Friday, August 7, 2015

Idaho fall chinook fishing to open Sept. 1, Coho could be added

Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted a fall chinook salmon fishing season to open Sept. 1 on parts of the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon rivers, and Idaho could see its second-ever sport fishing season for Coho salmon on Sept. 1 pending commission approval in August. 

Commissioners approved opening dates for fall chinook fishing boundaries and rules during their meeting in Pocatello on Thursday, July 30. 

The 2015 fall chinook forecast is 37,000 hatchery and naturally-produced fall chinook to the Snake River basin. Last year’s run was 59,000 fall chinook.

Fall chinook fishing on the Snake River will be open from the Washington-Idaho border upstream to Hells Canyon Dam. 

Fishing on the Snake River from the Cliff Mountain Rapids (about a mile downstream of Hells Canyon Dam) is scheduled to be open until Oct.1, but could be closed sooner depending on the actual number of fish that return and the amount of harvest. The stretch between Hells Canyon Dam and Cliff Mountain Rapids is scheduled to remain open until Nov. 17, or until further notice. 

Other areas opening for fall chinook fishing on Sept. 1 are: 

The Clearwater River, from its mouth upstream to Memorial Bridge. Open until Oct. 31, or further notice. 

Salmon River, from its mouth upstream about three-fourths of a mile to Eye of the Needle Rapids until Oct. 31 or further notice.

A valid fishing license and salmon permit are required to fish for fall chinook. Only adipose-clipped salmon may be kept. The daily bag limit is six adult fall Chinook salmon, the possession limit is 18 adult fall chinook. There is no season limit on adult fall chinook. 

Only adult fall chinook (24-inches and longer) must be recorded on the angler’s salmon permit. There are no daily, possession or season limits on fall chinook jacks (those less than 24 inches). 

Coho fishing

Although fewer Coho are expected to return than last year, Idaho Fish and Game and the Nez Perce Tribe are expecting enough to provide a tribal and non-tribal sport fishery proposed to start Sept. 1. 

Fish and Game commissioners are scheduled to vote on the proposal during their regular meeting Aug. 11. 

The proposal is to open a non-tribal Coho fishery on Sept. 1 in the main stem and Middle Fork Clearwater River from the mouth upstream to Clear Creek, near Kooskia and the North Fork Clearwater River below Dworshak Dam. 

If approved, the daily limit will be two fish per day and six in possession. 

Because Coho populations don’t have early maturing males, or “jacks,” to help biologists forecast returns, it’s difficult to know how many Coho will be available for anglers. Most Coho will arrive in Idaho in late September or early October. 

State and tribal managers will modify the fishery based on updates of the Coho run as fish come through the Columbia and Snake River dams.

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