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Fall 2013 salmon run- Hatchery vs Native

As we are fishing the Fall 2013 season for salmon in Lewiston, we cannot keep hardly anything we catch although we are catching many many fish. It seems the Hatchery vs Native is well out of proportion. The Native fish are around 85% to 15% hatchery. Why is there such a large difference, and if IFG knew this, why can't the rules change to keep some of these Native fish? Put a limit on them so people do not abuse it, but at least we can keep some. This is the best run in decades and anglers are not able to keep hardly anything.

Answer

The proportion of wild fall Chinook that returned to the Snake, Salmon and Clearwater systems was a "good news/bad news" story.  The "good news" was we had a record fall Chinook return to Idaho.  More "good news" was a large portion of the fish were wild.  The "bad news" was that we didn't have take authority from NOAA to harvest wild Chinook.

Wild fall Chinook are classified as "threatened" under the federal Endangered Species Act - that's why wild fall Chinook are managed by National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration - National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA).  Hatchery reared fall Chinook (clipped adipose fin) are still managed by Idaho, so we were able to offer harvest opportunities on those fish.

 

Just when you think we know everything there is to know about our anadromous fish runs, we get a surprise record breaking run of fall Chinook like we did in 2013.  Hopefully, this is a sign of good ocean conditions and an omen for steelhead and spring/summer Chinook runs in 2014.