Ask Fish & Game

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Displaying 1 - 100 of 165 questions
Question Asked
A: Lamprey are native to Idaho waters and can still be found in low numbers in rivers and streams which also support ocean-going salmon and steelhead populations.  As with our other Idaho anadromous fish, changes in river and ocean conditions have reduced current populations to a fraction of historic ...
4/27/16
A: On an average year, 2000-3000 steelhead return to Sawtooth Fish Hatchery. We typically see fewer than 100 natural steelhead at the Sawtooth weir.
3/24/16
A: There is a difference between the Steelhead Permit and the 3-day Salmon/Steelhead.   The 3-day Salmon/Steelhead is a 3-day Fishing License with a Salmon Permit and a Steelhead Permit.   The Steelhead Permit cannot be purchased unless you have a Nonresident Fishing LIcense.  As of the date this ...
3/15/16
A: Hi there, thanks for your question. Its great to hear that you are excited about steelhead fishing. Drift boats are a great way to chase these fantastic fish. Your options will be limited to your skills on the oars and where steelhead can currently be found. At this time of year (late winter), you ...
2/15/16
A: It depends on if the children (under 14 years of age) are residents of the State of Idaho or nonresidents. Resident children (primary domicile/home) who have lived in Idaho for at least the past 6 months are considered residents and can possess their own daily bag limit of fish.  They can even ...
2/11/16
A: Let's look at the economics of the various license options.  You could buy a Nonresident Fishing license ($98.25) and a Nonresident Steelhead permit ($25.75) and fish all year for steelhead in Idaho.  It would also give you the latitude to return in the fall and fish for steelhead at no additional ...
2/10/16
A: In the late winter and spring, steelhead can be found in the upper sections of most rivers open to steelhead fishing. This is usually February - April, but check the closure dates. In February-April, steelhead will be found in the Clearwater, South Fork Clearwater, Salmon River near Riggins, and ...
2/2/16
A: Yes, page 14 in the fishing regulations only restricts fishing to single point barbless hooks while fishing for salmon and steelhead.  Barbed hooks are allowed while fishing for trout, although cutthroat are catch and release only; and if you caught a salmon or steelhead while using a barbed hook ...
1/31/16
A: Yes, we have considered many options for how we operate the steelhead trapping and translocation program as it seems to receive an inordinate amount of scrutiny. For Idaho's share, we try to find a balance between meeting broodstock needs, and providing harvest opportunity downstream of Hells ...
1/22/16
A: We would need to change the dates before the dates on the current license expire.  A new license would need to be issued with the new dates.  This can be done at no cost.
1/11/16
A: Hello,  Steelhead fishing is probably best in October-November and again in March-April. While steelhead can be caught in the winter between December and February, catch rates are usually much lower until water temperatures come back up.  In the fall, steelhead fishing usually first picks up in ...
12/23/15
A: Thanks for your question about the upcoming changes to the trout possession limit. When the new fishing rules take effect in 2016, anglers will be able to have 3 daily bag limits in possession, whereas before it was just one. This usually meant fisherman traveling for the weekend or on vacation ...
12/10/15
A: Great question!  We don't have great information on this, but we do have some idea about how these fish typically move. IDFG has tagged some of the steelhead and salmon that have been released into the Boise River. By keeping track of where tagged fish are released, and where they were caught by ...
11/19/15
A: Another 150 steelhead will be stocked in the Boise River on Thursday, November 19, the last of two planned stocking efforts prior to the Thanksgiving holiday.  In years past, as many as 900 steelhead made the road trip from Hells Canyon Dam to the Boise River, but this year's below-average ...
11/18/15
A: Yes. More than 150 steelhead will be stocked in the Boise River on Thursday, November 12 the first of two planned stocking efforts prior to the Thanksgiving holiday. Here is the full news release about the Boise River steelhead stocking.
