The steelhead harvest season is open on the Boise, Clearwater, Salmon, Little Salmon and lower Snake rivers.
The release of steelhead in the Boise on Tuesday, November 22, was the last for 2011. The trapping rate at Oxbow Dam has slowed, and no more fish are available. But about 1,000 steelhead already have been released in the Boise River.
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.
Waters open for steelhead harvest are:
- Boise River from its mouth upstream to Barber Dam.
- Salmon River from its mouth upstream to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream from the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery weir, near the town of Stanley.
- 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.
- Clearwater River mainstem and Middle Fork from its mouth upstream to Clear Creek.
- North Fork Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam.
- South Fork Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to the confluence of American and Red Rivers.
The fall steelhead season ends December 31, and the spring season begins on January 1.
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.
Steelhead anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit. Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks, except on the Boise River, and they may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin. All other steelhead must be released immediately.
For more information on steelhead fishing in Idaho, consult the 2011-2012 fishing rules and seasons brochure, available at all license vendors, Fish and Game offices and online at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/rules/steelhead.pdf.