Ask Fish & Game

Ask Fish and Game is for general questions. Not all questions are answered. Urgent questions should be directed to your nearest office.

Some answers change over time; please take note of the "answered-on" date.

Displaying 1 - 50 of 139 questions
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A: Are we talking about a water with landlocked Fall Chinook or a river system that Chinook Salmon can use to reach the ocean? Anadromous (ocean-going) juvenile Chinook are typically defined as being two years of age or less.  They will be 3 - 5" in length - depending on their diet and water ...
5/31/15
A: The short answer is yes.  Hatcheries are starting to trap chinook salmon and we are finalizing our website content and procedures for updating the trapping numbers. As of May 7, Rapid River had trapped 7 adipse fin clipped adult chinook salmon and Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery (on the Clearwater) had ...
5/8/15
A: In Idaho Code, landlocked salmon are considered "trout" unless otherwise denoted.  In the case of Anderson Ranch Reservoir, Fall Chinook salmon are included in your daily trout bag limit.  Therefore, you can keep 6 "trout/Fall Chinook" per day.
5/7/15
A: When fishing in Idaho, it doesn't matter if you have an "Alabama rig" or gear names after any other state - you can only have 5 hooks per line under your direct control. I will say a "qualifying yes" to your question on lures.  Provided the lure isn't scented, they would be legal.  Scented lures ...
5/2/15
A: We are anticipating a very successful Chinook Salmon season on the South Fork Salmon River in 2015.  Actual dates of the season and bag limits will be set at the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game Commission meeting that will be held in Lewiston on May 19th and 20th, 2015. With the low flow conditions I ...
4/30/15
A: The rules that were approved by the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game Commission:  Clearwater River Basin - Daily Limit: 4 fish only 1 of which may be an adult except in the South Fork Clearwater River where 2 adults can be harvested.  Fishing will occur 7 days a week.  No river section closures, ...
4/1/15
A: Yes there is.  Our latest estimate is for 14,073 adult hatchery-produced Chinook salmon passing Lower Granite Dam and headed to the Clearwater River system.  A total of 5,452 are headed to Dworshak Hatchery; 2,247 adults to Kooskia; and the remainer are headed to Clearwater River tributaries where ...
3/11/15
A: Your question is very broad and there are well over 100 papers out there on trout to draw on so generalizing is difficult.    Under most conditions,  Catch-and-release mortality or “hooking mortality” of trout is thought to be relatively low in most instances.   There are a number of summary ...
2/23/15
A: Fall Chinook were stocked in Anderson Ranch Reservoir two years ago.  They are used as a management tool to reduce kokanee numbers to prevent size stunting from over-population.  In reservoirs like Deadwood and Lake Coeur d'Alene where they also feed on kokanee, fall Chinook will achieve ~30" and ...
1/21/15
A: In 2014, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game was directly involved in the stocking of over 32,000,000 fish!  Fish species stocked include both native and non-native trout/salmon species (Rainbow Trout, Chinook Salmon, Lake Trout, etc.) as well as non-native cool- and warm-water species (like ...
1/12/15
A: Yes, some of the chinook from Coeur d'Alene Lake spawn in the St. Joe River, though the majority 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, ...
10/5/14
A: 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 ...
9/11/14
A: 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 ...
9/6/14
A: Broodstock goals for the adipose-clipped portion of the production (the fish that sport anglers can harvest when they return) sometimes change from one year to the next because of other changes in rearing space at the hatcheries or other rearing programs that also are occurring. At Pahsimeroi ...
7/26/14
A: You've done a great job of tracking the hatchery return component of the Chinook run.  Here are other items that need to be considered in doing a run reconstruction: Mortality between Lower Granite Dam and the hatcheries - there is mortality due to environmental reasons, predators, diseases, ...
7/24/14
A: Maybe we need to work on designing Go Pro type fish cams so we can see where they go once released from the hatchery truck.  I can tell you that several went to the deep water below the Park Center Bridge piers and held there are several days. We've had a "handful" of people calling to tell us ...
7/23/14
A: Bag limits for Lake Coeur d'Alene are: you can keep 6 rainbow trout (no harvest of cutthroat trout); 6 bass - any size; 25 brook trout; 2 fall Chinook that are at least 20" in length; 15 kokanee; and 25 whitefish. These limits are independent of each other, so you could legally have 79 fish in the ...
