The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet via a conference call at 9 a.m.
Monday, April 22, (MDT) to consider proposed recreational fishing seasons for spring Chinook salmon on the Clearwater, Salmon and Snake rivers.
The conference call will be in the Fish and Game director’s office at 600 S. Walnut St. in Boise.
The steelhead return to Idaho has been below the five year average, and that may be an indication of what’s in store with the Chinook run, which is expected to be lower that in recent years.
The run has started, but until about 30 percent of the run has crossed Bonneville Dam, fishery managers don’t have enough information to estimate the return to Idaho and recommend a season. The average time for 30 percent of Idaho’s returning hatchery stocks to cross Bonneville is April 19.
This year’s preseason forecast was for about 16,800 hatchery Chinook to return to Idaho. If they show up as forecast, and after the broodstock for the state’s hatcheries is subtracted, that leaves a small margin to fish from – an estimated 7,200 fish to be split between the tribes and recreational anglers.
Managers expect to have enough information by the third week of April to propose spring Chinook seasons in the Clearwater, Little Salmon and lower Salmon rivers. By May, they expect to propose season framework for fisheries in the South Fork Salmon and upper Salmon rivers.
According to fisheries managers there is a good chance that this year’s run will be larger than forecasted. Over the last 30 years, forecasts for smaller runs have shown a tendency to underestimate the actual run size.
Logo courtesy Idaho Department of Fish and Game