A sure cure for cabin fever, the spring steelhead season opens January 1, but anglers will need a 2012 fishing license and steelhead permit.
Spring steelhead seasons will be open on the:
- Salmon River from its mouth to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream of the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery weir, near the town of Stanley.
- Little Salmon River from its mouth 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 Oxbow Dam.
- Clearwater River mainstem and Middle Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to Clear Creek.
- North Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to Dworshak Dam.
- South Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to the confluence of American and Red Rivers.
- Boise River from its mouth to the Barber Dam.
The season runs through April 30 in most areas, except:
- On the Salmon River from Lake Creek Bridge to Long Tom Creek, about a quarter mile upstream of the Middle Fork, the season ends March 31.
- On the Little Salmon River the season runs through May 15.
- On the Boise River upstream to Barber Dam, the season ends May 31.
Steelhead are in the Boise River only when stocked by Idaho Fish and Game. Here steelhead are defined as rainbow trout longer than 20 inches with a clipped adipose fin. This year about 1,000 steelhead were stocked in the Boise River. Barbless hooks are not required in the Boise, but anglers must have a steelhead permit to fish for and keep steelhead.
The steelhead limit is three per day and nine in possession. The statewide limit for the spring season is 20 steelhead. Once limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing, even catch-and-release.
Steelhead anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit. 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 2012 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 shoreline or in sloughs or tributaries on the Oregon or Washington side, including wading. An angler may have only the limit allowed by one license regardless of the number of licenses the angler holds.
Consult 2011-2012 fishing rules brochure for exceptions and special restrictions. For more information on steelhead fishing in Idaho, check the Fish and Game Website http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.
Don't forget to buy a 2012 fishing license and steelhead permit before heading out. For stories about steelhead fishing go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/i/fishidaho.