Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho


The Army Corps of Engineers put brakes on refilling Dworshak Reservoir on the Clearwater River. Just seven feet from full pool, the corps increased flows from 1,800 cubic feet per second to 4,500 cfs early June 14. The increased outflow is expected to aid migrating juvenile salmon at Lower Granite Dam and also help salmon anglers fishing the North Fork below the dam. The move will slow refilling by a few days, but the agency expects it to refill before the July 1 target. The increased discharge should disperse adult chinook salmon at the base of the dam and throughout the North Fork, said Idaho Fish and Game biologist Ed Schriever. There has been no decision on how long the reservoir will stay full before water is taken to aid the outmigration of juvenile fall chinook. The state and the tribe want the Technical Management Team - state, tribal and federal fish managers - to keep the reservoir full through July to enhance recreation and leave water to attract returning adult salmon and steelhead in August and September. The National Marine Fisheries Service wants the water to help juvenile fall chinook on their way to the ocean and the best time is July.

Idaho Game and Fish employees fish for the white sturgeon which lurk on the bottom of deep holes in the stronghold of Hells Canyon to check on the population. The tribe and Idaho Power Co. study densities. The company study is part of re-licensing requirements for its three dams at the head of the canyon. The tribe may propose to supplement populations with hatchery-raised sturgeon and is considering a put-and-take fishery in Oxbow and Hells Canyon reservoirs. Each great fish hoisted out is checked for presence of a tiny computer chip or pit tag. When a scanner beeps, a number pops up on the screen and they know the fish has been caught before. The catch and release fishery means sturgeon can be shared by many different anglers and remain at healthy populations. The Snake has sturgeon from its mouth to Twin Falls but in many reaches they are not reproducing because too few survive. Fossil records indicate the fish have remained unchanged for the last 200 to 300 million years. The sturgeon, more dinosaur than fish, can live for 100 years and reach rare lengths up to 12 feet, weigh 200 pounds and produce thousands of eggs.