Good news, bad news for the fisherman, and e environment

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In late September, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission closed the Clearwater River to steelhead fishing.

This marks the first time in decades the Clearwater has been closed to anglers.

Reason is the returns of salmon and steelhead (ocean-run rainbow trout) are among the lowest ever on record.

After years of millions of salmon and steelhead returning to the Snake River watershed to spawn, numbers dropped.

Thirty years ago, sockeye, fall chinook and steelhead were listed as threatened or endangered by the Endangered Species Act.


The U. S. EPA recently withdrew support for the Bristol Bay Proposed Determination, designed to limit the harmful effects of the Pebble mine in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska.

According to Trout Unlimited, Bristol Bay supports the world’s most abundant sockeye salmon run, Alaska’s best Chinook run, and a world famous trophy rainbow trout fishery.

“Bristol Bay fishing, including sport, commercial and subsistence ­— for more than 30 Alaska Native tribes — accounts for thousands of sustainable local jobs and more than $1.5 billion in annual economic activity.”

The State of Alaska owns the land for the proposed mine which sits on a seismically active region high in sulfur.

Pebble, owned by Canadian Northern Dynasty Minerals, will mine gold, copper and molybdenum.


After being closed for three years, the Missouri River Inn, downstream from Craig, will re-open early next year.

Jerry Smalley’s Fishful Thinking column appears weekly in the Hungry Horse News.

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