The Idaho Fish and Game Commission voted on Friday, Sept. 20 to close all steelhead seasons on the Clearwater River because the number of returning adult hatchery fish is less than the number needed for broodstock, and there is no surplus to provide a fishery.
The closure is effective at midnight on Sept. 29, 2019, and covers the Clearwater River upstream to the confluence of the Middle Fork and South Fork, along with the North Fork, Middle Fork and South Fork tributaries. The section of the Snake River downstream from the Couse Creek boat ramp to the Idaho/Washington state line will also be closed to protect Clearwater-bound steelhead.
Although the steelhead fishery will be closed in the Clearwater River basin, there will be no changes to the ongoing fall Chinook season, which is scheduled to close on Oct. 13. In addition, the commission approved a Coho salmon fishery in the Clearwater River basin during their conference call on Sept. 20. This Coho fishery is open effective immediately, and will run concurrent with the fall Chinook fishery.
Because these fisheries will close Oct. 13, or earlier if catch limits are attained, any incidental impact on Clearwater hatchery steelhead is expected to be minimal.