Upper Salmon River Chinook
by Brent Beller
Chinook angler effort on the upper Salmon River increased over July 4 weekend. Once again, the majority of anglers were observed fishing downstream of the Yankee Fork Salmon River confluence, but effort also increased upstream of Stanley, near the Sawtooth Hatchery.
An estimated 39 hatchery Chinook (35 adults and 4 jacks) were harvested between Friday and Sunday, and anglers averaged an estimated 44 hours per Chinook caught and 74 hours per Chinook kept.
The season totals through the first two weekends of the fishery are now at 51 hatchery adults and 9 hatchery jacks harvested.
Conditions on the upper Salmon River remained good throughout the week. The river’s visibly was clear, and water temperatures were in the upper 50s. Currently, the Salmon River downstream of the Yankee Fork is flowing at 1,170 cfs, which is 63 percent of average for today’s date. Anglers can check current Salmon River flows near the Yankee Fork by following this link: waterdata.usgs.gov/id/nwis/inventory/?site_no=13296500 and clicking on "Daily Data".
As of Monday, July 6, the Sawtooth Hatchery has trapped 82 adult hatchery Chinook Salmon.
For this upcoming week, we expect catch rates to continue to improve as more salmon move into the fishery area. PIT tag data suggests this year’s run timing is later and more spread out than average. The first PIT tagged Sawtooth adult Chinook Salmon crossed Lower Granite Dam on May 16, and it wasn’t until June 18 that 50 percent of the run had crossed over Lower Granite Dam.
Two PIT tag detection sites currently operate in the Salmon River, and anglers can check for adult salmon detections themselves at www.ptagis.org. Once at the main PTagis page, navigate to Data -> Quick Reports -> Small-Scale Interrogation Site Detections and look for the sites named "USE -- Upper Salmon River at rkm 437" and "USI -- Upper Salmon River at rkm 460".
Once a site is selected, users will have the option to view detections from a specific timeframe, species, or run. When ready, users can click on "Run Document" at the bottom of the page to obtain their query results.
Please remember that PIT tagged smolts will also appear in the results, so it is always a good idea to look at the "release date" for any specific fish that is detected to determine if the fish was an adult or a smolt.
Anglers are reminded that the fishery is open three days per week, Friday through Sunday, from the posted boundary at the South Butte boat ramp approximately three miles west of Clayton, ID to 100 yards downstream of the weir and trap at the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery, south of Stanley, ID.
The daily bag limit is four adipose fin clipped salmon per day, only two of which may be adults. The possession limit is twelve adipose fin clipped salmon of which no more than six may be adults, and the season limit is 10 adult Chinook salmon statewide during the 2020 salmon seasons occurring prior to Aug. 9, 2020.
South Fork Salmon Chinook Numbers Dismal by Steve Liebenthal, KIVI TV, 7/8/20
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