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The good news is they are likely to include more big ones.
The long cool spring has delayed the Chinook return. The lateness of the run had managers concerned that the return would be less than preseason forecasts. But over the past week and a half, counts at Bonneville Dam have picked up, and it now looks like the run will at least match the preseason forecast.
Especially exciting for anglers this year should be the composition of the return – there’s a higher proportion of the fish in this year’s run that have spent three, rather than two years in the ocean.
That extra year in the ocean can mean the fish are 10 pounds heavier than the fish returning after only two years in the ocean that anglers were catching last year.
The fish are probably at least two weeks out from reaching the Riggins area of the Salmon River, but they could be showing in good numbers in the lower Clearwater River by this weekend.
The Idaho Chinook fishing season opened April 23 in the Clearwater, Snake, Little Salmon and part of the lower Salmon rivers.
The lower Salmon River from Short’s Creek upstream to Vinegar Creek will open June 18. Closing dates will be announced by Fish and Game.
Seasons for Chinook fishing in the South Fork Salmon and the upper Salmon rivers will be proposed to the commission at the scheduled May meeting.
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