Idaho to close to salmon fishing

Idaho to close part of Snake to salmon fishin BOISE (AP) — Hit by paltry numbers of returning salmon, Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials will close a 23-mile stretch of the Snake River near Lewiston on Wednesday to spring chinook sport fishing to preserve the few fish headed upstream.

In a related action, four Northwest Indian tribes said they would not conduct ceremonial or subsistence fishing on part of the Columbia River this year.

Sharon Kiefer, the Idaho agency’s manager of anadromous fisheries, said the closure protects fish headed to Snake tributaries, including the Salmon and Grande Ronde rivers.

Idaho’s spring chinook fishing opened 20 days ago. Officials in Washington and Oregon have already closed Columbia River chinook fishing.

While other Idaho rivers, including the Clearwater, Lochsa, Salmon and upper Snake River, remain open, those areas could have fishing limited or closed should fish numbers remain dismal, Kiefer said.

As of Monday, just 851 fish, or less than 1 percent of levels seen during 2001’s record run, had passed through fish ladders at Lower Granite Dam on the Snake near Pullman, the last dam before fish swim into Idaho.

“If we start talking about closures in other segments, it’ll be a clear indication that the run size is very dire,” Kiefer said. “But right now, we don’t have any clear indication that that is necessary.”

Monday, Oregon’s and Washington’s fish and wildlife departments slashed their forecast for spring chinook expected to enter the mouth of the Columbia River from the Pacific Ocean to between 70,000 and 100,000 — well under half the 254,100 predicted earlier this year


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