Friday, June 28, 2013

Chinook season canceled this year

Fish run is way off 10-year average

Express Staff Writer

Express Staff Writer
    Due to a decade-low return of chinook salmon to Idaho, there will be no chinook fishing season this year on the upper Salmon River.
    The season normally begins about the third week in June and goes to about mid-July.    
    According to figures compiled by Columbia Basin Research at the University of Washington’s School of Aquatic & Fishery Sciences, 37,781 chinook salmon passed through Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River as of June 26. The 10-year average for this point in the season is 60,209 fish. That’s a 37 percent decline.
    Sam Sharr, anadromous fisheries coordinator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, said there will be a chinook season on the South Fork of the Salmon River, opening July 5 for Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. However, he said the allowed total of 600 to 700 hatchery-raised adults might be reached on the first weekend.
    A spring season on the Lower Salmon River and the Little Salmon River did occur but is now closed. According to the Department of Fish and Game, 3,405 adult fish and “jacks” were caught and kept on those rivers. Fishermen caught and released an additional 21 wild fish.
    Sharr said the poor chinook run this year did not come as a surprise, since few jacks (young adults) returned last year.
    “That’s an indication of poor ocean survival conditions,” he said.
    Sharr said the department is expecting a good steelhead season this year on the upper Salmon River.
    “That’s good news for upper Salmon fishermen,” he said.

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