Great Year for Salmon Runs
by Associated Press
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is predicting this year's return of salmon will be the largest in eight years. Agency officials estimate 105,000 salmon will return, and Fish and Game commissioners will likely set a sport fishing season in March for the prized game fish that draws thousands of anglers to the Clearwater and Salmon river systems.
"They generate more excitement among fishermen than anything we've got," said Fish and Game spokesman Ed Mitchell. "They are not only a good fighting fish, they are excellent table fare."
If a season is approved for 2009, it will mark the 10th consecutive year that anglers are allowed to fish for salmon. That's the longest streak of sport fishing in Idaho going back to the 1950s, the Idaho Statesman reported.
This year's predicted run, if accurate, will be the second highest since 150,000 salmon returned to Idaho in 2001. That year marked the most salmon returning to Idaho since counts started at Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River in 1975.
Salmon returning from the Pacific Ocean migrate up the Columbia and Snake rivers to reach the Clearwater and Salmon rivers in Idaho.
"It looks like a really good season," said Mitchell. "Not the best we've ever had, but one of the best seasons in memory, by all indications."
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