BOISE — Idaho Department of Fish and Game fisheries managers are considering expanding fall Chinook salmon fishing in the Clearwater River, and they’re gathering public comments about the proposal. The deadline to comment is at 6 p.m. Aug. 18.
There have been discussions on how to provide this fishery without negatively impacting the experience of catch-and-release steelhead anglers fishing at the same time — September through Oct. 14.
Fisheries managers are looking for input on several potential fishing options and have posted them at idfg.idaho.gov/form/comment-about-structure-2019-clearwater-river-fall-chinook-salmon-season. There, anglers can select their preferred format for this potential season if Fish and Game receives authorization from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association fisheries to proceed with it.
The 2019 adult fall Chinook run to Idaho is projected to be around 5,400 natural and 10,000 hatchery fish, with about 15% of the run marked with an adipose fin-clip. The proposal would allow about 1,200 adipose-intact and 2,000 adipose-clipped fall Chinook available to be harvested. About half of this harvest would be allocated to the Clearwater River.
If it proceeds, this trial fishery would be carefully monitored to estimate angler effort, harvest and overall satisfaction of both Chinook and steelhead salmon anglers.