Press Release

Steelhead anglers reminded of rules, including reduced limits

As the weather warms and steelhead continue their long swim upstream, anglers trying to catch one of the hard fighting fish need to be aware of the current rules, including recent changes to bag limits.

Due to lower numbers of returning steelhead this year, the Fish and Game Commission changed the limits starting with the 2018 spring season. The current steelhead limit is two (2) steelhead a day and six (6) in possession on the Salmon River. Anglers are reminded that these changes are not reflected in the seasons and rules brochures, but printable copies are available online at

Steelhead anglers 14 years old or older need a current and valid fishing license and a steelhead permit. Children (including nonresident children) under the age of 14 do not need to buy a fishing license or steelhead permit, but they must fish with a valid permit holder. Any fish kept by the young angler must be recorded on the permit holder’s card and counted in the permit holder’s legal bag, possession and season limit. A resident child under 14 may buy a permit without a license so they can keep their own limit of steelhead.

important rule to keep in mind is that those who keep steelhead must immediately validate their permit. To validate the permit, remove one numbered notch from the permit, write in the river location code, and enter the month and day of the catch. To do so, anglers are encouraged to keep a knife and pen handy.

Wild steelhead or steelhead with an intact adipose fin cannot be kept and must be released. Any steelhead that is being kept must be killed immediately. Otherwise, the fish must be released upon landing.

Any angler, who has attained the bag, possession, or season limit, must stop fishing for steelhead including catch-and-release fishing.

You must fish with barbless hooks or pinch the barbs down on your barbed hooks.

Nobody shall kill or keep any steelhead which have been hooked other than in the mouth or jaw. Any steelhead hooked other than in the mouth or jaw must be released.

For any questions about steelhead rules and regulations, call the nearest Fish and Game office, visit the department’s website at, or contact your local conservation officer.

If you witness or have information about a fish and game violation, please call the Citizens Against Poaching hotline at 1-800-632-5999. Rewards are offered for information leading to a citation and callers can remain anonymous.

Kahle Becker steelhead fishing on the upper Salmon River in 2016
Creative Commons Licence
photo by Glenn Oakley for IDFG

Kahle Becker steelhead fishing on the upper Salmon River in 2016