NewsIdaho Backroads


Fish and Game Commission approves spring Chinook salmon season

Posted at 8:27 AM, Mar 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 10:27:47-04

BOISE, Idaho — The Fish and Game Commission approved spring Chinook fishing on the Clearwater, Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers to start April 25, 2020 and run until closed by the Fish and Game director.

Full rules will available on Fish and Game’s website soon. Printed rules will be available prior to the season opener.

Fisheries managers are forecasting a better run this year compared to last year, although in recent years forecasts have overestimated the actual run size. This year’s forecast is projecting a return of about 30,000 hatchery fish to Lower Granite Dam, which is about 35 miles downstream from Lewiston and the last of the eight dams that returning salmon cross on their way back to Idaho.

The harvest share forecasted for Idaho sport anglers is 2,900 adults in the Clearwater, Lower Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake rivers, which includes about 1,000 fish in the Clearwater, 1,600 in the Lower Salmon/Little Salmon rivers, and 300 in the Snake River.

The actual run has just has just started, with just 15 adult spring Chinook crossing Bonneville Dam as of March 14.

Rules will include open fishing two days per week, Saturday and Sunday, in the Clearwater River system, four days per week in the Salmon and Little Salmon rivers, Thursday through Sunday, and seven days per week in the Snake River.

Daily bag limits for all open waters will be four per day, with no more than one being an adult (24-inches or longer).

Areas open to fishing for Chinook Salmon include:

Clearwater River Drainage

  • Mainstem Clearwater River – From the Camas Prairie Railroad Bridge at Lewiston to Cherrylane Bridge (no fishing from a boat from Highway 12 Arrow Bridge to Cherrylane Bridge)
  • Mainstem Clearwater River – From Pink House Boat Ramp to Five Mile Boat Ramp
  • North Fork Clearwater – From the mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam excluding the perimeter of the Dworshak National Hatchery (no fishing from a boat)
  • South Fork Clearwater River – from Nez Perce Tribal Reservation boundary (just downstream of Harpster) to the top of the hole immediately upstream of Mount Idaho Grade Bridge
  • Middle Fork Clearwater River – From the South Fork Clearwater River upstream to the confluence of the Lochsa and Selway rivers

Salmon River Drainage

  • Lower Salmon River – From the Rice Creek Bridge upstream to the uppermost boat ramp at Vinegar Creek (see special restrictions regarding fishing from watercraft)
  • Little Salmon River – From the mouth upstream to the US Highway 95 Bridge near Smokey Boulder Road

Snake River Drainage

  • Snake River- From Dug Bar Boat Ramp to Hells Canyon Dam