ENTERPRISE, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife today announced an emergency closure of the spring chinook fishery on the Imnaha River effective at sundown on Sunday, July 5. Biologists recommended the early closure because angler impacts on wild chinook have reached the levels outlined in the Imnaha spring chinook fishery plan.
“Even though anglers have been releasing the wild fish they caught, approximately 10 percent of the wild fish hooked and released eventually die,” said Brad Smith, ODFW fish biologist. “The closure is intended to limit impacts to the wild component to the Imnaha spring chinook run.”
According to original run predictions, biologists expected to see a larger number of wild fish returning to the river, Smith explained. Recent run projections, however, predict a much lower return of wild fish. As a result the number of wild fish that can be inadvertently handled by sport anglers also has dropped.
“It’s been a very popular sport fishery, and we’re sorry to bring it to an early closure, but it’s necessary to protect wild stocks,” Smith said.