Why are steelhead given away at the hatcheries, but salmon are not?

I have picked up spawned steelhead many times from the Pahsimeroi Hatchery, but I have never seen salmon given away at the hatchery. I have seen salmon given away in Idaho Falls and on the Fort Hall reservation. This year the fishing has been terrible and it would have been nice to pick up a fish or 2 while I was at the hatchery. It is annoying to know what I spend to go salmon fishing and then find out F&G take the spawned out salmon and delivery them to other people in town who spend no money for licenses or tags but get free salmon, not to mention what it costs to truck the salmon to the other places.

Answer: 

We do give away spawned-out salmon carcasses at our hatchery spawning locations - including Pahsimeroi.  This practice actually started in the 1970's.  We quit giving carcasses away once we started injecting adult salmon with erythomycin phosphate.  Now that we've discontinued the injections, we are again giving away salmon carcasses.

Keep in mind, these salmon have not eaten for roughly 5 months.  They've been living on stored body reserves.  When spawning time arrives, the flesh quality can best be described as "poor."  They are much higher quality, from a taste perspective, when caught in April, May and June.

Answered on: 
July 13, 2014 - 9:52pm