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May 26, 2011

Chinook season set on South Fork, Upper Salmon

By Ed Mitchell, IDFG

   Chinook return data show that the returns this year to the Clearwater, Snake and lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers may be better than forecast earlier this year.

   Idaho Fish and Game Commission Thursday, May 19, adopted Chinook salmon fishing seasons on the upper Salmon and South Fork Salmon rivers, including a new stretch of water near the town of Salmon.

   Commissioners also changed the daily and possession limits on Clearwater, Snake, Lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.

   Salmon bound for the upper Salmon River and the South Fork Salmon River are a little later getting started, but the forecast is for sufficient returns to support sport fishing seasons.

   The seasons would open June 25 on:

   South Fork, lower - From the bridge on Forest Service Road (Lick Creek/East Fork South Fork Road) where it crosses the mainstem South Fork Salmon River just upstream of the confluence with the East Fork South Fork Salmon River, upstream about 16 river miles to a posted boundary about one mile upstream from Fourmile Campground (about two miles downstream from Poverty Flat Campground).

   South Fork Salmon, upper - From a posted boundary about one mile upstream from Fourmile Campground (about 2 miles downstream from Poverty Flat Campground) upstream about 17 river miles to a posted boundary about 100 yards downstream from the Idaho Fish and Game South Fork Salmon River weir and trap.

   Salmon River, Section 17, Ellis Area - From the cable car crossing at the USGS flow gauging station, about 150 yards downstream of Island Park in Salmon, upstream to the posted boundary about 20 yards above the mouth of the Pahsimeroi River in Ellis.

   And a season also will open on July 2 on:

   Salmon River, Section 16, Salmon Area - From the posted boundary by the private bridge crossing about 1.5 miles upstream from the confluence of the main Salmon River and North Fork Salmon River upstream to the posted boundary by the cable car crossing at the USGS flow gauging station, about 150 yards downstream of Island Park in Salmon.

   These waters would remain open until closed by further notice. Fishing hours on the South Fork will be from 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., and on the upper Salmon from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

   Daily bag limits will be six Chinook, no more than two of which may be adults, and the possession limit will be 18 Chinook, no more than six of which may be adults. Anglers must stop fishing for salmon when daily, possession or season limits of adult salmon are reached, which ever comes first.

   Adults are Chinook, 24 or more inches long and jacks are less than 24 inches long. Only salmon with a clipped adipose fin, as evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept. All adult Chinook that are caught and kept must be recorded on the angler's salmon permit.

   In addition, the commission liberalized bag limits on the Clearwater, lower Salmon and Snake rivers. The new limits will allow anglers to keep more of the jacks that are returning in higher than expected numbers.

   Beginning Friday, May 20, daily bag limits on the Clearwater will be six Chinook, only one of which may be an adult, the possession limit will be 18 Chinook only three of which may be adults.

   Effective Friday, May 20, the possession limit on the lower Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake rivers will be 18 Chinook, only six of which may be adults.

   The statewide season limit remains 20 adult Chinook during any 2011 salmon seasons occurring before Sept. 1.

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