You never know exactly what kind of fish returns you will see from year to year. Biologists make predictions based on hatchery releases and PIT tags recorded by outgoing smolts and in coming adults. This year's run predictions were lower than average and once the Chinook started showing up at Bonniville Dam on the Lower Columbia River, the season was shaping up to be heavy on jacks (one ocean year males) marginal for the big adults we all like to catch, and the Hatcheries need for brood-stock.
Because of the lower than average returns the adult Chinook angling season was cut short on the Clearwater River; Jack fishing was pretty good though.
The normal early season for Steelhead, catch and release on the North Fork Clearwater River, that opened July 1 will close early, midnight July 26th. The closure is due to the high numbers of Chinook in the North Fork that are needed for Brood-stock by Dworshak Fish Hatchery and Clearwater Fish Hatchery.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game issued this News Release July 24th:
North Fork Clearwater Steelhead Catch-and-Release Closed
The catch-and-release fishery for steelhead in the North Fork Clearwater River downstream from the Dworshak Dam will close from midnight July 26 through midnight August 31.
Significant numbers of adult Chinook salmon in the North Fork that are required for brood stock are being caught and released by steelhead anglers. All adult Chinook now in the North Fork downstream of the hatchery trap will be needed to meet the brood-stock goal.
Dworshak Hatchery is behind schedule in acquiring Chinook brood stock, and catch-and-release related Chinook mortalities could contribute to a brood-stock shortfall.
The trapping period for spring Chinook at Dworshak will continue until the end of August.
The fall catch-and-release season on the North Fork Clearwater River will resume September 1 and remain open through October 14.
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