Salmon Return to Ancestral Spawning BedsGreg Stahl
Idaho Mountain Express - August 14, 2002
Their 900-mile upriver migrations complete, threatened chinook salmon have begun to spawn in the upper mainstem of the Salmon River near Stanley.
In order to provide good floating opportunities and to protect salmon spawning areas, the Sawtooth National Recreation Area has implemented floating and fishing restrictions to protect spawning activities.
That means rafters and kayakers must adhere to river closures, mandatory portages and self-issue permit regulations.
The fish that return to the Salmon River are summer chinook. They spawn in the main stem of the river, which is popular with floaters. One salmon spawning nest, called a redd, has been discovered upstream from Stanley, and others are expected soon in other river reaches.
The presence of the redd triggered implementation of the regulations.
According to SNRA Deputy Area Ranger Lisa Stoeffler, this is early for spawning to begin.
"This is earlier than normal, but we expect a lot of fish back again this year, so its not too surprising." she said.
In light of the low water and salmon restrictions, many rafting outfitters change their focus from whitewater adventure to salmon education.
Sawtooth Adventure Co., as an example, will host endangered salmon tours. Sawtooth Adventure Co. is one of approximately four outfitters in the area.
"Trained salmon specialists will give a detailed history along with current issues facing the chinook while visitors enjoy a day of farting and portaging around sensitive salmon breeding grounds," according to a press release from the outfitter.
Additionally, Idaho Rivers United is ramping up for the third annual Sawtooth Salmon Festival on Aug. 24 in downtown Stanley. The event, which will run from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., will feature sockeye and chinook education, Native American dance, salmon tours, music and food.
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