Wednesday, August 16, 2017
No Kill for Idaho...
And the hits keep on coming.
Idaho Fish and Wildlife commissioners voted yesterday to eliminate the catch and kill element to the 2017 fall and winter steelhead season. Ladies and gentlemen, this run of fish we are in is HISTORICALLY bad, with current counts sitting in the 10% of the 10 year average at best.
The move to eliminate bag limits is the low hanging fruit of changes that were on the table. The forecast is so low that many thought that and continue to think that a system wide closure is warranted.
Fishing the Clearwater as early as mid July through the end of September has always been a staple of the yearly activities when it comes to our steelhead season. As I've watched the continued shittiness of the dam counts, I'm left with this continued feeling of a deflated balloon.
The crippling effects of the 2015 and 2016 low water years for smolt outmigration and the North Pacific Blob have come home to roost. How long it's going to take for the fish to recover from these haymakers is unknown, but thankfully we had much better outmigration conditions this spring and early summer. Additionally the hot water patch that destroyed the food chain in their feeding grounds is gone so with better conditions, hopefully the rebound is quick
Which brings me back to this year, and the questions it continually brings to my mind
Why didnt the IDFW commissioners put tackle restrictions in effect? AKA, get rid of bait which has a much deeper impact on fish mortality.
With fall Chinook opening on the Clearwater soon for retention, dont they think there's going to be a heavy impact on the steelhead stock?
What is Washington Fish and Game managers going to do to be proactive with these fish?
What morally is right for me?
Big questions to a crap situation. Welcome to the 2017 steelhead season on the Columbia and Snake tributaries....it's fantastic.