Chinook salmon fishing in the Clearwater River basin will remain closed May 18-19 due to lower-than-expected returns of adult Chinook, which includes the following rivers: Clearwater River, North Fork Clearwater River, Middle Fork Clearwater River, and South Fork Clearwater River. 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 River and Little Salmon River.
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, over 80 percent 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.