Boise River Gets
by Jessica Murri
Earlier this month, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game released about 150 surplus salmon from hatcheries into the Boise River. Now, they're releasing more for the anglers that line the banks, practically ready to catch them as they drop into the water.
The fish will be released between noon and 4 p.m. on Friday, July 18, at the Glenwood Bridge, the Parkcenter Bridge and Barber Park. A fisheries manager estimates numbers will be similar this time.
Last time, about 50 of the salmon released were adult (24 inches or longer), and the rest were jacks (less than 24 inches). According to a news release from Idaho Fish and Game, the ratio of adults to jacks won't be known until the fish come out of the Rapid River Hatchery near McCall.
"Whenever the last one gets caught, they'll be gone," said IDFG Spokesman Mike Keckler when the Chinooks were released earlier this month. Most people who want to fish for salmon have to leave the Treasure Valley for places like Riggins, he added.
"But this gives people an opportunity to catch these fish locally. It gives people the chance to go fishing before or after work," Keckler said.
"It's an opportunity to introduce salmon to people who wouldn't normally get to experience such an incredible part of nature, since they don't return here anymore," said Greg Stahl, salmon program coordinator at Idaho Rivers United. "It's unfortunate that we have to truck salmon to the Boise Basin, but dams have cut them off from their ancestral breeding grounds."
Stahl said fish have historically navigated through the Boise River, but dams like the Hells Canyon Complex prevent them from ever returning naturally.
"[The release of the salmon by Fish and Game] is just a small, tiny, minuscule example of what could be possible in Idaho if we didn't have the dams in the Lower Snake River," Stahl said.
Anglers need a valid Idaho fishing license and a salmon permit, and they can keep two Chinook per day, with a limit of six. Adult salmon must be recorded on the angler's salmon permit.
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