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Ecology and salmon related articles

Chinook Season is a No-Go on
South Fork of Salmon River

by Jerry Painter
Post Register, June 22, 2019

Adult returns of wild Salmon and Steelhead from 1962 to 2018 based on counts at the uppermost Lower Snake River Dam.  Four were constructed in the sixties and seventies and populations have been below historic levels ever since. (Source: Idaho Fish & Game's Master dataset) With reduced counts of returning Chinook salmon over the Columbia and Snake river dams, Idaho Department of Fish and Game has pulled the plug on a summer season for the South Fork of the Salmon River.

As of June 17, daily counts of both hatchery and wild origin adults over Lower Granite Dam stood at 208 fish. The total number of fish counted to date was 19,155 compared to 31,161 salmon last year at Lower Granite.

"Chinook fishing has been very limited this year with the only Chinook fishing currently open on the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River, and there was a fairly brief fishing season on the Lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers," a Fish and Game news release said.

The agency opened fishing last week for hatchery spring Chinook from the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway rivers to the boundary of the Nez Perce Indian Reservation at about mile marker 79 on U.S. Highway 12.

As of June 18, Fish and Game was reporting 18 total fish caught on the Middle Fork Clearwater River with nearly 800 hours spent on the river by anglers.

"While lack of a fishing season on the South Fork Salmon is disappointing for anglers, fishery managers expect enough hatchery Chinook to return to the South Fork to meet broodstock needs at the nearby McCall Hatchery," the release said. "Those fish will produce the next generation of smolts to be released, which will hopefully provide fishing opportunity in the future."

Jerry Painter
Chinook Season is a No-Go on South Fork of Salmon River
Post Register, June 22, 2019

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