Questions & Answers

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

Displaying 1 - 50 of 138 questions
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A: One thing you need to know is once steelhead leave saltwater and move to freshwater they can no longer utilize/digest food.  With that said, they still seem to have a feeding instinct and will still strike at baits or other fish but have no way to convert that food into body sustinance. In the ...
3/23/15
A: The ony difference between a "newby" biologist and a bald biologist is the "newby" is arrogant enough to predict how fish and wildlife will respond to changing environmental conditions.  I'm a "gray-haired" biologist so I'm not going to give you a definitive answer to your question. What I will ...
3/6/15
A: The normal start-up for steelhead trapping is late February and early March so trapping has just recently started. Some programming needs to be finished so our web reports can link (in near-real-time) to the database containing the hatchery information. We hope to have that up and running as soon ...
3/4/15
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: In most years, the dates you selected would align with a peak in steelhead movement up the South Fork Clearwater River.  However, the warmer weather we are experiencing this winter has got the steelhead moving early.  In fact, based on the number of PIT tagged steelhead we are detecting moving up ...
2/18/15
A: Daily bag limits can be found on page 45 of our 2013 - 2015 Fishing Rules booklet. In 2014, we did an emergency bag limit reduction be cause we were going to be short of brood fish returning to Dworshak and Clearwater Fish Hatcheries. That's probably where the confusion started. 2015 will be a ...
1/28/15
A: We recently answered a question very similar to yours. Please let us know if this doesn't answer your question.
1/15/15
A: Idaho's license fees are set by legislation. The two licenses (3 Day Salmon/Steelhead and the Daily Fishing) are different types of licenses and have different fees as per the Idaho Code 36-416. Therefore, the daily fishing license purchased for two days (no steelhead permit) would be the $12.75 ...
1/15/15
A: The short answer is, "no." Centain species of game fish, which trout are defined in Idaho rule 13.01.11. , can not have the heads and tails removed while in transit.  You also must be able to show how many fish, the length and species of fish you have in possession while in the field. Idaho ...
1/7/15
A: Late in the fall it is possible to see a high proportion of unclipped steelhead in the catch. That's mostly a function of the harvest of fish with clipped adipose fins and not the marking at the hatchery before the fish were released. Most of the hatchery steelhead returning to the Clearwater this ...
1/3/15
A: You can still catch steelhead near Riggins but fishing could be slow.  As water temperatures cool, the fish are less active.  A Sammy and shrimp work well this time of year - especially in the afternoon when the sun is on the water.
12/14/14
A: Chances are very slim that we will stock more steelhead in the Boise River in the fall 2014/spring 2015.  We/Idaho Power can't operate the trap in the winter once we have freezing conditions and we don't want to remove all the hatchery steelhead below Hells Canyon Dam where anglers fish throughout ...
12/10/14
A: When returns are numerous enough a portion of the adult steelhead trapped annually at Hells Canyon Dam are released into Hells Canyon Reservoir. During the 2014 fall trapping season those releases occured weekly throughout November and totaled approximately 840 fish. The releases into Hells Canyon ...
11/25/14
A: 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' ...
11/8/14
A: 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 ...
10/23/14
A: At this time in mid-October we are expecting that some steelhead will be released into the Boise River but can't say how many. The trap at Hells Canyon Dam will go into operation about October 27; trapping earlier than that when water temperatures are warm is not good for the fish. Watch the news ...
10/15/14
A: 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 ...
10/5/14
A: The 1-fish 28" size limit was just for last steelhead season.  Rules and bag limits have reverted back to those posted in the 2013 - 2015 Fishing Rule booklet.
10/1/14
A: 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 ...
9/17/14
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: Hi everybody, I’ve been getting bombarded with questions regarding this year’s Steelhead runs so I figured it is about time I give you all an update.  I’ve been holding off until I had enough information to give you something meaningful.  So here you go. For steelhead there are typically two ...
8/29/14
A: Steelhead do run to the Pahsimerio/Challis/Salmon area in the late fall.  Typically, we start to receive reports of steelhead being caught in the upper Salmon in late October/early November.  Most people fish the lower Salmon River in the fall (October in Riggins is my favorite fishing time) and ...
8/3/14
A: Ok, nonresident children (under 14 years of age) can fish for free if they are with a licensed adult (resident or nonresident).  All fish caught and reduced to possession count towards the licensed individual's daily bag limit.  The only exception is, a nonresident youth can buy their own salmon ...
7/16/14
A: 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 ...
