Field reports: Washington Fish and Wildlife seeks input on salmon seasons
May 26—The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking comments for its proposed rules for the 2023-24 recreational and commercial salmon fishing seasons.
These rules represent the culmination of the annual North of Falcon salmon season-setting process, where state, federal and tribal fishery managers work together to plan Washington's commercial and recreational fishing seasons with input from the public.
The department hosted more than a dozen online public meetings this spring to gather initial input from anglers around the state.
"We carefully considered all of the input we received through public meetings and our webpage as we developed these seasons," Kyle Adicks, WDFW's intergovernmental salmon manager, said in a news release.
"This formal comment period gives an additional opportunity for interested public to provide input on the proposed rules."
The full recreational and commercial rulemaking package can be viewed on the WDFW website.
Members of the public can provide comment using the embedded web form, or by submitting comments using the email or phone options listed on the same page. Comments will be accepted until the end of the comment period on June 8.
Department officials are also hosting a virtual meeting at 2 p.m. on June 8. Members of the public may register, participate and provide comments on the WDFW website.
For more information about the North of Falcon process, visit wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/north-falcon
Flows reduced at Dworshak Dam
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will reduce the flows this weekend out of Dworshak Dam, located near Orofino, Idaho, from about 2,300 cubic-feet-per-second down to about 1,400-to-1,600 cfs.
As a result, that action will decrease the flows of the Clearwater River.
The reduced flows from the dam are part of the annual transition to allow Dworshak Reservoir to fill as the remaining snowpack melts and runoff recedes, according to a news release.
Managers scheduled a "snowline verification flight" this upcoming week to check the remaining snowpack in the Clearwater River basin upstream from the dam.
Releases will increase again when temperature-flow augmentation is required in the Lower Snake River, which typically occurs in late June or early July.
For safety, the public is advised to be aware of the danger associated with fluctuating river flows and elevations.
The river at this time of year is deep, cold and fast, so extreme caution should be used near riverbanks.
Boaters, anglers and other people using waterways both in Dworshak Reservoir and below the dam on the Clearwater River are advised to be alert to changes in water elevation and volume of flow.
Current Dworshak water-management conditions can be viewed at www.nwd.usace.army.mil/CRWM/Water-Control-Data/Project-Data/
Idaho urges campers to reduce fire risk
Campers headed to the Idaho outdoors are encouraged to remember best practices, according to the Idaho Department of Lands.
Already this year, some 90% of the fires crews have responded to have been caused by humans.
"There is no room for mistakes when looking to protect our communities and our natural resources from wildfire," Dustin Miller, the director of IDL said in a news release. "The significant precipitation that we received this winter and spring has resulted in a lot of fine fuel growth, and as temperatures rise those fuels dry which increases the risk of wildfire."
Fires can be caused by discarded cigarettes, camp fires left burning, chains dragging from campers or land users simply parking their vehicles in dry grass.
Miller encourages campers to make sure their fires are "dead out," to not use illegal fireworks and to use safe practices while target shooting.
In addition to the annual safety messages, the department has increased its staff and wildlife resources.
"We are stationed strategically to aggressively fight fires when they are first reported," Miller said in the release.
In 2022, crews stopped 92% of fires before they grew beyond 10 acres.
"We are doing our part to protect Idaho from wildfire," Miller said. "But we need your commitment to help prevent accidental fires."