the film

Chinook Taking Their
Sweet Time Coming Home

by Eric Barker
Lewiston Tribune, May 8, 2019

Fishing season opens this weekend, but there won’t be a lot of the spring salmon to catch, fisheries manager warns

Adult counts of wild Chinook and Steelhead returning to Idaho (source: Idaho Fish & Game) Fishing for spring chinook opens again in Idaho’s Clearwater, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers Saturday and Sunday and for the first time this year on the Snake River in Washington.

However, the bulk of the run is still moving up the Columbia River and fishing in Idaho and eastern Washington is expected to be slow. Through Tuesday, 25,073 adult spring chinook had been counted passing Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, but just 113 were counted at Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River.

Joe DuPont, regional fisheries manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at Lewiston, said the front end of the run could arrive in the lower Clearwater River this weekend, but fish aren’t likely to arrive in the lower Salmon or Little Salmon rivers in numbers high enough to provide decent fishing for another two weeks.

"There still will not be a lot of fish, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we document our first harvested fish of the year," DuPont said of fishing prospects for the lower Clearwater Saturday and Sunday.

Based on the number of Idaho-bound fish passing Bonneville Dam, DuPont said it appears anglers will be able to harvest about 371 adults from the Clearwater and about 1,900 from the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers. Those numbers are subject to change depending on how the run continues to develop at Bonneville.

The projections are based on the run being unusually late compared to a long-term average but on par with the run timing observed the past three years.

Chris Donley, fish program manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at Spokane, said the run appears to be on pace to meet projections for fisheries on the lower Snake River near Little Goose Dam and Clarkston. Washington fisheries officials expect anglers on the Snake River to be able to harvest about 350 adult chinook.

Both the lower Snake River in Washington and the Clearwater River and some of its tributaries in Idaho are open for chinook fishing Saturdays and Sundays only. The Little Salmon and lower Salmon rivers are open Thurdays through Sundays.

Regional salmon managers expect to have a clearer picture of the run forecast by about the third week of May.

Related Pages:
Chinook Fishing -- Limited as It Is -- Starts Saturday by Staff, Lewiston Tribune, 5/8/19
For 2019 Columbia/Snake Spring Chinook, Sockeye Returns Forecasted To Be Well Below Average by Staff, Lewiston Tribune 2/1/19
Meager Numbers of Returning Chinook Has State Fishery Managers Wary by Eric Barker, Lewiston Tribune, 4/21/19

Eric Barker
Chinook Taking Their Sweet Time Coming Home
Lewiston Tribune, May 8, 2019

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