Chinook season opens Saturday on four Idaho rivers

The spring Chinook salmon fishing season will open on parts of the Clearwater, Lochsa, Salmon and Snake rivers.

The Chinook salmon return to Idaho this year is forecasted to be similar to the returns observed in 2014. As of April 15, more than 13,500 Chinook crossed Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, while 70 fish crossed Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River.

Fish and Game tailored the 2015 fisheries proposals to meet hatchery broodstock needs, focus fishing efforts in areas where hatchery fish are most abundant, and still allow fishing in river reaches that anglers have grown accustomed to fishing in recent years.

In the Clearwater Basin, except for the South Fork Clearwater River, limits are set at four fish per day, only one of which may be an adult. The possession limit in these parts of the Clearwater River drainage will be 12 fish, only three of which may be adults.

In the South Fork Clearwater, lower Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake River fisheries, anglers will be allowed to keep four fish per day, only two of which may be adults. The possession limit in these fisheries will be 12 fish, of which only six may be adults.

These areas will be open seven days a week. The season limit will be 20 adult Chinook salmon for seasons prior to Sept. 1.

Only Chinook salmon with a clipped adipose fin, as evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept. Only adult Chinook salmon must be recorded on the salmon permit. An adult Chinook is any adipose fin-clipped Chinook 24 or more inches from the tip of the nose to the tip of the tail. Chinook salmon less than 24 inches (jacks) count against the daily limit but need not be recorded on the salmon permit.

An angler must cease fishing for Chinook salmon once they have retained their daily, possession or season limit of adult Chinook salmon or their overall (fish of any size) daily or possession limit of Chinook salmon, whichever comes first.

Other rules and special restrictions for the Chinook salmon fishery are in the 2015 spring Chinook salmon brochure available at Fish and Game offices, license vendors, and online at

The Commission will consider Chinook salmon fisheries on the South Fork Salmon and upper Salmon Rivers at its May 20 meeting in Lewiston. Fish return to those areas later than to the Clearwater River and Rapid River Hatcheries, giving managers more time to develop fishery proposals for those areas.

Applications sought for commission positions

Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter is accepting applications to fill two positions on the seven-member Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

One would replace Commissioner Fred Trevey of the Clearwater Region, and the other would replace Kenny Anderson of the Upper Snake Region. To be appointed, a successful candidate must be a resident of the Department of Fish and Game’s Clearwater or Upper Snake regions and must be well informed and interested in wildlife conservation and restoration.

Anyone interested may contact Ann Beebe in the governor’s office at 208-334-2100 or by email at Applications via email must be received by the governor’s office by May 22, or postmarked by May 22 if sent by regular mail.

Fish and Game commissioners are appointed for staggered four-year terms. No more than four commissioners may be from the same political party. Each commissioner must be confirmed by the Idaho State Senate. Each of the seven Fish and Game commissioners represents a different region of the state. The commission is responsible for administering the Fish and Game policies of Idaho.

Commissioners meet in January, March, May, July and November of each year. In recent years, the complexity of wildlife and fisheries management has made special sessions necessary in addition to the quarterly meetings.

Major duties and responsibilities of the commission are to supervise the director of the Department of Fish and Game; establish rules and other needed controls on fishing, hunting, trapping and wildlife management in line with the state’s wildlife policy; approve department budgets for submission to the Legislature; conduct public hearings and make decisions on managing the state’s wildlife.