7/18/14
A: No, you don't need a Salmon Permit to fish in Lake Coeur d'Alene for Fall Chinook.  The Salmon Permit is only required when fishing for anadromous (ocean-run) salmon.  Land-locked salmon are treated like trout in most waters.
7/16/14
A: Wild spring Chinook salmon are not included in the calculated harvest share for the various river reaches around Idaho because they are federally protected under the Endangered Species Act.  We can only set seasons and harvest shares for hatchery-produced Chinook salmon. In areas where the wild ...
7/8/14
A: We're talking "apples and oranges" when you mix the total number of Chinook coming over Bonneville Dam and Lower Granite with the angler sport harvest on the South Fork Salmon River. First, lets talk about the numbers of fish coming over the dams.  These numbers represent a mixture of fish ...
7/7/14
A: Free Fishing Day only allows a person who can possess a valid license to fish on that day without a license or a salmon permit.  All other rules dealing with daily bag and possession limits, gear restrictions, etc. are still in effect. Even though, you weren't required to record the adult salmon ...
7/6/14
A: Fall Chinook have been stocked in Deadwood Reservoir for many years to help control an over-population of kokanee.   You typically need down-riggers in the summer to fish at a depth of 20+' with flashy type lures that mimic an injured fish.  Call our Nampa Regional Office at 465-8465 and ask for ...
7/5/14
A: What you've heard is a fish-story.  Only a salmon permit can be used to fish for and keep Chinook salmon from the Boise River. Don't throw away your steelhead permit you bought this spring.  If we stock steelhead in the Boise River around Thanksgiving time, it will be good for those stocked fish.
7/5/14
A: It's roughly 1,200 fish in 2014.  This is based on the projected number of hatchery Chinook that are returning to Pahsimeroi and Sawtooth hatcheries.  We subtract the number of adult fish needed for brood stock and divide what's left between tribal and nontribal anglers.  The run coming back to ...
7/2/14
A: We wish the returning adult Chinook numbers were only influenced by angling.  That would make our jobs much easier.  Truth is, we knew two years ago that the Chinook numbers returning to Pahsimeroi Hatchery would be low in 2014.  PIT tag information collected at Lower Granite Dam in the spring of ...
7/1/14
A: I'm not going to tell you that lures don't work for catching Chinook salmon - because as soon as I do, the fish prove me wrong.  If you are going to use a lure, use one that mimics a predatory fish the Chinook think might be a threat to eat the eggs they are preparing to lay.  I would consider an ...
6/30/14
A: We've reached the harvest quota on fish headed to Rapid River Fish Hatchery.  From keeping the river reach from the mouth of Rapid River to Pollock open for fishing in the past, we've discovered that many fish headed to Rapid River go past the river and are harvested in the Little Salmon River ...
6/26/14
A: For jacks - yes.  For adult Chinook, the answer is no.  Sorry
6/26/14
A: As of late June 2014, the quota for the upper Salmon River Chinook fishery is roughly 755 salmon harvested. Keep in-mind, this fishery is comprised of salmon returning to Pahsimeroi and Sawtooth hatcheries.  The fishery area downstream of the Pahsimeroi river could close earlier than the area ...
6/25/14
A: You need to have a receipt when you buy salmon from tribal members because this is your only way to legally demonstrate the origin of the fish.  With no receipt, we assume the salmon were harvested in the fishery and must be legally recorded on your salmon permit.  The burden of proof is on you - ...
6/25/14
A: We will probably stock fall Chinook in Deadwood Reservoir again this year to help reduce the kokanee population, but we probably won't stock Anderson Ranch with fall Chinook.  Anderson Ranch was drawn-down this past winter and we know kokanee went through the dam.  Until we have a better idea of ...
6/18/14
A: As of this morning (6/18) the estimated harvestable sport-angling share is 780 adults.  This is based on the PIT data which generated a population estimate at Bonneville Dam.  As more PIT tagged fish are detected at Lower Granite Dam (upper-most dam where Salmon River fish are monitored) the quota ...
6/16/14
A: Because the Chinook seasons are modified frequently to allow as much angler opportunty as possible, a season map would be outdated very quickly.  However, the Interactive Season Map available at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/fishingplanner/chinook includes a visual map of current river ...
