Some Chinook Seasons to Closeby Staff
Lewiston Morning Tribune, June 17, 2008
The amount of Idaho water open to spring chinook salmon fishing is about to shrink.
Officials from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will close salmon fishing seasons on the Middle Fork of the Clearwater River, the Snake River in Hells Canyon and the Lower Salmon River Sunday evening.
The South Fork of the Clearwater, Lochsa River and Little Salmon River will remain open to salmon fishing beyond Sunday and officials hope to keep seasons there open until July 4.
The individual fisheries are closing for different reasons. The Middle Fork of the Clearwater is closing because fisheries managers estimate anglers will have caught the state's share of chinook returning to the Kooskia Hatchery by Sunday. Most of the fish caught in the Middle Fork are from the Kooskia Hatchery.
The Snake River from Dug Bar to Hells Canyon Dam is closing because anglers there have caught and released an unusually high number of wild chinook. The state has a quota on the number of wild salmon that can be caught and released from the Snake and Salmon river drainages. Once that number is met all salmon seasons in the drainage have to be shut down. Larry Barrett, a fisheries biologist for the department at Lewiston, said the Hells Canyon stretch is being closed to make sure fisheries on the South Fork of the Salmon River and the Upper Salmon River near Stanley can continue. Those fisheries have just started and the Hells Canyon fishery has been open for more than a month.
Lastly the Lower Salmon River is shutting down because anglers there have been catching so many fish. The state and the Nez Perce Tribe split the number of salmon returning to Rapid River that are not needed for future spawning. Barrett said that quota has nearly been met and fisheries managers decided to close the lower Salmon River so the Little Salmon River can remain open. The Little Salmon River has been high and blown out for much of the season and fishing is just starting to heat up there. Last weekend anglers caught 1,700 chinook from the Lower Salmon River between Hammer Creek and the mouth of the Little Salmon River.
"The last two weeks have just been off the charts good fishing," Barrett said. "We are bumping up against our harvest share and we want to ensure the Little Salmon fishery will go for a little bit and the goal is to get that fishery to go through the Fourth of July."
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