We were mid float when our cell phones blew up with what we knew was coming.
The mighty Clearwater River in Idaho was to close to steelhead fishing as of October 1st. It was almost like fishing through a funeral or a wake. I lost my ambition to really give it my all when Idaho actualized what we all really knew what was happening.....
The steelhead fishery on the Clearwater was and is in a world of hurt.
Then a curious bit of news came out of the closure. The season for Chinook and Coho would remain open through October 13th.
All anglers on the float collectively rolled their eyes at this detail. Does Idaho really give a care about the steelhead fishery, or was the closure just optics/political theatre and leaving the Coho fishery open to placate angler opportunity.
My friend Billy said what we were all thinking, alas in jest.
"Guess we'll just have to start "Coho" fishing"
And then this happens.
Picture proof real angler intent, lies and Idaho DFG buffoonery.
First, if you have a stock of fish so imperiled that they feel the need to close it's season, then there's no reason that the Coho or Chinook fishery should have stayed open. Period, end of story. The short-sighted nature of that decision is without a doubt the craziest part of this whole story, aside of the fact that the closure centered on not having enough hatchery fish returning to make hatchery escapement. Bi-catch of steelhead was and by the picture above is a certainty.
When another angler alerted me to this picture on Instagram, I really had to calm down before I reacted. I thought long and hard about what was going on here.
First, what's the anglers intent...
Floating lines, spey rods and hairwings. If you can bite through my sarcasm, seems like a totally traditional Clearwater Coho set up.
Second if you really believe they're going for Coho....then why post the picture of an accidental bi-catch for everyone to see?
Because it wasn't an accident to catch that fish. What I really believe is that this angler, along with others I've heard of fishing for "coho" are just using the opening to continue thumbing their collective noses at the majority of the angling public who are following the rules.
And that pisses me off.
The state's wrong here. Real anglers know it.
These anglers are really in the wrong here. And deep down, I bet they know it themselves too.
It's a bad look, all around.