South Fork Salmon River Opens Soon for Salmon Fishing

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Salmon anglers with plans to fish the South Fork of the Salmon River will find more real estate available for fishing this season, even while fire recovery efforts continue.

Recreational fishery opens June 25 and will remain open daily from a half hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset until the harvest goal of about 1,300 adult hatchery Chinook salmon is met.

The Boise and Payette National Forests are working with Idaho Fish and Game to manage the 2008 salmon fishing season in the midst of a fire recovery zone.

The 2007 fires left the South Fork area heavily burned. To reduce impacts to the recovering landscape, Fish and Game and Forest Service officials have decided to include a larger portion of the South Fork Salmon River drainage for sport fishing.

This expanded opportunity for anglers is designed to reduce fishing pressure in a short section along the river and is intended to disperse angler impacts.

The expanded area includes a 33-mile section of the South Fork Salmon River beginning 100 yards downstream from the adult salmon weir and trap to the FS 48 road bridge near the confluence with the East Fork South Fork Salmon River.

While roads will remain open, much of the area along the South Fork will be closed to motorized trail vehicles this season. Camping, parking and glass containers are also restricted during the fishing season. Camping is closed in the river corridor, but a map of local camping locations is available.

For information on restrictions and closures, contact the Cascade Ranger District in advance, or pick up a map, brochure, and other visitor information upon arrival.

For Chinook salmon seasons and rules see the Fish and Game Website at:, or check the Chinook pamphlet for the South Fork, available at license vendors.

Fish and Game will operate angler check stations near both fishery boundaries, where information also will be available. Road construction may cause traffic delays.

Forest Service officials ask that visitors to “pack it in, pack it out” and use hardened paths along the river. A fishing license and salmon tag are required to fish for salmon, and only Chinook salmon with a clipped adipose fin may be harvested.

Evin Oneale is the regional conservation educator for the Southwest Region.