7/12/14
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: The best thing to use is moline.  It's a tough mesh material that holds the tuna (and other secret ingredients).  Cut the moline into 3" by 3" squares, lay-in your bait, and gather the four corners.  Tie the top of the ball off with thread or a fine string using a couple of half-knots to secure ...
7/5/14
A: Actually, we've studied going to a 365-day license versus a calendar-year license and we've talked with a number of states that have gone the 365-day route.  There are pros and cons to both. For Idaho, one of the complicating factors is our salmon and steelhead fisheries.  These are seasonal ...
6/25/14
A: The person who hooks (sets the hook) the fish must record it on their permit.
6/13/14
A: This is not as easy of question as you might think and there are no specific rules on when or where you must clean your fish. You can actually remove the internal organs and gills anytime after reducing your fish to possession.  If you are in a boat, it's ok to throw the fish parts back into the ...
6/12/14
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: Yes, you can purchase consecutive 3-day salmon steelhead licenses.  To make this work at a vendor, have them issue the first 3-day license, close the transaction, and then start a new transaction to issue the second licese with the new dates.
6/5/14
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: Fish released from native American hatcheries aren't required to have their adipose fin clipped - but they do clip a portion to help differentiate the released fish as "hatchery origin."  The reason some of the hatchery fish are not clipped when they are released is to make sure enough adult ...
5/22/14
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: We can relate to your concerns.  Being on the upper-most reaches of the Columbia River system, we watch Idaho salmon and steelhead being harvested by anglers, commercial fishermen, and tribal members in the ocean, Washington, and Oregon - with no way for us to influence the number of fish being ...
4/21/14
A: Depends.  It is illegal to fish for steelhead when the steelhead season is closed - even catch-and-release.  You can use a spey rod as long as you can pass the "red-face" test when you encounter an officer.  You must be able to convince the officer that you are fishing for cutthroat or rainbow ...
4/18/14
A: Basically, you only have to replace the items you need to (and want to). Before July the deer and elk tags have not been designated yet; when you decide the specific zone or type of tag you want you can go to any vendor to get a deer or elk tag.  All vendors can issue these along with salmon and ...
4/7/14
A: You cannot purchase a second permit, but you can get a duplicate at any vendor.
4/1/14
A: You are correct, IDFG does use salmon and steelhead permit fees to pay for toilet services in anadromous fishing areas. We try to time the delivery of porta-potty toilets in spring with the arrival of larger numbers of anglers, so we are not spending a lot of money when few anglers are using the ...
3/25/14
A: Thanks for the question regarding Potlatch River steelhead.  In the Big Bear Drainage, which included the West Fork of Little Bear and Big Meadow Creek, steelhead should be in the middle of spawning right now.  Our past surveys have shown that they typically start spawning after water temperatures ...
3/22/14
A: Assuming you are interested in using a bow or spear to catch fish; here are the details: Spear Fishing in Idaho You must have an Idaho fishing license if you are 14 or over. Archery and Spear Fishing is defined as: Fishing with a bow and arrow, crossbow, spear or mechanical device, excluding ...
3/18/14
A: No other permit is required.  More information: Spear Fishing in IdahoArchery and Spear Fishing is defined as: Fishing with a bow and arrow, crossbow, spear or mechanical device, excluding firearms. This type of fishing is permitted only in the taking of bullfrogs and unprotected nongame fish and ...
3/17/14
A: Thanks for your interest in Idaho steelhead and the trapping data at our hatcheries. For the past two years we have been able to provide an automated daily update from each of our hatcheries from a centralized IDFG database. In the last year we have been in the process of transferring our database ...
3/7/14
A: The weir will be installed the week of March 17 with trapping set to being on March 24.
3/3/14
A: The returns of large B-run steelhead to the Clearwater River in the 2013-14 return are less than in recent years and in October 2013 the Department asked the Idaho Fish and Game Commission to implement a conservation measure to decrease the likelihood of a broodstock shortfall for hatcheries in ...
3/3/14
A: October can be one of the best times to fish in the Salmon Region. Steelhead are starting to show up in the Salmon River, with anglers having the best luck downstream from the town of Salmon, ID. Anglers may also catch rainbow trout, westslope cutthroat trout, bull trout, and mountain whitefish in ...
2/28/14
A: We don't clip the adipose fin on hatchery produced rainbow trout unless they are part of a research project. We do clip the adipose fin on hatchery produced anadromous (ocean-going) salmon and steelhead raised in our hatchery system.  This is so anglers can distinguish them from wild chinook and ...
2/21/14
A: Unfortunately, there are no facilities to provide upstream fish passage past Dworshak Dam.  As a result, steelhead do not occur upstream of Dworshak Resevoir.
2/16/14