Save Our Wild Fish: Breach the Damsby Warren Hostetler
Idaho Statesman, August 24, 2007
Idahoans need to keep pressuring the feds to restore wild salmon runs.
I caught my first salmon on Marsh Creek (a tributary to the Middle Fork of the Salmon River) in July 1967. The next day, I landed a whopper, measuring nearly 44 inches long.
Some 57,700 spring and summer chinook adults were counted at Ice Harbor Dam in 1967. Most were wild fish, since only a few hatcheries were on line then.
As early as the mid-1970s, many Idaho salmon anglers felt the recently completed lower Snake River dams were the cause for sharp drops in the number of returning salmon.
In 2007, 30,500 adult spring and summer chinook passed Lower Granite Dam. Nearly 15,800 of those fish returned to hatchery traps. Some 2,400 were taken by Idaho anglers, young and old. Tribal fisheries may have taken a similar number.
That leaves fewer than 10,000 wild fish in the run.
Losing over 80 percent of this resource in 40 years is simply unacceptable.
I'm just an old salmon fisherman with fond memories of catching wild Idaho salmon, but removal of the lower Snake River dams seems like a good place to finally start the recovery of wild runs.
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