KOOSKIA, Idaho (AP) — The city of Kooskia wants a piece of the economic gains brought in by salmon season.
The Idaho County Commission, the Kooskia Chamber of Commerce and the town's mayor want the Idaho Fish and Game Commission to open a chinook salmon season on the main stem of the Clearwater River.
The Commission approved a fishing season for hatchery spring chinook salmon between Lewiston and Orofino, butdid not open the stretch between Orofino and Kooskia. Now the town wants the department to reconsider.
"It brings in just an awful lot of money from the outside," Kooskia Mayor John Schurbon said. "We have a lot of fishermen come in, from Montana especially, and this just knocks us out of the running entirely."
The county commission passed a resolution last week asking the commission to consider three options for a season. They include holding a catch-and-release season starting at Lewiston and running to the East Kooskia Bridge, holding a catch-and-release season from the Orofino Bridge to the East Kooskia Bridge or holding a catch-and-release season from the Orofino Bridge to the Kamiah Bridge along with a catch-and-keep season, with a limit of one fish per day, from the Kamiah Bridge to the East Kooskia Bridge.
Area fishery managers said preseason predictions indicate the Kooskia Hatchery will barely meet its spawning goals.
About 2,500 excess chinook are expected to return to the Dworshak Hatchery, leaving 1,250 each for sport and tribal anglers. The excess at Kooskia is expected to be only 280 chinook, leaving 140 for sport anglers and 140 for tribal fishers.
"Everything is pointing to us to be cautious here," Bill Miller, manager of the Dworshak National Fish Hatchery at Ahsahka said.
But he said he understands why people in the upper Clearwater valley want a salmon season.
"I can sympathize with the people of Kooskia and Kamiah," he said. "They get a lot of business up there when we can open a season."
The Fish and Game Commission will consider the request today at its meeting in Lewiston.
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