Meeting in Boise Jan. 27, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to change some fishing rules in the Panhandle and Upper Snake regions. Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River are the waters affected in the Panhandle and Henrys Fork of the Snake River in the Upper Snake Region.
Anglers can help keep the kokanee population in Lake Pend Oreille from collapsing by reducing predators while enjoying what may be spectacular fishing for large trout. Biologists see this as one of the few situations in which predation by one fish species on another can be the controlling factor in survival of a population. Large rainbow trout are being targeted for reduction.
Harvest of kokanee was closed in the Clark Fork River and Lake Pend Oreille to protect the landlocked salmon. Kokanee must now be released immediately back to the water unharmed. Biologists are fearful the population will collapse because of the impacts of lost spawning areas and predation by other fish. The limit on trout including brown, cutthroat, rainbow, and trout hybrids is six, and the limit on lake trout has been removed in the lake and the river. Trout season will be open all year. The daily bag may not include more than two cutthroat, and bull trout must be released immediately, unharmed.
On the Henrys Fork, changes were made to correct inaccurate information printed in the rules brochure. From the mouth to the Del Rio Bridge, the limit on trout will be six and the season open all year. From the Del Rio Bridge upstream to the Vernon (Fritz) Bridge, the limit will be two, none under 16 inches, and the season will be open all year. No motors allowed.
From Vernon Bridge upstream to Ashton Dam, the limit is two, none under 16 inches and it will be open during the general stream season from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through Nov. 30. No motors allowed in this reach.
From the Highway 20 (Wendell) Bridge upstream to Warm River, the limit will be two, none under 16 inches and the season will be open all year. No motors allowed.
From Warm River to Riverside Campground, the limit is two, none under 16 inches and it will be open during the general stream season. No motors allowed.
From Riverside Campground to the lower Harriman State Park boundary will be a catch-and release only area during the general stream season, with no motors allowed.
Seasons and limits for other section of the Henrys Fork are correct as printed in the brochure.