11/11/15
A: In Idaho we require seperate permits to fish for steelhead and salmon.  So, the Steelhead permit is good for fishing in the spring and fall steelhead seasons.  You need to record all steelhead caught and kept over 20" in length on your permit.  The Salmon permit is good for fishing in the spring ...
11/9/15
A: Thread the hook through the main body of the shrimp.  If the shrimp has been frozen or is soft, some people will put a couple of half-hitches of thread around around the shrimp on the hook to hold it in-place.   Most people will use shrimp below a "Sammy" when the river temperatures are cooler in ...
11/6/15
A: A load of steelhead will be delivered to the Boise River this week (week of November 9th) and another load is scheduled to be delivered next week (November 16th) pending the weather.
11/3/15
A: In the Salmon River below the Middle Fork, you can only keep trout with a clipped adipose fin.  The cutthroat you are catching are wild and will have all their fins.  Therefore, it would be illegal to keep wild cutthroat caught in that reach of the Salmon River.
11/3/15
A: Yes, a resident may purchase a fishing license and steelhead permit for a nonresident.
10/27/15
A: We plan to stock the Boise River again in 2015 with steelhead trapped at Hells Canyon dam.  Anticipated release date(s) in November will be advertised in the local media and on our webpage.  Stay tuned!!
10/16/15
A: You cannot fish for salmon or steelhead with a confirmation.   You are required to have the permit in hand as it must be notched if you harvest a fish.
10/15/15
A: At this time, it is too early to tell whether there will be steelhead transferred to the Boise River. Normally, the Oxbow Hatchery trap is opened in late October, but that is dependent on the water temperatures in the Snake River. Once the water temperture comes down where fish can be safely ...
10/8/15
A: There are a number of variables that effect when salmon and steelhead arrive in the Stanley Basin.  Flow, temperature and downstream fish passage conditions are the most common environmental conditions that can alter arrival by 2 - 3 weeks. The Stanley area has both spring and summer run Chinook ...
9/24/15
A: Hi there Vaugh, The Yankee Fork is home to several species of fish, including Chinook Salmon, Steelead, Bull Trout, Westslope Cutthroat Trout and Mountain Whitefish. At this time, the populations of salmon and steelhead are very low and no fishing is allowed for those species. Bull Trout and ...
9/18/15
A: Very good question. When we write the rule pamphlets we often don't take into account how they may effect other species and fishing opportunities.  To answer your question, I went to the Administrative Rules section of Idaho Code. For Steelhead, when you reach your daily bag limit, you only need ...
8/29/15
A: The short answer is yes.  Idaho Department of Fish and Game has a long history of monitoring chinook salmon returns to the Middle Fork Salmon River and its tributaries.  In 2014 we estimated 2,607 wild chinook salmon spawned in the Middle Fork Salmon drainage. The longer answer is  standardized ...
7/27/15
A: Call it "Mother Nature's" fail-safe for any event that may effect survival of adult steelhead that arrive in Idaho earlier in the year.  If there is a rain-on-snow event that causes fish mortality or other natural disaster, there still will be late arriving fish to spawn and perpetuate the species ...
6/25/15
A: No.  Fishing for or targeting salmon/steelhead is prohibited unless a steelhead season is specifically opened for that water.    In other words, no salmon/steelhead fishing (including catch/release) is allowed unless there is an open season for that river location.   Steelhead rules can be found ...
6/19/15
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: 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
A: Steelhead destined for Sawtooth Fish Hatchery in the upper Salmon River Basin spend the winter in the main Salmon River, typically below the town of Salmon, Idaho.  As water temperatures and day length begin to increase in mid to late March to mid-April, they will begin the final leg of their ...
2/11/14
A: The only change in our fishing rules that is not listed in the 2013 - 2015 Fishing Rule booklet has to do with a reduction in the bag limit for steelhead on the Clearwater River.  That change is posted on our website (fishandgame.Idaho.gov) in the Fish section and will expire in May.   If we make ...
1/31/14
A: Yes, except when fishing for Chinook salmon (ocean-going), steelhead, or when fishing on Henrys Lake.  Just be aware, if you hook a fish and cause mortality after reaching your bag limit, you could be cited for an over-limit.
