Fish and Game Commissioners on Thursday, June 13, opened chinook salmon fishing effective immediately on the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River to allow anglers the opportunity to harvest hatchery fish bound for the Selway River that are normally caught in the Lower Clearwater River, which did not have a Chinook season during spring.
"Over 1,200 hatchery spring chinook salmon are destined for the Selway River where we have no ability to trap them and use them for brood stock," Clearwater Regional Fisheries Manager Joe DuPont said. "Because harvesting these fish will not affect how many fish we collect for brood, we decided it only makes sense to allow people to fish for them."
Fisheries managers did not propose a fishing season on the South Fork of the Salmon River because the run appears to be too small to support fishing, but managers will continue to monitor fish counts over the dams and may still open a fishery there if the run can support it.
Fishing rules for the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River are as follows:
Fishing area: from the Nez Perce Reservation boundary (near mile post 79 US Highway 12) upstream to the confluence of the Selway and Lochsa rivers.
Areas will be closed by Closure Order signed by the Director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
Fishing for chinook salmon in the Middle Fork Clearwater River will be open seven (7) days a week.
Fishing is permitted from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Pacific Daylight Time)
Daily = Four (4) chinook Salmon, only two (2) of which may be adults.
Possession = Twelve (12) chinook Salmon, only six (6) of which may be adults.
Anglers may retain any chinook salmon with or without an intact adipose fin in the Middle Fork Clearwater River chinook salmon fishery.
Anglers must cease fishing for all chinook salmon (including jacks) once they have retained their daily, possession or season limit of adult chinook salmon or their overall daily, possession, or season limit of chinook salmon of any size, whichever comes first.
Season limit, statewide
No person may take more than ten (10) adult chinook Salmon statewide during 2019 salmon seasons occurring prior to August 13, 2019.
Definitions pertaining to limits
Adult chinook salmon are defined as any chinook salmon greater than or equal to 24 inches in length.
Jack chinook salmon are defined as any chinook salmon less than 24 inches in length.
Use of bait
Fishing with bait for chinook salmon is allowed on the Middle Fork Clearwater River.