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BOISE — Chinook salmon fishing in the Clearwater River basin will remain closed May 18-19 due to lower than expected returns of adult Chinook. This includes the following rivers: Clearwater, North Fork Clearwater, Middle Fork Clearwater and South Fork Clearwater. If more fish return, the fishing season may reopen later in May.

Currently, the number of fish returning to Rapid River Hatchery is projected to be high enough for the fisheries to remain open in the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.

Chinook salmon

Chinook salmon.

Based on the number of PIT-tagged fish passing over Bonneville Dam, fisheries managers are projecting that not enough Chinook will return to hatcheries in the Clearwater River basin to meet brood needs. However, dam counts and PIT-tag detections have been fluctuating and there's some uncertainty to the actual size of the run.

By May 22, more than 80% of the Chinook salmon destined for the Clearwater River basin should have passed over Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, and managers will have a better idea if the Chinook return will be large enough to allow for more fishing.

Biologists will reassess the fishery later in May and decide whether to reopen fishing.

For more information, go to idfg.idaho.gov/fish/chinook/rules.

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