Press Release

Spring Steelhead Season Opens Thursday

Don't forget to buy a 2009 fishing license and steelhead permit before heading out on New Year's Day.

The spring steelhead season starts Thursday, January 1, and runs through April 30, with three exceptions.

On the Little Salmon River the season runs through May 15; 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; and on the Snake River from Hells Canyon Dam upstream to Oxbow Dam, and 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. This year about 1,000 steelhead were stocked in the river. Barbless hooks are not required in the Boise River, but anglers must have a steelhead permit to fish for and keep steelhead, which are rainbow trout longer than 20 inches with a clipped adipose fin.

The spring steelhead limit is three fish per day, nine in possession and 20 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.

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 immediately.

Open waters for steelhead are:

* 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 Hells Canyon 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.

In the boundary waters on the Snake River between Idaho and Oregon or Washington, an angler with a valid 2009 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, including wading, and may not fish in sloughs or tributaries on the Oregon or Washington side. An angler may have only the limit allowed by one license regardless of the number of licenses the angler holds.

Consult 2008-2009 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.