Thursday, July 25, 2013

Chinook Brood-Stock from the Clearwater River

You never know exactly what kind of fish returns you will see from year to year. Biologists make predictions based on hatchery releases and PIT tags recorded by outgoing smolts and in coming adults. This year’s run predictions were lower than average and once the Chinook started showing up at Bonniville Dam on the Lower Columbia River, the season was shaping up to be heavy on jacks (one ocean year males) marginal for the big adults we all like to catch, and the Hatcheries need for brood-stock. 

Greg Moses holds up a decent Chinook that will be used for brood-stock at Dworshak. Note the many jacks on the sorting table

Because of the lower than average returns the adult Chinook angling season was cut short on the Clearwater River; Jack fishing was pretty good though.

Jack Chinook salmon
The normal early season for Steelhead, catch and release on the North Fork Clearwater River, that opened July 1 will close early, midnight July 26th. The closure is due to the high numbers of Chinook in the North Fork that are needed for Brood-stock by Dworshak Fish Hatchery and Clearwater Fish Hatchery. 

Idaho Department of Fish and Game issued this News Release July 24th:

North Fork Clearwater Steelhead Catch-and-Release Closed
The catch-and-release fishery for steelhead in the North Fork Clearwater River downstream from the Dworshak Dam will close from midnight July 26 through midnight August 31.
Significant numbers of adult Chinook salmon in the North Fork that are required for brood stock are being caught and released by steelhead anglers. All adult Chinook now in the North Fork downstream of the hatchery trap will be needed to meet the brood-stock goal.
Dworshak Hatchery is behind schedule in acquiring Chinook brood stock, and catch-and-release related Chinook mortalities could contribute to a brood-stock shortfall.
The trapping period for spring Chinook at Dworshak will continue until the end of August.
The fall catch-and-release season on the North Fork Clearwater River will resume September 1 and remain open through October 14.
If you have questions or comments you can contact Idaho Fish and Game 208-334-3746.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Clearwater Region Chinook Salmon Update (6/26/13)

This is a message from IDF&G Regional Fisheries Manager, Joe DuPont:

Hi everybody, this is the Clearwater Region Chinook Salmon update for the week of June 17-23. 

We have decided to close down the Chinook salmon fishery on the Little Salmon.   The final harvest numbers are shown in the tables below.  As you will notice there are still fish on our harvest share, but at this point our main concern is to make brood stock needs.  We still have around 500 more adults we need to collect so we want to be on the safe side and help insure we get the fish we need.   

The Hells Canyon salmon fishery will remain open 7 days a week until further notice.  The fishing was extremely slow there last week as only 2 adults were caught.    

I know this season was not the same as we have experienced the last few years and at times seemed/was confusing and unfair.  I think, despite these issues, we should not forget that at times we experienced some incredible fishing as we documented some of the higher catch rates we have seen for some time.  Unfortunately, when we have these types of catch rates, the fishery can’t last long when the run is down.  Several people have asked me if we could meet and talk about this fishery while issues are fresh in their minds.  I think this is a great idea, and as such, would like to invite anybody who can make it to the Clearwater Hatchery near Orofino on July 18 at 6:00 PM to talk about this year’s Chinook salmon management in the Clearwater Region.  I want to make it clear that at this meeting we will not make any decisions.  This will just be an opportunity to brainstorm ideas, ask questions, and get a better feel for why we managed the Chinook season the way we did.  We will summarize what we discuss at this meeting and present it in a future e-mail as well as at the public meetings next winter where others can comment on any ideas that came forward.  For those of you who can’t make it to this meeting, you can always send (e-mail/call) me your ideas and thoughts, and I will summarize them as well for the next winters public meetings.  I hope to see some of you at this meeting.

This will about wrap it up for my weekly spring Chinook salmon updates.  Probably the only other update I will provide is when we decide to close down the Hells Canyon spring Chinook fishery.

Stay tuned for updates on other fisheries or interesting work we are up to.
Joe DuPont
Clearwater Region Fishery Manager
Idaho Department of Fish and Game