, when the harvest season in those sections opens.
The harvest season already is open the two-mile stretch of the lower Clearwater River from its mouth to the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge near Lewiston.
The limits on the Clearwater are two per day and six in possession.
Anglers may keep 20 steelhead for the fall season, which ends Dec. 31. Only steelhead with a clipped adipose fin, evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept. Any steelhead that has an intact adipose fin must be released unharmed.
For additional information, consult the current fishing rules and seasons brochure available at all license vendors, Fish and Game offices and online at: fishandgame.idaho.gov/fish/steelhead/rules.
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