KOOSKIA - Steelhead anglers are disgusted and angered over an illegal and unethical fishing method occurring in the South Fork Clearwater River.
"Snagging is a big problem right now," said Idaho Department of Fish and Game Conservation Officer Larry Willmott. "It's not ethical, and true sportsmen know it."
Steelhead and salmon become vulnerable to snagging when moving through certain sections of the shallow river or when congregating to spawn.
IDFG receives reports almost daily from concerned anglers complaining over this illegal activity. "The vast majority of anglers are really good folks that obey the laws and follow a good code of ethics," Willmott said. "Unfortunately, there are a few that intentionally break the law."
It is unlawful to take or attempt to take a game fish by snagging, or to keep a game fish that has been snagged. Snagging means the taking or attempt to take a fish by use of a hook or lure in any manner or method other than enticing or attracting a fish to strike with, and become hooked, in its mouth or jaw. Any game fish that is hooked other than the mouth or jaw must be released unharmed.
Anyone who encounters any illegal fishing and hunting activity are encouraged to contact the Citizens Against Poaching Hotline at 1-800-632-5999, the Clearwater Region Fish & Game Office at 208-799-5010 or your local conservation officer. Rewards are offered for any information leading to a citation.
"Collect as much information as possible, especially license plate numbers and descriptions of the violators, and report it as soon as you can," Willmott said. "The more information we have, the easier it is to apprehend and bring these violators to justice."