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Tue., July 9, 2013, 8:12 a.m.

Fall salmon seasons on Idaho commission’s agenda

WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT -- Fall chinook salmon seasons are on the agenda for the Idaho Fish and Game Commission meeting Wednesday and Thursday (July 10 and 11) at the Clarion Inn, 1399 Bench Rd. in Pocatello.

Chinook fishing is proposed to open Sept. 1 on parts of the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon rivers.

The commisisoners have set a public comment session at 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 10, at the Clarion Inn

Commissioners will hear an update on the negotiated rule-making process, required by recent changes in state law. Four new rules are being considered for negotiated rule making.

·         Nonresident junior mentored tags would require the mentor to have a tag for the same species but not necessarily the same area.

·         Bear hunters would be required to complete Fish and Game’s bear identification course and exam before hunting bears in units where both black bears and grizzly bears may be encountered.

·         Rules would be developed covering the use of unprocessed food for bear bait in certain units in the Upper Snake Region.

·         The existing Landowner Appreciation Program would be adjusted to resolve concerns expressed by landowners in Unit 45 about program restrictions.

Read on for more details about these rules, other agenda items and specific proposals for the chinook seasons:

The commission agenda also includes setting proposed seasons for mourning doves and sandhill cranes, and a sage-grouse briefing. Sage-grouse lek counts this year were down from the 2012 counts – ranging from a slight decrease to as much as 40 percent in the west-central planning area. Most planning areas could support seasons similar to last year’s closed or restrictive seasons.

Other items on the agenda include: Consideration of legislative proposals, land acquisitions, release of bighorn sheep tags for auction and lottery, direction on spending animal damage control funds, nonresident deer and elk tag quotas, outfitter set-aside quotas and a waterfowl season briefing.

Fall chinook fishing season proposals:

The Clearwater River, from its mouth upstream to Memorial Bridge; the Salmon River, from its mouth upstream about three-fourths of a mile to Eye of the Needle Rapids, would be open until further notice or October 31, whichever comes first.

The Snake River, from the Washington-Idaho border upstream to Cliff Mountain Rapids, a little less than a mile downstream of Hells Canyon Dam, also would be open until further notice or October 31.

The Snake River, from Cliff Mountain Rapids to Hells Canyon Dam, would be open until further notice or November 17. 

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Rich Landers writes and photographs stories and columns for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including Outdoors feature sections on Sunday and Thursday.