Coho Salmon

Question:

I need some clarification on Coho Salmon in Idaho. From my understanding and research Coho were native to a large area of Idaho including the lower Snake River, Owyhee river drainages as well as the Salmon River and Clearwater River drainages. But due to the building of dams in Hells Canyon on the Snake River, as well as the lower 4 Snake River dams went extinct in Idaho in the 1980's. Were they reintroduced to the Clearwater River? By who? What is the current population of Coho? How is that population trending? Will there be a season on them in the future? Why does Idaho Fish and Game have them listed as "Introduced" on the fish ID page?

Answer:

Your information is correct.  We once has significant 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.