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Ecology and salmon related articles

State Sets Rare Chinook Season

by Jason Kauffman
Idaho Mountain Express, May 28, 2008

Fishing to be allowed on upper Salmon River

The last time anglers could fish for chinook salmon in the Sawtooth Valley was more than 30 years ago in 1977. Since then, declines in the popular game fish have kept the Idaho Department of Fish and Game from allowing anglers to pursue chinook in the upper Salmon River.

That's set to change this summer. During its meeting in Jerome last week on May 22, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted chinook salmon seasons on both the upper Salmon River and the South Fork of the Salmon River, a news release from the agency states. The number of returning chinook expected to pass Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River this year is expected to be about five times the 2007 run.

The upper Salmon will be open from June 19 until Aug. 2 or until further notice. Fishing will be open on the main Salmon River from the state Highway 75 bridge at milepost 231.5, about 10 miles west of Clayton, upstream to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream of the weir at the Sawtooth Hatchery south of Stanley.

In anticipation of the possible season last month, local fly-fishing guide Zac Mayhew of Lost River Outfitters in Ketchum said a chinook season on the upper Salmon would be a boost for local tourist-related businesses.

"It would be a plus for all of us," he said.

The South Fork of the Salmon River will be open from June 25 until further notice. The South Fork will be open from the U.S. Forest Service bridge on Forest Service Road 48 that crosses just upstream from the confluence with the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River upstream about 33 river miles to a posted boundary about 100 yards downstream from the Idaho Fish and Game weir and trap.

On both rivers angler limits will be two adult spring chinook per day, with no more than six fish in possession. The statewide season limit for adult chinook is 40 fish.

Only hatchery chinook salmon with a clipped adipose fin, evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept. Salmon with an intact adipose fin are considered wild fish and must be released immediately. Any salmon caught must be released or killed immediately after landing.

The rules have changed for jack chinook salmon this year. Anglers may keep two adipose-fin-clipped jacks per day and have six in possession in addition to the adult chinook daily and possession limits. But they don't have to record the jacks on their permit, the Fish and Game news release states.

Jacks are young male salmon that return to spawn in their river of origin after spending only one year in salt water. Fish and Game considers jacks as any chinook less than 24 inches long.

When the adult chinook possession limit is reached, the angler must stop all fishing for salmon, including catch-and-release and for jacks.

Anglers may use only barbless hooks no larger than five-eighths inch from the point to the shank. It is unlawful to take or fish for salmon by snagging.

Open fishing hours are from a half hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.

Related Pages:
First Summer Chinook Season in 38 Years by Barry Espenson, Columbia Basin Bulletin, 7/11/3
Rare Summer Chinook Sport Fishery Approved by CBB staff, Columbia Basin Bulletin, 6/6/3

Jason Kauffman
State Sets Rare Chinook Season
Idaho Mountain Express, May 28, 2008

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