Fisheries managers at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are taking public comments on proposals for fall chinook, coho and steelhead fishing season changes on the Clearwater, Snake and lower Salmon rivers.
The changes, if approved, would be in place starting next year and last through 2024. The most dramatic changes may be in store for the Clearwater River, where the agency is attempting to balance steelhead and fall chinook fishing opportunities.
One proposal would extend the catch-and-release fishing season for steelhead by 10 days, from July 1 to Oct. 24. The catch-and-keep season would start Oct. 25 and include a two-fish bag limit of which only one could be longer than 28 inches.
Under another proposal, the catch-and-release season on the river above Memorial Bridge at Lewiston and on the river’s middle fork and south fork would run from July 1 to Sept. 9. A harvest season with a two-steelhead bag limit would open Sept. 10 and run through Oct. 14. Catch-and-release fishing would resume Oct. 15 and continue through Nov. 9, after which the harvest season would return.
Under both scenarios, the fall chinook season would open Aug. 18 on the Clearwater River and its middle and south forks. It would run through Oct. 31 below Memorial Bridge at Lewiston and on the middle and south forks. It would run through Oct. 14 between Memorial Bridge and the Orofino Bridge. The North Fork would open Sept. 1 and run through Oct. 31. Fishing would be allowed seven days per week in all open sections.
More details about the Clearwater River proposals, those for the Snake and Salmon rivers and an angler survey are available on the Idaho Fish and Game website at idfg.idaho.gov/comment.
Fish and Game officials will play host to 6 p.m. public meetings June 16 at the agency’s office in Lewiston and June 17 at the Best Western River’s Edge Lodge in Orofino.
“Angler surveys like this are one of many steps we take when considering changes to fishing rules. It’s one way we can help ensure our fisheries program is providing what anglers want,” said Lance Hebdon, Fish and Game’s anadromous fishery manager.
Barker may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (208) 848-2273. Follow him on Twitter @ezebarker.