An adult spring chinook caught from the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River. 

BOISE — Fish and Game Commissioners have opened Chinook salmon fishing on the middle fork of the Clearwater River to allow anglers the opportunity to harvest hatchery fish 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 in a statement. “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 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.

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Fishing rules for the middle fork of the Clearwater River are as follows:

  • Fishing area — from the Nez Perce Reservation boundary, near milepost 79 on U.S. 12, upstream to the confluence of the Selway and Lochsa rivers
  • Closing dates — by closure order signed by the director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game
  • Fishing days — open seven days a week
  • Fishing hours — from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time
  • Bag limits — Daily = four Chinook salmon, only two of which may be adults. Possession = 12 Chinooks, only six of which may be adults. Anglers may retain any Chinook with or without an intact adipose fin in the middle fork Clearwater River Chinook salmon fishery.
  • Other rules — Anglers must cease fishing for all Chinook salmon, including jacks, once they have retained their daily, possession or season limit of adult Chinooks or their overall daily, possession or season limit of Chinooks of any size, whichever comes first.
  • Season limit, statewide — No person may take more than 10 adult Chinook salmon statewide during 2019 salmon seasons occurring prior to Aug. 13.
  • Definitions pertaining to limits — Adult Chinook salmon are defined as any Chinook greater than or equal to 24 inches in length. Jacks 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 of the Clearwater River.

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