Despite a lower-than-average steelhead return, Idaho Fish and Game continued the popular stocking program in the Boise River starting on Nov. 10.
Anglers were awaiting the truck, and Dale Stratton of Emmett landed the first Boise River steelhead of the season shortly after the fish hit the water.
Fish and Game personnel trapped the steelhead from Hells Canyon and released the fish between Glenwood Bridge and Barber Park. More steelhead are expected be stocked in November again this month depending on the number available at Hells Canyon.
The fish are A-run hatchery steelhead returning to the Idaho Power Company-owned and funded Oxbow Hatchery trap below Hells Canyon Dam. Because of their size - six to 12 pounds - the actual number of steelhead stocked will depend on the capacity of the tanker truck.
Fish and Game’s anadromous fish coordinator Sam Sharr said Fish and Game will likely stock between 400 and 500 steelhead in the Boise in November, which is fewer fish than in years past when more returned.
Sharr noted fisheries managers strike a balance between maintaining good fishing in the Snake River and providing an opportunity for anglers to catch steelhead in the Boise River.
“Traditionally, the Snake River has had good catch rates, and we’ve been able to maintain that and still provide fish for the Boise River,” Sharr said.
Fish and Game has been stocking steelhead in the Boise River since 1997, and Sharr said it provides opportunities for anglers who can’t easily travel to, or fish, Idaho’s larger rivers that have steelhead fishing.
The annual release of steelhead in the Boise River is a fall highlight, and steelhead not only provide a fun and exciting fishing opportunity, nearly all of the released fish typically get harvested.
Anglers should be aware that Fish and Game will be doing a major stream-bed improvement project in the Barber Dam area during November, which might interrupt some fishing there during fall and winter.
Anglers hoping to catch a steelhead need a fishing license and a $12.75 steelhead permit, which is good for 20 fish. Though required in other steelhead waters, barbless hooks are not required for Boise River steelhead angling. The steelhead limit is three per day from the Boise River.