You've done a great job of tracking the hatchery return component of the Chinook run. Here are other items that need to be considered in doing a run reconstruction:
Mortality between Lower Granite Dam and the hatcheries - there is mortality due to environmental reasons, predators, diseases, injuries, hard angler releases, etc. We don't know what percentage are actually lost once fish pass Lower Granite but some biologists speculate it could be ~10%.
Straying of returning adults. There is not 100% fidelity in returning adult fish. Straying rates vary for the different stocks of fish. Studies showit could befrom 5 - 15%. Hence, these fish are unaccounted for at the hatchery trapping sites.
Fish returning to Oregon tributaries above Lower Granite Dam - there are a couple of significant streams in Oregon that contribute to Chinook returns passing Lower Granite Dam.
Wild Chinook - your accounting doesn't show a total for wild or natural production that occurs in the Clearwater or Salmon basins.
Tribal harvest of the sport fishery - we don't currently have harvest information for the Nez Perce or Shoshone Bannock tribes. They are not required to provide us their harvest information, so it's not posted on our managed data sites.
Late arriving hatchery fish - Chinook, although the numbers are lower, will continue returning to our traps up until they spawn. There will still be late arriving fish. There are also Chinook at several of our facilities that never actually enter our traps and will spawn just downstream.
As you can probably see, accounting for fish in the wild - and when you have no control over the different variables affecting survival, is extremely difficult. There is an element of making educated "guesses" when it comes to accounting for all the fish. We often error on the side of being conservative in our harvest estimates so we can assure enough brood stock to provide fishing in future years.
Your information is correct. We once hassignificant runs of coho returning to Idaho and spawning in the Clearwater, lower Salmon River, and Snake Basin. As dams were built, populations were lost and it was believed they were extinct in Idaho for several years.
The Nez Perce tribal fisheries program is responsible for re-establishing a coho population in the Clearwater drainage. Numbers of coho have been steadily increasing and we have begun looking at potential sport fishing opportunities on returning hatchery fish. Stay tuned, it could happen in the next few years - it numbers of fish continue to increase.
They are listed as "introduced" because they were re-established in Idaho from watersheds in Washington and Oregon.
Maybe we need to work on designing Go Pro type fish cams so we can see where they go once released from the hatchery truck. I can tell you that several went to the deep water below the Park Center Bridge piers and held there are several days.
We've had a "handful" of people calling to tell us about catching Chinook from the Boise River plants. This is a guess - I would fish along current lines at back-eddys below release sites to have the best chance of catching a Chinook. Tuna balls and salmon eggs seem to be the best baits.
Ok, nonresident children (under 14 years of age) can fish for free if they are with a licensed adult (resident or nonresident). All fish caught and reduced to possession count towards the licensed individual's daily bag limit. The only exception is, a nonresident youth can buy their own salmon or steelhead permit and have their own daily bag limit of salmon or steelheadwithout needing to buy a license.
No, you don't need a Salmon Permit to fish in Lake Coeur d'Alene for Fall Chinook. The Salmon Permit is only required when fishing for anadromous (ocean-run) salmon. Land-locked salmon are treated like trout in most waters.
I hope you're not too disappointed, but there were never fish in the type of lakes you describe. Prior to the beginning of mountain lake stocking in Idaho, headwater barriers and subsurface flows prevented native fish species from reaching upper elevation mountain lakes. In the early 1900's enterprising sportsmen began transporting native salmonids (cutthroat and rainbow) and non-native brook trout to mountain lakes. Once established in the upper elevation lakes, the fishwere transporteddownstream by surface flows.
In Idaho, there are hundreds of high elevation cirque lakes with no inlet or outlet and they are totally fed by snow-melt. A number of these lakes are not stocked with fish for various reasons - including extremely difficult access and protection of native amphibians.
We do give away spawned-out salmon carcasses at our hatchery spawning locations - including Pahsimeroi. This practice actually started in the 1970's. We quit giving carcasses away once we started injecting adult salmon with erythomycin phosphate. Now that we've discontinued the injections, we are again giving away salmon carcasses.
