State Fish and Wildlife Columbia River Fishing Reports
by Mark Yuasa
Idaho's spring and summer chinook run this year is expected to be smaller than last year's, and anglers could see shorter seasons and/or lower bag limits.
The Idaho Fish and Game anticipates 59,000 chinook bound for Idaho hatcheries to cross Lower Granite Dam, on the Snake River about 25 miles downstream from Lewiston. Lower Granite is the last dam that fish cross before reaching Idaho, and hatchery chinook with clipped adipose fins are salmon that anglers can harvest. Last year, 81,700 hatchery fish returned to Idaho.
The department will continue to monitor salmon returns as the fish cross the dams, and the Fish and Game Commission is scheduled to set spring fishing seasons at its March 10 meeting in Boise.
The department reported that while numbers are down, last year was the third-largest spring/summer return to Lower Granite since 1975, when fish-counting started at the dam. When coupled with a near-record return of fall chinook (1,387 fish shy of the 2014 record), 2015's total chinook return was the second-largest since 1975 at Lower Granite.
If the 2016 forecast is correct, this year's run will also rank among the top 10 returns for spring/summer chinook at Lower Granite, the department stated. That would provide enough hatchery fish to allow fishing from Lewiston to Stanley.
Last year's season set a record for angling effort, with anglers logging 325,000 hours fishing for chinook and harvesting about 20,000 fish.
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