A surplus of hatchery steelhead was recently planted into several Idaho reservoirs. Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) hatchery personnel at Niagara Springs produced an excess of A-run steelhead this year. The Niagara Springs hatchery, on the Snake River south of Wendell, is an Idaho Power Company mitigation hatchery.
Idaho Power has a mitigation goal of 400,000 pounds of steelhead smolts per year at this hatchery; this is the second time since 1991 that goal has been exceeded.
The National Marine Fisheries Service has placed a limit on the number of hatchery steelhead that can be released into the Snake and Salmon Rivers by IDFG. Surplus fish must be stocked out into lakes and reservoirs. These fish were about nine inches long when planted the latter part of May. All fish had the adipose fin clipped, so anglers will know they have caught a steelhead.
These fish are considered as "resident rainbow trout" so a steelhead tag is not required to fish for them or have them in possession. They must, however, be counted as any other trout in the daily bag limit of six fish.
Regional waters where these fish were stocked include Oakley Reservoir (13,260 fish), Salmon Falls Reservoir (13,200), and Roseworth Reservoir (9,900). Steelhead smolts were also planted in Mountain Home, Cascade, and Arrowrock Reservoirs.
The Department thanks Idaho Power for allowing these extra fish to be stocked in these waters and provide more angling opportunity for area fishermen.