Idaho Petitions for More Salmon
by Eric Barker
Lewiston Tribune, June 7, 2009
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission is planning to write letters to its counterparts in Oregon and Washington to complain about the way those states manage spring chinook fisheries in the lower Columbia River.
Idaho fisheries officials say anglers in Oregon and Washington caught more chinook in 2008 that came from Idaho hatcheries than Idaho anglers did. They assume the numbers will be the same this year.
"A lot of fish destined for this part of the world got caught in the lower (Columbia) River," said Fred Trevey of Lewiston, the commissioner who represents the Clearwater Region.
"They took 4,000 Clearwater River fish in the fishery below Bonneville last year and we harvested totally in the Clearwater drainage about 3,200," said Larry Barrett, Idaho Fish and Game fisheries biologist in Lewiston.
"It's not a stretch to think they slack off the first part of this Clearwater run in that fishery down there."
Anglers in the lower Columbia last year caught more than 5,000 spring and summer chinook destined for the Rapid River hatchery near Riggins, compared to 3,300 caught on the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers, he said.
Trevey would like Idaho to have a formal role in setting allocations for the hatchery component of the annual chinook run.
Currently the decisions are made collectively by Oregon, Washington, federal salmon managers and the Columbia River treaty tribes, including the Nez Perce.
The tribes complained this year that too many salmon have been caught in the lower Columbia River and it has curtailed upriver tribal fishing.
Trevey said he understands the run forecast caused downriver salmon managers to overestimate the number of fish the two states could catch.
But he said Idaho is paying the price.
Eastern Washington anglers also were short-cut. The salmon fishery near Little Goose Dam in Washington was shut down just as the fishing was starting to get good. Seasons planned near Ice Harbor and Lower Granite dams never opened.
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