6/11/14
A: I measured a Gamakatsu 3/0 octopus hook and its gap width is just under 5/8ths inch, thus can be used for salmon and steelhead fishing. A 4/0 would have a gap that is greater than 5/8ths inch. The measurements listed here are specific to Gamakatsu octopus hooks. A different brand or different ...
6/9/14
A: The reason we haven't been posting trap return numbers for Rapid River has to do with modernization of our website and conversion of website tools in our old format to a new format.  Sounds simple, right?  We presently have the numbers posted on our website and fisheries staff are manually ...
6/5/14
A: The Upper Salmon and South Fork Salmon chinook fisheries opened on June 21.  Harvest updates will be posted on the IDFG website here http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=114 as they are available.  
6/4/14
A: You can use up to 5 barbless hooks per line while fishing for salmon or steelhead.   That probably won't work in the Little Salmon River for Chinook fishing but you might be able to utilize extra hooks while trolling for steelhead.
6/2/14
A: Based on input from hundreds of anglers, Chinook Salmon harvest quotas were set up for different river reaches in the Clearwater River drainage.  These harvest quotas were set up to insure that communities located across the drainage would have fair opportunities to fish for salmon.  For the lower ...
5/22/14
A: Those numbers will vary from year to year so this answer applies only to this year's return. The actual or final percentages won't be known until all fish have returned to Idaho; that will be sometime in late June or early July. Based on the pre-season forecast of fish retuning to areas in Idaho ...
5/22/14
A: We won't know for a couple more weeks.  The quota will be based on population projections from PIT Chinook passing Lower Granite Dam.  Once we know that most of the PIT tagged adult salmon have passed the last dam before entering Idaho, we will set the quota.   F08
5/21/14
A: Tributaries, such as Lolo Creek, are closed to Chinook salmon fishing.  See the top of page 2 of the 2014 Chinook Salmon Seasons & Rules for the Snake, Clearwater, Lochsa, Lower Salmon, and Little Salmon rivers. At the point where the entire flow of Lolo Creek is contained within a defined ...
5/19/14
A: There are posted signs on the river in the northfork, from near the confluence to the Asahaka bridge. Within that zone fishing from boats is not allowed. Above the bridge to a posted line below the dam is open to boat fishing. Please check the chinook fishing regulations pamphlet for a better ...
5/18/14
A: The data that feed this page are currently not available. We're working with the data provider to get this information online as soon as possible. The page will live here: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/fish/hatchery-returns-chinook  You can find the broodstock goals as well as some ...
5/18/14
A: Your question is one asked by many anglers, especially when counts of salmon at the dams are higher but we have to close harvest in parts of the river. You started to answer the question yourself - more fish will return to the Salmon River basin than the Clearwater River basin this year. As of May ...
5/18/14
A: There are a couple of important points to address in your questions. A desired outcome of managing the salmon fisheries is for all areas open to fishing have successful and meaningful fisheries. The one-fish bag limit is one tool that can be used to achieve that. More importantly, the one-fish bag ...
5/17/14
A: Yes - except around Dworshak National Fish Hatchery (mainstem and North Fork) and the Tribal Hatchery fish ladder.   Check our website for a copy of the Idaho 2014 Chinook Salmon Season and Rules brochure.
5/14/14
A: It depends.  When the water is high in the Little Salmon, many of the fish will stay in the main Salmon River and not proceed up the Little Salmon.  In low water years or when the spring is cool and snow melts gradually, then they run the Little Salmon, earlier. Because the Snake River below Hells ...
5/13/14
A: The Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Nez Perce Tribe annually PIT ag more than 200,000 Spring/Summer Chinoook Salmon smolts released from Idaho hatcheries in the Clearwater, Snake, and Salmon rivers. PIT (passive integrated transponder) tags smaller ...
5/4/14
A: Ok, as biologists we like to have data "in-hand" before setting seasons and bag limits.  The primary information we rely on is the number of Passive Induced Transponder (PIT) tagged adult fish that pass the first dam on the Columbia River (Bonneville) on their journey up the Columbia and Snake ...
4/29/14
A: That's an interesting question - why do jack Chinook salmon get protection similar to what the adult fish get. Part of the reason is that they actually are sexually mature fish. Jacks are males that return to freshwater to spawn after spending only one year in the ocean and they do spawn. As a ...
4/24/14