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South Fork Salmon River Chinook Update – 7/6/21

Hey everyone. I hope you all had a safe and happy Independence Day weekend! For those of you who fished the South Fork over the long-weekend – it was great to see you out there! For those of you who didn’t – you’ve got another shot at it.

Here is a table showing our summary statistics for the South Fork Chinook fishery so far this season:

As you can see, catch rates did not pick up considerably from the weekend prior. Harvest has averaged about 50 clipped adult salmon per day throughout the 6 days of fishing thus far. With approximately 200 clipped adults remaining in the harvest share, we can leave the fishery open for another 4-day interval without going over our harvest share quota.

The South Fork Salmon River will remain open to fishing for Chinook Salmon from Friday, July 9 to Monday, July 12. Fishing hours are 5:30am to 10:00pm. You can view the full seasons and rules brochure HERE.


Tips for fishing the South Fork this weekend

If you’re going to head out on the river this weekend, here are some things that may help you be more successful.

  1. Nearly half of the fish caught last weekend were a result of the hatchery truck recycling fish back down river. Almost 600 recycled fish were marked with a small hole-punch on their left gill-plate, and were released at the Jakie Creek Bridge below Reed Ranch airstrip. A large portion of those fish moved down river after the release, and this is where most of them were caught. We will continue to recycle fish this week and through the weekend to keep them in the fishery.
  2. Catch rates are best first thing in the morning. The majority of the catch we saw occur was between 5:30am and 6:30am. If you’re planning on getting out there to fish this weekend and want to increase your chances of success, be sure to wake up early! Catch rates were also decent in the last hour of the day (9:00pm to 10:00pm), but not as great as the first hour.
  3. Try fishing with bait. Often times a piece of yarn on a hook is all it takes to get a Chinook to bite out of aggression. However, with river levels as low as they are and temps as warm as they are, the Chinook don’t seem to be biting as much. I personally observed fish dodging my gear until I rigged up with bait – at which point they finally took it. Tuna in oil works well, as does cured salmon roe.

Its been great fishing with you all this season! The creel staff and I have enjoyed it very much. With this next 4-day interval likely being the last for the season, lets make sure it is just as enjoyable as the previous days have been. Be safe, have fun, see you out there!