1/30/14
A: The reduced bag limit for Clearwater steelhead that was adopted by the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game Commission will remain in effect through the 2014 spring season.  We're hoping to get a large enough return in the fall of 2014 that we can go back to the bag limit in our currently fishing rule ...
1/23/14
A: The ladder counts at the dams don't make a distinction between "A" (steelhead that spend 1 year in the ocean) versus "B" (2 or 3 years in ocean) steelhead.  Estimates on the ratio of A to B steelhead are made at some of the dams based on PIT tag data and random stamping of adults at the ladders ...
1/21/14
A: Provided you catch the steelhead on the Clearwater River and then travel to the Salmon River - this would be legal.  You can't catch two steelhead on the Salmon River and then go fish the Clearwater River because you would be exceeding the bag limit for the Clearwater River.   F08
1/16/14
A: Fish that have been harvested in Oregon can be transported to Idaho.  If stopped by a law enforcement officer, you need to possess a valid Oregon fishing license or a proxy statement from the individual harvesting the fish allowing you to possess the fish.   No transport of live fish can occur ...
1/6/14
A: The spring 2014 steelhead limit on the North Fork Clearwater will remain the same as it was in the fall of 2013.  Hopefully, this will allow us to collect enough brood stock to replunish our hatchery program.   F08
12/31/13
A: The rule that requires heads and tails to remain attached (and that means to the fish fillets). The rule is specific to trout, tiger muskie and bass. The rule insures special size limits, bag limits, and specie identification is easily complied with. Recently this rule was removed from Salmon and ...
12/11/13
A: At this time we are only offering 3 year licenses for hunting, fishing and combination hunting and fishing. Tags and permits are still valid for one (1) calendar year. 
12/11/13
A: No, the 2013-14 run of steelhead returning to Hells Canyon does not contain enough fish to release adults into the reservoirs upstream of the dam.  Hopefully, next years' run will be larger and we can offer steelhead fishing again in the Hells Canyon pool.   F08
11/22/13
A: First, "thank you" for coming to Idaho to hunt and fish.    Sorry about the confusion.  The addition of a three-day fishing license to a nonresident hunting license is new and not all staff understand the rules.   The three-day fishing license does not allow you to purchase a salmon or steelhead ...
11/18/13
A: To allow anglers access to steelhead below Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River, The trap at the dam is not operated prior to November 1.  Once trapping starts, there are obligations for those fish at Idaho Power's Oxbow fish hatchery and in Oregon that must be met prior to transporting fish to the ...
11/17/13
A: Kevin,   Yes, the steelhead derby is on.  Check the following website for details:  http://www.steelheadderby.com/ . The derby must follow all rules set by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.  As a Department, we can not waive size restrictions or increase bag limits, so on the main Clearwater ...
11/13/13
A: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/question/will-any-steelhead-be-released-boise-river-november   And a few updates on this from earlier are currently linked from the front page of our website: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/article/steelhead-boise-river-uncertain
11/6/13
A: This same question was asked a few minutes ago, please refer to this answer: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/question/will-any-steelhead-be-released-boise-river-november
10/28/13
A: We certainly hope so but won't know if we have surplus until early November.  Because of the location of the trap at Hells Canyon Dam (where we trap fish for Oxbow Hatchery),  water temperatures prevent us from using the trap until early November.  Once temperatures cool down, we start trapping ...
10/28/13
A: Steelhead are defined as "rainbow trout that are over 20" in length."  Only hatchery produced steelhead (missing adipose fin) can be harvested during an open season.  If they are over 20", missing their adipose fin, with an open season, and you want to harvest the fish; then it must be recorded on ...
10/21/13
A: You can get a duplicate from any vendor.  Vendors are listed on our website in the License section.
10/15/13
A: As long as you exercise caution when handling the fish and don't cause mortality, you can take a picture with your fall Chinook before releasing.   F08
10/14/13