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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Officials, anglers mull pros, cons of two Clearwater proposals

fishing frenzy  (Tribune/Steve Hanks)
fishing frenzy (Tribune/Steve Hanks)
By Eric Barker The Lewiston Tribune

LEWISTON – Here is how some members of the work group are viewing the proposals.

Nick Gerhardt, an angler based in Kooskia who uses a variety of methods, including pulling plugs and swinging flies on the Clearwater River and bobber-and-jig on the South Fork of the Clearwater, prefers the first alternative.

“I think it’s easier to digest, and extending that catch-and-release season – that is kind of an accommodation to fly fishermen that use the river in October to somewhat offset the effect of having a seven-days-a-week fall chinook season in September.”

Fishing outfitter Jason Schultz of Lewiston likes the first proposal for its simplicity.

“I think it’s better for fish, the industry and fishermen all around,” Schultz said.

He doesn’t like the complexity of the second proposal and, after years of complaining that anglers downriver overharvest Idaho’s fish, he doesn’t like that it allows harvest of A-run steelhead that ultimately are bound for other fisheries.

Richard Scully, an avid angler from Lewiston and a retired Fish and Game biologist, likes the second, more complicated proposal.

“By having the harvest season start earlier than it does now, you would allow people to harvest those A-run fish that are destined for other rivers while they are in the Clearwater, and it would be at the same time the fall chinook fishery is going on,” Scully said.

The second catch-and-release period could set up for great fishing, he said.

“You would have an accumulation of a lot of B-run steelhead that would not be harvested and a really good catch-and-release fishery for these trophy fish.”

Dedicated fly anglers Will Godfrey and Tracy Allen, of Lewiston, prefer the first proposal for its extended catch-and-release season. Allen said it’s less complicated and compensates fly anglers who feel crowded by the fall chinook fishery. Godfrey said he initially supported the second proposal when its second catch-and-release season ran longer into November.

“They cut the time period to 3.5 weeks. It would be great if it were a six-week deal,” he said.

Godfrey said the second proposal likely would benefit local anglers who could pick and choose when to fish but would be tougher for those traveling to plan trips.

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