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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Coho salmon season to open on Clearwater after unprecedented recovery

Here’s a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho officials have approved a coho salmon fishing season on the Clearwater River following efforts by the Nez Perce Tribe to bring the salmon back after they disappeared about 30 years ago. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday approved the historic sport fishing season that starts Friday and runs through Nov. 16. Anglers will be allowed to keep two coho salmon per day and up to 10 for the month-long season on portions of the Mainstem and Middle Fork Clearwater River. Coho salmon disappeared by 1985 from the Clearwater River. The Nez Perce Tribe in 1995 began efforts to restore them using eggs from other locations. As of Tuesday, nearly 15,000 coho salmon had passed Lower Granite Dam.

Click below for the full announcement from the Idaho Fish & Game Commission.

Commission Approves Historic Coho Salmon Season

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has approved an historic fishery for the Clearwater River. For the first time ever, a specific season for Coho Salmon will open in Idaho. The season will run from October 17, 2014 to November 16, 2014 on the Mainstem and Middle Fork Clearwater River from the mouth upstream to Clear Creek, and on the North Fork Clearwater River downstream from Dworshak Dam.

Anglers will be allowed to keep two Coho Salmon per day. The possession limit will be six, and the season limit will be ten. Coho limits are separate from those for Fall Chinook Salmon. Anglers must have a valid salmon permit to legally harvest Coho Salmon, and any Coho Salmon harvested must be recorded on that permit. Any Coho Salmon processed before transport must have the skin intact, with the adipose fin attached.

Idaho Coho Salmon have adapted to changing river conditions more poorly than Idaho’s other anadromous species, and were technically extinct for decades, before the Nez Perce Tribe began a recovery program using eggs from other locations. That program has resulted in growing returns, including this year’s run. As of Tuesday October 14, nearly 15,000 Coho Salmon had passed Lower Granite Dam.

“Without the Nez Perce tribe’s efforts, Idaho sport anglers would not be getting this opportunity,” said Anadromous Fisheries Manager Pete Hassemer. 

Coho released from the Nez Perce Tribe’s hatchery program have not had their adipose fins clipped, so the Commission has also approved a temporary change in the rules regarding harvest. Anglers may keep Coho Salmon with an adipose fin during the one month season, and are encouraged to carefully identify any salmon before harvest. A guide to fish identification in Idaho is printed in our general fishing seasons and rules brochure and online at:  Fall Chinook Salmon with adipose fins must still be released unharmed and the Clearwater River upstream of Memorial Bridge is closed to Fall Chinook fishing.



Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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