I attended the salmon recovery conference in Salmon on July 31. Rep. Dorothy Moon's introduction to the meeting said nothing about wanting to help or any ideas on how the state could help with salmon recovery. Instead she used the meeting to focus on her personal agenda on how miners are being mistreated up on the Yankee Fork.
The main focus of the salmon panel was salmon spawning here in Idaho, but that is a small part of the problem. The panel never mentioned the Columbia River, fishing regulations in Oregon and Washington, ocean conditions, water flows, dam improvements, hatchery improvements or predators.
Idaho salmon are not returning to Idaho. Pit tag data from Bonneville Dam show Idaho salmon being counted but not returning back to Idaho. There has to be more cooperation from Oregon and Washington fishing regulations to allow more of our salmon to return. They are catching our salmon on the Columbia River while we get no salmon season.
When it comes to dealing with Oregon and Washington and BPA, Idaho needs to be more of a force. I believe the Idaho Fish and Game Commission needs more backing from our state legislature and congressional senators. There must be financial backing from sportsmen, outdoor groups, and most of all, the Idaho legislature to show we are serious about returning Idaho salmon back to Idaho. Idaho cannot take the back seat when it comes to negotiations or litigation with Oregon, Washington, BPA and the federal government.
After the presentation to the panel, the public was allowed to speak. Much of the public input was basically Idaho had 5 star accommodations for salmon but few were returning. There were no speakers who were city officials from the cities of Challis or Stanley or Custer County. I would have thought if they didn't fish at least they would support business as there is a huge financial loss to Challis and Stanley if we don't have a salmon season. The mayor of Salmon gave a great presentation demanding the state do more for salmon recovery. There were only two speakers from Challis and I was really surprised by the apathy in Custer County. The salmon are not going to recover by doing nothing.
Folks, a way of life is at risk here. Salmon have always been a part of our culture and it's about to come crashing down. This is really serious and salmon fishing may be gone forever. Please contact Gov. Brad Little or Congressman Mike Simpson that we want Idaho salmon back to Idaho.