More steelhead on the way

Print Article

Photo courtesy of IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME Steelhead have started to show up at Columbia River’s Bonneville dam on their way to Idaho waters making biologists wonder if the decision made earlier this month to close the season to harvest was premature.

By RALPH BARTHOLDT

Staff Writer

The steelhead that are starting to show up at Bonneville Dam are making anglers and biologists antsy.

After closing the harvest season earlier this month because of a lack of fish, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists may take a second look at how to manage this year’s Idaho steelhead season. That means the harvest season could open afterall.

For now, however, it’s too early to tell, said Roger Phillips, IDFG spokesperson.

“Things are in flux,” Phillips said. “We don’t know exactly what will happen.”

The Bonneville Dam is just the first obstacle for steelhead returning to Idaho. Fish must cross seven more dams before finning their way across the Washington-Idaho border at Clarkston and into the Clearwater or Snake rivers inside the Gem State.

The 74,000 fish that have been counted at Bonneville surprised biologists who three weeks ago said a dismal number of returning fish marked the lowest number in 50 years. Because of a poor run last year, expectations were higher for this fall. Fisheries managers estimated 112,100 A-run steelhead, fish that spend one year in the ocean, would pass over the Bonneville Dam.

After poor counts earlier this month, however, the number was downgraded to an expected 54,000 fish, and the Idaho harvest season was closed.

But since then, fish are streaming over in numbers between 2,000 and 4,500 per day and all eyes — including anglers’ — are on the dam counts.

The inbound fish are coming much later than usual.

“Everyone is scratching their heads,” Phillips said. “What does this mean for the big picture?”

Fisheries managers will reconvene Sept. 5 when they could reverse their earlier decision to close the harvest.

“We’re weighing everything right now,” Phillips said. “It’s more a matter of waiting to see what we’ll end up with.”

Print Article

Read More Outdoors

Fish the color of fire

September 21, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Panhandle’s landlocked sockeye heading to spawning streams By RALPH BARTHOLDT Staff Writer After moving to Wolf Lodge Creek in 1972, Steve Funk and his wife, Janet, noticed some curious fish in...

Comments

Read More

OPINION: Sportsmen’s gift to conservation

September 21, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Getting a fishing or hunting license is a rite of passage for thousands of Idaho boys and girls. While it seems like a small thing (a combined hunting and fishing license in Idaho costs $33.50 acco...

Comments

Read More

Mapping out the forest

September 14, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press By RALPH BARTHOLDT Staff Writer Allen Scott is a map guy. He likes the feel of the paper under his finger as he follows a contour line on a topographic map. Lines bunched together show steep ter...

Comments

Read More

Wolf trapping classes coming up in Cd’A

September 14, 2017 at 5:00 am | Coeur d'Alene Press Anyone interested in trapping wolves in Idaho must pass a wolf trapping certification program offered by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Two classes are set for Coeur d’Alene this month. The ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(208) 664-8176
215 N. Second St
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho 83814

©2017 The Coeur d'Alene Press Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X