Ask Fish & Game

Ask Fish and Game is for general questions.
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Displaying 101 - 165 of 165 questions
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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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: The person who hooks (sets the hook) the fish must record it on their permit.
6/13/14
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 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: We recently answered a question very similar to yours. Please let us know if this doesn't answer your question.
1/15/15
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Yes, a resident may purchase a fishing license and steelhead permit for a nonresident.
10/27/15
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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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