Press Release


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Chinook Season Closes; Steelhead Season Continues

Salmon fishing in Idaho will be over for the year when the fall Chinook harvest season on the Snake and Clearwater rivers ends Monday, October 31. As of October 23, anglers had caught 16 marked adults and 19 jacks and caught and released 69 unmarked fish in the lower Clearwater River. They caught and kept 166 adults and 387 jacks in the Snake River, for a total of 553 fish. Hatchery-origin fish are marked with a clipped adipose fin. This year, more than 25,000 fall adult and 19,000 jack Chinook salmon crossed Lower Granite Dam. Though the fall Chinook season has closed in Idaho waters, there is still plenty of exciting fishing left; steelhead harvest fishing season is still open. The steelhead harvest season is open on the Clearwater River, the Salmon, the Little Salmon and the lower Snake rivers. And a season will open on the Boise River after fish stocking begins November 10. The steelhead limit on the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon is three per day and nine in possession. The limit on the Clearwater is two fish per day and six in possession. Anglers may keep 20 steelhead for the season. Once limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing, even catch-and-release. Anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit. They must stop fishing when the possession limit is reached - even catch-and-release. Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks, and may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin. All other steelhead must be released unharmed. In the boundary waters on the Snake River between Idaho and Oregon or Washington, an angler with a valid 2011 Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit may fish where the river forms the boundary between Idaho and Oregon or Washington, but may not fish from the Oregon or Washington shorelines, including wading or in sloughs or tributaries. An angler may have only the limit allowed by one license regardless of the number of licenses the angler holds. For more information on steelhead fishing in Idaho, check the Fish and Game Website Waters open for steelhead harvest are:
  • Clearwater River mainstem and Middle Fork Clearwater River from the mouth of the Clearwater River upstream to Clear Creek. Closures: fishing is prohibited between posted boundaries about100 yards upstream and downstream from the Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery Ladder and extending into the river channel approximately 50 yards. Fishing from the shoreline or wading along the perimeter of Dworshak National Fish Hatchery is prohibited. Fishing from motorized watercraft is prohibited from the Clearwater River Bridge at Orofino upstream to the mouth of Clear Creek from September 15 through April 30.
  • North Fork Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam. Closures: Fishing from the shoreline or wading along the perimeter of Dworshak National Fish Hatchery is prohibited. Fishing from any watercraft or wading is prohibited between the posted lines about 150 yards upstream from the mouth of the North Fork Clearwater River and the Ahsahka Highway 7 Bridge. When fishing from the Ahsahka Highway 7 Bridge, it is unlawful to take any fish downstream of the railroad bridge. Fishing from the railroad bridge is prohibited.
  • South Fork Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to the confluence of American and Red rivers.
  • Salmon River from its mouth upstream to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream of Sawtooth Hatchery.
  • Little Salmon River from its mouth upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 Bridge near Smokey Boulder road.
  • Snake River from the Washington State line at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
  • The fall steelhead season ends December 31.
New rules that took effect August 1 allow anglers to transport anadromous salmon and steelhead without the head and tail attached - but only under a number of conditions:
  • The fish must be recorded on the angler's salmon or steelhead permit.
  • The processed fish must have the skin attached, including the portion with a healed, clipped adipose fin scar.
  • It must be packaged in a way that the number of harvested fish can be determined.
  • The fish must be processed ashore when the angler is done fishing for the day.
  • No processed salmon or steelhead may be transported by boat.
  • No jack salmon may be processed in the field.
  • Processed salmon or steelhead count toward an angler's possession limit while in the field or in transit.
For additional information please consult the 2011-2012 fishing rules and seasons brochure, available at all license vendors, Fish and Game offices and online at: