Yes, fishing has been good in the Lewiston, Riggins, and Snake River areas. I was in Salmon, Id. the first week in November and they were picking up a few, fly fishing. We've had enough steelhead enter the Hells Canyon trap that we relocted 300 to the Boise River for anglers. Typically, we don't remove fish from Hells Canyon until the third week in November.
If you've been a resident of Idaho for 6 months - and have proof; you qualify for a resident fishing license. If you live out-of-state or still claim residency in another state then you need a nonresident fishing license or short-term (1 - 4 day) fishing license. If you want to fish for salmon or steelhead and haven't been in Idaho 6 months - you can buy a 3-day salmon and steelhead license that includes a permit to harvest a bag limit of salmon or steelhead.
We also have fishing licenses for disabled individuals, juveniles, seniors and veteran's. Check with the local regional office or call our headquarters for details.
I remember the college days and trying to make ends-meet. Everything seemed more expensive back then and I really had to scrutenize all purchases to make sure I was getting the most out of my hard-earned money. Still, when I look back, my hunting and fishing license allowed me recreational avenues that were inexpensive (and healthier) than some of my other non-studying activities.
Put the cost of a nonresident fishing license in perspective with other parts of your recreational budget. For $98 you can fish 365 days a year and bring home food to put on the table to off-set the cost of the license. When prorated over the entire cost of fishing trips throughout the year, the cost of the license is one of the most inexpensive items you need.
As you are aware, the money generated by the sale of licenses and tags funds our Idaho fish management program. The cost of fuel, fish feed, trucks, etc. is expensive. Our legislature has decided, that nonresidents should pay a proportionately higher amount of those costs compared to residents in Idaho.
Yes, we have looked at the 365 day license and studied how its effected revenue in other states. One of the complicating factors for Idaho is how do you marry a 365 day license annual permits such as for salmon/steelhead? It gets even more complicated with hunting licenses.
I know this isn't the answer you were looking for. It only takes 6 months to establish residence - which is a great option if you plan to study in Idaho for all four years.
Yes, some of the chinook from Coeur d'Alene Lake spawn in the St. Joe River, though themajority spawn in the Coeur d'Alene River. The fish in the St. Joe typically spawn in the first large riffles above the slackwater, from St. Joe City to Calder. Now is the time to see them. In recent years, there've only been 10-20 pairs up the st. joe, versus 50-75 pairs in the Coeur d'Alene River.
I'm not sure we will ever allow fishing for sockeye in Redfish Lake - but I'll bet we have a sockeye season in the Salmon River within the next decade. With our new Springfield hatchery coming on line with a goal of releasing ~1 millon smolts for migration to the ocean, we are confident we can re-establish sockeye in the Salmon River Basin and have excess fish for anglers to pursue in the Salmon River.
Because Snake River system sockeye were listed under the Endangered Species Act, we will need to satisfy National Marine Fishery Service that we can protect wild, returning sockeye while we fish on hatchery sockeye. They will give us a "take" number (incidental mortality on wild fish). We have not started discussions on what that number will be.
We have stopped stocking Redfish Lake to reduce incidental take on sockeye and competition with juvenile sockeye that spend some of their life in the lake.
It's not always NOAA who determines if a fish caught in a fishery is listed under the Endangered Species Act. NOAA does assess the potenital impacts of proposed fisheries and determines what levels of takes in fisheries are allowable (do not cause further harm to the listed fish). Once an unmarked fish has been caught, it's typically up to the states and tribes and their sampling programs to determine if the fish was wild or hatchery. In Idaho (and the entire Snake River basin) all hatchery salmon and steelhead that are released are genetically marked, a program called Parental Based Tagging. The genetic identity of all the parent fish that produce the offspring each year is known so when those offspring return from the ocean as adult fish biologists can analyze a genetic sample from a fish and determine if the parents were a hatchery fish or a wild (typically listed) fish. It's very similar to human genetics testing. Idaho Fish and Game is using these genetic techniques to analyze steelhead caught in fisheries from the mouth of The Columbia River upstream to lower Granite Dam and steelhead and salmon caught in all Idaho sport fisheries. Native Americans are allowed to possess ESA-listed fish because their fisheries typically are non-selective, meaning the harvest techniques used are lethal to the fish thus they cannot sort through the catch and release some fish. However, their fisheries can only occur within the allowable impacts determined by NOAA - that is they can not exceed a certain level of impacts. Sport fisheries also result in some mortality of listed fish; not all fish that are released survival after release and there also are ESA limits on allowable mortality for sport fisheries.
If you are referring to fall Chinook, you will see a record run of fall Chinook in Idaho in 2014. Fall Chinook have recently arrived at Bonneville Dam in record numbers - but they are about two weeks later than expected. That same surge of fish are moving up the Columbia River and many are headed for the Snake and Clearwater River systems.
We are making headway with other runs of anadromous salmon. Improvements in bypass and collection facilities are resulting in higher survival of juvenile fish to the ocean and subsequent returns of adults. Yes, there is still room for improvement. We will continue working with all entities to have the best passage conditions possible for Idaho's salmon and steelhead runs.
The distribution of fall Chinook salmon in Idaho is very different than that of spring/summer Chinook and steelhead. Fall Chinook are found only in the Snake River downstream of Hells Canyon Dam and the lower portions of the Clearwater River. A few do venture a short distance up the Salmon River but that number is really insignificant compared to the numbers in the Snake and Clearwater rivers. Yes, there is limited opportunity for non-boaters to fish for fall Chinook. Most of the fish return to the unroaded section of the Snake River and almost all of the non-boat fishing occurs just downstream of Hells Canyon Dam. Both Idaho and Oregon shore-anglers have been successful catching fall Chinook at Hells Canyon Dam. In 2013 Idaho extended the fall Chinook season into November for the section of the Snake River just downstream of Hells Canyon Dam. The primary purpose of that was to extend the fishing season for shore anglers in that area. In addition to the distribution of fall Chinook being different from spring/summer Chinook, their behavior also is different. Bank angling techniques in Idaho for fall Chinook haven't been as successful as for spring/summer Chinook because of the large rivers fall Chinook are found in and how they migrate through those rivers. Idaho Fish and Game will try to provide more options for fall Chinook fishing but there are limited opportunities to expand fishing just because of where the fish are and their behavior.
Hi everybody, Iâ€™ve been getting bombarded with questions regarding this yearâ€™s Steelhead runs so I figured it is about time I give you all an update. Iâ€™ve been holding off until I had enough information to give you something meaningful. So here you go.
For steelhead there are typically two different runs of fish destined for Idaho that people are interested in. One is the earlier arriving Steelhead that are typically dominated by one-ocean fish and are mainly destined for the Salmon River, the Grand Ronde River, and Hells Canyon Dam. This run of steelhead is commonly referred to as the â€œAâ€� run. The other is the later arriving fish that is typically dominated by larger two-ocean fish and are predominately destined for the Clearwater River basin. This run of steelhead is commonly referred to as the â€œBâ€� run.
By this time of year, typically over 90% of the A run destined for Idaho has passed over Bonneville Dam so we pretty much know what we are going to get. When we look at the number of PIT tagged steelhead destined for Idaho we estimate around 70,000 A run steelhead will pass over Lower Granite Dam. This number will vary some based on what survival is between Bonneville Dam and Lower Granite Dam. If you are wondering, this is very similar to what we saw the last two years (see graph below).
For the B run of steelhead destined for Idaho, typically by this time anywhere from 45 to 60 percent of the run has passed over Bonneville Dam. As such, there is some uncertainty on what is yet to come. However, if the trend holds, it looks like we could get about twice as many fish this year as we saw last year. Again this is dependent on how the run holds out at the survival we see between Bonneville Dam and Lower Granite Dam. The graph below shows how this yearâ€™s projected B run compares to previous years. Many have asked me whether we would be implementing restrictive regulations for steelhead on the Clearwater River this year. I can tell you that if the run holds true to our projection, no changes to the rules will be necessary.
To date 22,000 steelhead have passed over Lower Granite Dam (since June 1), and over the previous three days at least 1,300 steelhead a day have been passing over the dam. Fishing has been fairly slow (> 20 hrs/fish) in the Snake River and Clearwater River downstream of Memorial Bridge where fish can be harvested. But expect these catch rates to improve as more fish move into Idaho. Steelhead fishing in the catch-and-release area of the Clearwater River (upstream of Memorial Bridge) has been fairly good with catch rates around 5 to 6 hours a fish. One interesting this about this yearâ€™s A run is that over half the fish that have passed over Lower Granite Dam are two-ocean fish (9-13 lbs). So, although the catch rates havenâ€™t been all that great, people have been pleased with the size of the fish they are catching. Now that the B run is just starting to reach Idaho, the size of the fish should just get bigger.
Very good question and one our agency has explored in the past.
The sockeye that return to the Stanley Basinrun the longest distance inland of any sockeye population in the world. Back in the early 1980's, IDFG staff went to Babine Lake in northern British Columbia, Canada and took eggs from sockeye at that location. The fish were then reared and released in the Stanley Basin to begin their migration to the ocean. This was done for two consecutive years. Not a single adult sockeye returned to the Stanley Basin lakes from this experiment.
We surmise that something in the genetic makeup of these fish just didn't allow them to make the over 900 mile freshwater journey back to Idaho. We're not sure if they didn't have the capability to detect the tiny fraction of water from their release stream in the Columbia River or they just weren't capable of storing the fat reserves to give them energy to survive the long swim - bottom line was, they just never made it back to Idaho.