Clarkston-area Spring Chinook Anglers to
by Eric Barker
Spring chinook anglers fishing between Steptoe Canyon and Clarkston will have at least one more shot at catching spring chinook Sunday and Monday.
Following an update on the status of the 2013 spring chinook run, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is closing salmon fisheries near Ice Harbor and Little Goose Dams. Anglers in those two areas have harvested 296 adult chinook out of the state's Snake River quota of 348, leaving about 50 to be caught near Clarkston.
"It gives them another chance and kind of makes up for cutting them off last year when the fish weren't quite there yet," said Glen Mendel, district fisheries biologist at Dayton for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
In years past, high catch rates near Little Goose and Ice Harbor dams have exhausted the state's quota and shut down fishing just as the bulk of the run started to pulse through the Clarkston area.
Mendel said the Clarkston section will continue to reopen Sundays and Mondays as long as there are enough fish remaining on the quota. According to catch monitoring conducted by the department, anglers fishing the Clarkston stretch have failed to harvest a single chinook this year.
On Monday, the Columbia River Technical Advisory Committee, comprised of salmon managers from state, tribal and federal agencies, downgraded the forecast for spring chinook to 107,500, a 34 percent reduction. The preseason forecast called for a run of 141,000, as measured at the mouth of the Columbia River. The committee will meet again Monday and could make another adjustment.
The state, along with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, had considered reopening the lower Columbia River to fishing but declined to do so Tuesday.
The number of chinook detected at Bonneville Dam that are bound for the Clearwater River has dropped precipitously in the past week, according to Joe
DuPont, regional fisheries manager of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at Lewiston. That likely means the run is over there and the state's harvest share for Clearwater River-bound chinook is projected to be between 250 and 400 adult fish.
In an effort to take advantage of the abundant jack run returning to Idaho, the department will propose that the geographic scope of the spring chinook fishery on the Clearwater River be expanded. The river is currently open Fridays through Mondays from the Railroad Bridge at Lewiston to Arrow Bridge.
Fisheries biologist Don Whitney said the department will propose expanding the upriver boundary to the Cherrylane Bridge. The river is also open from the mouth of the North Fork to Greer Bridge. Under the potential expansion, its downstream boundary would start at the Lenore Bridge.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will consider the proposal at its meeting today in Coeur d'Alene.
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