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Idaho Falls man awaits verification on record coho

Idaho Falls angler Steve Micek landed an 11.8-pound coho from the Clearwater River.
Idaho Falls angler Steve Micek landed an 11.8-pound coho from the Clearwater River.
By Eric Barker Lewiston Tribune

An Idaho Falls man caught an 11.8-pound coho that is a pending state record on his last cast into the Clearwater River this weekend.

If verified by record keepers at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Steve Micek will end the short reign of Moscow’s Ethan Crawford as Idaho’s coho king.

Micek landed the fish while casting a KO Wobbler Spoon for steelhead Sunday near Orofino. He was fishing with his son, Greg Micek, who saw an article last month about Crawford’s 9.4-pound coho, which set a record in the opening weekend of Idaho’s first sport fishing season for coho. The younger Micek speculated they might have a shot at the record if they got into coho.

The father-son fishing team landed a few female cohos and had good luck with steelhead during their weekend trip to the Clearwater. Late Sunday morning, they decided to quit for the day and head for home rather than wait for the afternoon bite.

“I said I was going to take a few more casts and, on the second cast, I hooked this fish,” Steve Micek said.

The coho hit hard and pulled strong but didn’t fight for long.

“I wish I could say it hard-boiled me across the river, but it didn’t,” he said.

 Micek had the fish measured at the department’s check station and then headed to Harvest Foods to have it weighed on a certified scale. The fish was verified by a department conservation officer.

The paperwork and record status is pending in Boise.

Idaho opened the Clearwater River to coho fishing Oct. 17, following a surprisingly large return of the fish declared functionally extinct from the Snake River basin in 1985. The Nez Perce Tribe started a coho recovery program in 1995, using eggs from coho that return to tributaries of the lower Columbia River.

Through Monday, more than 17,800 coho were counted crossing Lower Granite Dam. Anglers have caught about 80 coho since the start of the season, which runs through Sunday.

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