Idaho Fish and Game projections for salmon run

LEWISTON, ID - It's been a slow start to the salmon season as local fisherman have noticed, with hardly a nibble on their lines.

Idaho Gish and Game shares their projections for the rest of the summer, and we learn why it's not all bad news for area fisherman.

Clearwater Region Fishery Manager Joe DuPont says avid anglers and outdoor recreators are feeling the dry spell with the beginning of the salmon fishing season starting out with little activity.

"Four days a week is pretty unusual compared to what we have in the past, because the run is much lower than what we've experienced in the past," said DuPont. "For example, compared to last year we had a harvest share of around 5,000 and this year we're projecting 3,100 to 1,000, quite a bit less than before."

This year, local fisherman are not only restricted by the days they can fish, but the areas they're able to cast off into the river, are limited as well.

"One piece of data suggests when these fish migrated out of smolts and hit the ocean, the ocean conditions weren't as good as previous years," said DuPont.

But it's not all bad news as DuPont says a slow start to the season doesn't mean there aren't more coming through the dams.

"Now at least four to five times more fish are coming over Lower Granite Dam so I expect the fishing to pick up quite a bit," said DuPont.

He says there's been an influx in jack salmon, which are easier to catch than the adults.

"Typically when we have a lot of jacks coming that means we're going to have a whole lot of adults coming next year as well so it bodes well for next year," said DuPont.

Dupont said the Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet next week to look at the salmon runs as they come over the dams. He says, if the harvest share goes up, they'll have the ability to expand fishing areas.