Anglers will enjoy the second consecutive coho salmon season in over 30 years this fall.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved a coho salmon season for the mainstem Clearwater, Middle Fork and North Fork Clearwater rivers. The season will run September 1 through November 15 on the mainstem and Middle Fork Clearwater River from the mouth upstream to Clear Creek, and on the North Fork Clearwater River downstream from Dworshak Dam.
Anglers will be allowed to keep two coho salmon per day and have 6 in possession. The season limit is 10.
The season is a result from the work of the Nez Perce Tribe, which initiated a hatchery program to restore coho to the Clearwater River basin. Because coho populations don't have early maturing males, or "jacks," to help biologists forecast return, it's difficult to know how many will be available for anglers. However, fishery managers anticipate sufficient numbers of coho will return, with most arriving in Idaho in late September and early October.
The Commission also approved two temporary rule changes regarding harvest, because coho released from the Nez Perce Tribe's hatchery program have not had their adipose fins clipped. Anglers may keep coho salmon with an intact adipose fin during the season. During the fall Chinook salmon season recently set by the commission, anglers can only retain Chinook salmon marked by a clipped adipose fin.
With both fall Chinook salmon and coho salmon in these rivers, anglers are encouraged to carefully identify their catch before harvest. Fall Chinook salmon with adipose fins must still be released unharmed, and the Clearwater River upstream of Memorial Bridge is closed to fall Chinook fishing.
Color fish illustrations are printed in the general fishing seasons and rules brochure and online at: fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/knowCatch.pdf.
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