Keep in mind, these salmon have not eaten for roughly 5 months. They've been living on stored body reserves. When spawning time arrives, the flesh quality can best be described as "poor." They are much higher quality, from a taste perspective, when caught in April, May and June.
Great question! There are no restrictions on the use of lights while fishing or fishing hours, so the use of some type of spotlight would be allowable while bowfishing. However, â€œChummingâ€� is illegal for all species of fish. Idaho Code 36-902(e) states the following: â€œUnlawful fishing methods -- Destruction of fish prohibited -- Exceptions. Except as may be otherwise permitted by law or commission rule or proclamation no person shall: (e) Chumming. Deposit or distribute any substance not attached to a hook for the purpose of attracting fish. Salmon eggs or other spawn may be used for bait only when attached to a hook on a line and fished in the conventional manner.â€�
The salmon season in the upper Salmon River will close the evening of July 19th. We predict our harvest allocation will be reached by that date. The season lasted almost 4 weeks - which is a success compared to the average season length over the past 10 years.
Wild spring Chinook salmon are not included in the calculated harvest share for the various river reaches around Idaho because they are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act. We can only set seasons and harvest sharesfor hatchery-producedChinook salmon.
In areas where the wild and hatchery fish are mixed, we need to assure the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), the federal agency responsible for management of wild Chinook, that the sport fishery will have minimal mortality on wild Chinook. Annually, we provide estimates of potential mortality and typically receivea "take" permit from NMFS for that number.
We're talking "apples and oranges" when you mix the total number of Chinook coming over Bonneville Dam and Lower Granite with the angler sport harvest on the South Fork Salmon River.
First, lets talk about the numbers of fish coming over the dams. These numbers representa mixture of fish returning to rivers all over the northwest. They are a combination of hatchery and wild fish. Big numbers of returning Chinook at Bonneville are an indicator of a strong return to Idaho - but not necessarily a strong return of Chinook to the South Fork of the Salmon River.
Here is how we arrive at the quota for the South Fork Salmon River:
Background - before the juvenile fish leave our hatchery in McCall and are transported to the headwaters of the South Fork Salmon, a small percentage of fish have a PIT tag inserted into their bodies. Each tag, when passing a "reader" in the bed of the stream or on a dam, willtransmit a number programed into the tag. It's like a social security number. Using math, we extrapolate population mortality on their downstream migration to the ocean and gain a "picture" of how many fish survived to Bonneville Dam from a particular hatchery release.
Adult quota - as the adult fish begin returning to the Columbia River, we can detect those same PIT tags at Bonneville and Lower Granite Dam. As we detect individual fish, we can again extrapolate the expected number of South Fork Salmon fish that pass Bonneville Dam and monitor mortality from the dams and downstream fisheries as the fish journey up the Columbia River and into the Snake River. Lower Granite Dam is the last major dam they cross where we detect the PIT tagged fish headed to the South Fork Salmon River and can extrapolate how many hatchery-produced fish will return to our trap. To arrive at the quota, 1) we take the estimated number of hatchery fish returning to the South Fork Salmon River at Lower Granite Dam - based on PIT tag detections; 2) subtract the anticipated mortality from predators, anglers, diseases, etc. on the journey from Lower Granite to the South Fork Salmon River trap; and 3) subtract the number of adult brood stock fish we need to meet our hatchery production needs. The number of fish left is our "harvestable surplus" of returning South Fork Salmon River hatchery Chinook salmon. We then need to divide that number in half because legal rulings have determined that Idaho Indian tribes are entitled to half the harvestable surplus of Chinook returning to the South Fork.
As an example, if we estimate 5,000 adult South Fork Salmon Chinook pass Lower Granite Dam and there is a 10% mortality between the dam and South Fork trap- we have 4,500 fish remaining. We need 2,000 Chinook for brood stock at the South Fork Salmon River trap - so we subtract that number and reach2,500 fish in the harvestable surplus. We then divide that number in half to reach the sport fishing quota (1,250) with the tribes being able to harvest the other 1,250 fish.