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Idaho Meetings Set For Anglers To Discuss Upcoming Chinook Fishing Season
Posted on Friday, February 08, 2019 (PST)

Idaho chinook salmon anglers will have an opportunity next week to offer their thoughts on how the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will manage the fishery in 2019.

 

Four public open houses are set in the state, all in the Snake River basin and all in the evenings beginning at 5:30.

 

In addition, during the open house IDFG will give an update on sea lion predation further downstream at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, talk about an upcoming steelhead survey as well as about a recently completed study that provides new information on the catch and release of steelhead.

 

The public will be able to provide comments and opinions at the meetings on how to best manage the 2019 chinook salmon fisheries in the Clearwater, Hells Canyon, lower Salmon and little Salmon river drainages. During this part of the meeting, Idaho biologists will discuss what was learned from the 2018 chinook salmon angling season, what the 2019 forecast is for returning chinook and steelhead, and strategies IDFG could use to manage the upcoming chinook salmon run.

 

“As always, input from anglers is important to help ensure the chinook salmon run is managed in a manner that is most satisfying to all who participate in the fishery,” IDFG said.

 

IDFG biologist Brett Bowersox will talk about a new study the agency and the University of Idaho will be working on come summer – evaluating the impacts of sport fisheries on wild steelhead.

 

“The study will involve anglers helping us collect a part of the data,” Bowersox said. “We want to evaluate the encounter rate (with wild steelhead) and the catch and release mortality.” He added that he wants input on how anglers think they can be involved in such a study.

 

The study has been funded, but it is currently just in the study design stage. The actual in the field work and tagging fish will begin in July, he said.

 

In addition, IDFG biologist Don Whitney will talk about his study, “Effects of fishery related fight time and air exposure on pre-spawn survival and reproductive success of adult hatchery steelhead,” that will soon be published in the North American Journal of Fisheries Management.

 

According to the unpublished study’s abstract, the study focused on broodstock in the South Fork Clearwater River during the winter, recording fight and air exposure times to determine their influence on pre-spawn survival and progeny survival to the fry stage in the hatchery.

 

“The average fight time by anglers was 164 s (seconds). Air exposure was measured when anglers landed fish and again during fish transport from the river to the hatchery vehicle; the longest interval of air exposure averaged 23 s by anglers and 28 s during transport. Three-year average pre-spawn survival was 97.0 percent for 1,148 angler-caught fish, compared to 91.9 percent for 3,325 swim-in brood collected at the hatchery.”

 

Whitney will share more about his study at the public open house.

 

The meetings are at:

 

-- Orofino: Feb.11, IDFG Clearwater Hatchery, 118 Hatchery Roe Drive, located northwest of Ahsahka Bridge.

-- Riggins: Feb. 12, (5:30 p.m. Mountain Time), Salmon Rapids Lodge, 1010 S. Main Street

-- Lewiston: Feb. 13, IDFG Office, 3316 16th Street

-- McCall: Feb 13, (5 to 7 p.m. Mountain Time), IDFG office 555 Deinhard Lane. (No pizza will be served.)

 

Pizza will be served at 5:30 p.m. and presentations will begin shortly after. The meeting will continue until all angler comments are collected and/or addressed. In the past, these meetings have lasted about two hours.

 

Those unable to attend a meeting can provide their comments to Joe DuPont, Clearwater Region Fisheries Manager, either by phone (208) 799-5010, mail (3316 16th St. Lewiston, ID 83501) or email (joe.dupont@idfg.idaho.gov).

 

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