Idaho Fish and Game is hosting public meetings to discuss potential salmon fishing seasons on the Clearwater River, the Snake River below Hells Canyon Dam and the lower Salmon, Little Salmon and South Fork Salmon rivers.
More than 52,000 hatchery Chinook salmon and another 20,000 wild salmon are expected to cross Lower Granite Dam this spring, with most of those fish bound for Idaho. This is considerably lower than last year’s run, which exceeded 100,000 hatchery salmon and about 27,000 natural origin salmon across Lower Granite Dam – but still the eighth best year since 1979.
About 4,175 Rapid River Hatchery salmon are expected to be available for sport harvest on the lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.
“We need angler input regarding fishing area locations, fishing days of the week, possession limits and other issues related to this and other highly popular fisheries, on the Clearwater, Snake, upper Salmon and South Fork Salmon rivers,” Fish and Game fisheries manager Dale Allen said.
The Snake River Hells Canyon salmon fishery is expected to have 800 hatchery fish available for sport harvest, while the South Fork of the Salmon River is projected to have 3,200 hatchery salmon available for sport harvest. The Clearwater River is expected to have around 1,900 Chinook salmon available for harvest.
At upcoming public meetings, Fish and Game fisheries personnel will provide information about these fisheries, discuss options and collect comments to help draft fishing proposals. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will consider public comments and staff recommendations at the March 29 meeting, at which time they will set salmon fishing seasons for the Clearwater River, the Snake River (Hells Canyon) and the Lower Salmon and Little Salmon rivers (Rapid River Hatchery fish).
The Chinook seasons for the South Fork of the Salmon and Upper Salmon rivers will be set at the May 19 commission meeting.
Managers will also make a short presentation on “nonbiological” fishing rules and collect public comment on current proposed rules. Nonbiological rules deal with everything from hook size to fish length definitions. These presentations serve as the initial step in Idaho’s two-year rule setting process. Any proposed rules will be reviewed and then modified or approved by the Fish and Game Commission, with final approval left to the Idaho Legislature.
Four meetings planned in the Southwest Region run from 6 to 8 p.m. on:
* Monday, February 28, at Fish and Game’s Fish Research office, 1414 E. Locust Lane, Nampa.
* Tuesday, March 1, in the Trophy Room at Fish and Game headquarters, 600 S. Walnut St., Boise.
* Tuesday, March 15, at the Best Western Motel in Riggins.
* Wednesday, March 16, the Fish and Game office, 555 Deinhard Lane, McCall.
For information and comments, please contact Dale Allen at the McCall Fish and Game office, 208-634-8137, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting Kim Cox at the Fish and Game Nampa office, 208-465-8465, or Judy Wallace at the Fish and Game McCall office, 208-634-8137, or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-3529 (TDD).
Meetings planned in the Salmon Region run from 4 to 7 p.m. on:
* Monday, March 7, Salmon Challis National Forest Service Conference Room in Challis.
* Tuesday, March 8, Jo Wenger Conference Room, Idaho Fish and Game office in Salmon.
For information or to submit comments, contact Idaho Fish and Game at P.O. Box 1336, Salmon ID 83467, 208-756-2271, or by e-mail to email@example.com.
Persons requiring special accommodations due to a disability should contact 208-756-2271 at least two days before to the meeting.
Meetings in the Clearwater Region run from 6 to 8 p.m. on:
* Monday, March 14, Idaho Fish and Game office, 3316 16th St., Lewiston.
* Tuesday, March 15 (6 p.m. Mountain Time), Best Western Salmon Rapids Lodge, 1010 S Main St., Riggins.
* Wednesday, March 16, Kooskia Community Center, 26 Main St., Kooskia.
* Thursday, March 17, Idaho Fish and Game Clearwater Hatchery, 118 Hatchery Roe Drive, northwest of Ahsahka Bridge, in Orofino.
Those unable to attend a meeting can provide their comments by contacting regional fishery personnel at 208-799-5010 or send their information in writing to Fishing Rules, Idaho Fish and Game, 3316 16th St., Lewiston, ID 83501, or email Joe DuPont, Clearwater Region fisheries manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
source: Idaho Fish and Game