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Spring Steelhead Season Begins

Fishing through a hole in lake ice is not the only option for winter-hardened anglers. The spring steelhead season opened January 1. In the total count of steelhead crossing Lower Granite Dam, the last barrier to entering Idaho, the 2000-2001 run count was 109,493. That is a 54 percent increase over the 1999-2000 run, which was a near average run of steelhead. The count at Lower Granite concluded in mid-December. Portions of the upper Salmon River are iced. Anglers should check with local sources on current conditions. Recent surveys of anglers on the Clearwater River showed only a few willing to brave winter fishing conditions but those who did were catching a steelhead every 14 hours on average. An average of 20 hours per fish or less is considered good steelheading. Good catches have also been reported on the Snake River above Lewiston. Through the fall, hatchery steelhead were trucked to the Boise River and the Little Salmon River. Most of those fish are still in the river for the spring season. Steelhead anglers need a new fishing license and steelhead tag for 2001. The spring season runs through April 30 with some exceptions. On the Salmon River from its mouth upstream to Long Tom Creek (1/4 mile upstream from the Middle Fork of the Salmon), the season runs through March 31. On the Payette River, the Boise River and on the Snake from Hells Canyon Dam upstream to Oxbow Dam, the season continues through May 31. Limits are two steelhead in the bag per day, four in possession, and 10 for the season.