Idaho Fish and Game will stock 150 to 200 hatchery steelhead into the Boise River on Wednesday, Nov. 21. The steelhead are trapped at Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River, and they will be released in equal numbers at five locations: Glenwood Bridge, Americana Bridge, below the Broadway Avenue Bridge behind Boise State University, at West Parkcenter Bridge and at Barber Park.
Anglers hoping to catch a steelhead need a fishing license and a steelhead permit. Limits on the Boise River are two steelhead per day, six in possession, and 20 for the fall season. Barbless hooks are not required when fishing for steelhead in the Boise River. All other steelhead-specific fishing rules apply.
The Boise River steelhead fishery will not be affected by the recently announced suspension of steelhead fishing on the Snake, Salmon and Clearwater river systems, which will take effect at the end of fishing hours (11:59 p.m.) on Dec. 7. Those fisheries require federal authorization because wild steelhead are present, which are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. Authorization for those fisheries is pending and Fish and Game intends to reopen fishing when it receives federal authorization.
Fish and Game would also reopen steelhead fishing in the Snake, Salmon and Clearwater river systems if a group of six organizations drops their threat of a lawsuit, which prompted the decision by the Fish and Game Commission to suspend most of the state’s steelhead fishing areas starting Dec. 7.
Stocking the Boise River with steelhead started in 1983, and adult hatchery steelhead have been stocked in the river every year since 1998. This effort provides anglers an opportunity to fish for steelhead in the Boise River after steelhead runs were blocked by the Hells Canyon dam complex.
All steelhead stocked in the Boise River will lack an adipose fin (the small fin normally found immediately behind the dorsal fin). Any steelhead that is being harvested must be killed immediately and recorded on the angler’s permit. Otherwise, the fish must be released upon landing.
Steelhead in the Boise River are defined as any rainbow trout longer than 20 inches in total length that lacks an adipose fin. Any steelhead caught by an angler not holding a steelhead permit must immediately be returned to the water.