- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 21, 2014

LEWISTON, Idaho (AP) - A day after Idaho opened its first fishing season for sea-run coho salmon, an angler hooked one that broke a state record.

“It’s kind of neat,” said Ethan Crawford of Moscow of the 9.4-pound, 31-inch female coho he caught Saturday. “It’s just cool we have this season and opportunity to catch coho.”

Joe DuPont, regional fisheries manager for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at Lewiston, said larger fish are out there and perhaps already have been caught, but anglers don’t appear to have titles in mind when reeling in a salmon.

“They are bonking them and eating them and not even thinking about it,” DuPont told the Lewiston Tribune in a story published Tuesday (https://bit.ly/1r99ZOw ).

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission last week approved a monthlong season on the Clearwater River and the Middle Fork of the Clearwater that runs through Nov. 16. The announcement followed decades of efforts by the Nez Perce Tribe to bring back coho salmon, which disappeared from the river by 1985. The tribe in 1995 began efforts to restore salmon using eggs and young salmon from other locations.

The first coho returned in 1997, with runs continuing to grow over the years. Some 15,000 coho salmon had passed Lower Granite Dam earlier this month, enough for officials to approve a fishing season.

Crawford, a biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, caught the fish on a spinner and had it weighed on a scale verified by an Idaho Department of Fish and Game employee. His fish beats the largest freshwater coho salmon caught in Idaho, which came from the Cascade Reservoir in 1992 and weighed 6 pounds.

Idaho Fish and Game will likely make a change to its fish record book by recognizing as separate categories sea-run coho salmon and coho salmon that spend their entire lives in freshwater, DuPont said.


Information from: Lewiston Tribune, https://www.lmtribune.com

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