Nez Perce Tribe seeks to harvest its share of chinook salmon run in Clearwater Basin

ERIC BARKER Lewiston Tribune

Feeling crowded out of the prime fishing spots in the Clearwater Basin, the Nez Perce Tribe will experiment with gill nets and drift nets during the spring chinook fishing season.

For the tribe, the move is about harvesting its share of the run, something that rarely happens in the Clearwater River and its tributaries during bigger return years. But the tribe also wants to make known its desire to have space and time for its members to fish in traditional ways and equitably share in the resource it helps manage.

Tribal leaders pressed that message when they met with leaders of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game recently as part of a twice-annual gathering where both sides communicate their wants and needs.

Idaho has lobbied the tribe to run Dworshak and Kooskia hatcheries at full production whenever possible. Doing so can make more fish available for harvest, and the three hatcheries managed by the tribe have been at full production for several years.

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