Ask Fish & Game

Ask Fish and Game is for general questions.

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Displaying 51 - 100 of 141 questions
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A: The weir will be installed the week of March 17 with trapping set to being on March 24.
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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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.
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 ...
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 ( in the Fish section and will expire in May.   If we make ...
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.
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 ...
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 ...
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
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 ...
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
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 ...
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. 
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
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 ...
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 ...
A: Kevin,   Yes, the steelhead derby is on.  Check the following website for details: . 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 ...
A:   And a few updates on this from earlier are currently linked from the front page of our website:
A: This same question was asked a few minutes ago, please refer to this answer:
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 ...
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 ...
A: You can get a duplicate from any vendor.  Vendors are listed on our website in the License section.
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
A: The proportion of wild fall Chinook that returned to the Snake, Salmon and Clearwater systems was a "good news/bad news" story.  The "good news" was we had a record fall Chinook return to Idaho.  More "good news" was a large portion of the fish were wild.  The "bad news" was that we didn't have ...
A: First, on the fire situation in Custer County.  None of the significant fires experienced by Idaho in the summer of 2013 prompted closures in the Salmon/Custer County area.  There have been closures in other parts of the state but the area where your son is hunting was spared.   Ok, our 3-day ...
A: There are no set fishing hours for steelhead, so you could fish 24 hours per day.  The only species of fish with set fishing hours are anadromous Chinook Salmon.  Check annually for Chinook seasons, usually set by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission in March or April, for the listed fishing hours.
A: Game Fish: Brook, brown, bull, cutthroat, golden, lake (Mackinaw), rainbow (including steelhead), splake and Sunapee trout; trout hybrids; Chinook, coho, Atlantic, and kokanee (blueback) salmon; grayling; whitefish; cisco; crappie; perch; bass; catfish; bullhead; sunfish; sturgeon; northern pike; ...
A: The answer is no.  In Idaho, specific wording in code makes it illegal to fish catch-and-release for anadromous (ocean-going) salmon or steelhead if there is not a defined season. 
A: Yes, you can use roe or any other bait in a steelhead catch-and-release season.  You also must use a barbless hook and immediately release any steelhead that are caught.
A: The Chinook carcass needs to be kept as cool as possible to discourage bacteria growth.  When you are done fishing for the day and your fish is recorded on your Salmon permit, you can:  remove the head and tail provided the skin of the fish remains attached to the flesh including a portion from a ...
A: There is a three-day salmon/steelhead permit that costs $37.50 and there is a three-day small game license that costs $35.50.  We also have a daily fishing license that would cost $12.75 for the first plus $6.00 for each additional day.  
A: There are no rules that require you to stop legally using two-poles (with a two-pole permit) when you are within one fish of your bag limit. Yes, technically you may exceed your bag limit by hooking two fish at the same time, but, realistically your odds of that happening are extremely low.  If by ...
A: As long as you have the two-pole permit you can fish with two poles until your limit is reached.  You don't have to stop using two poles when you only have one more fish left to make your limit.  Two poles can be used for steelhead, Chinook and trout fishing.
A: The requirement that rainbow trout must have heads and tails attached while in transit is due to the fact that there are some fisheries with length restrictions on harvested fish.  Examples would be lake trout from Payette Lake (none over 30"); So. Fork Snake River brown trout harvest (2 over 16 ...
A: As of late April of 2013, online purchasers can print some licenses and permits BUT not others.  In this specific case, the hunting and fishing combo license can be printed by the purchaser.  The steelhead permit cannot. Here is more specific information: Some - but not all - licenses and tags can ...
A: The physiological changes anadromous fish (fish that migrate from freshwater to saltwater and return to freshwater to reproduce) are remarkable and still not fully understood.  As the fish go through the "smolting" process they change their osmotic balancing features which includes their digestive ...
A: They were released in November last year (2012).  If we have enough to release in 2013, it won't be until November.
A: Hi and thanks for your inquiry/suggestion.    We do have broodstock collection targets for the facilities listed on the “Cumulative Steelhead Hatchery Returns” page (they are listed below); however, using these targets to gauge the status of the run is problematic because most of fish returning to ...
A: Steelhead are rainbow trout longer than 20 inches in length in the Snake River drainage below Hells Canyon Dam, the Salmon River drainage (excluding lakes and the Pahsimeroi and Lemhi rivers), and the Clearwater River drainage (excluding that portion above Dworshak Dam and lakes). Rainbow trout ...
A: Steelhead information is on our website at
A: Yes, freshwater mussels can be used for fish bait.  In Idaho, there are no limits or restrictions on harvesting mussels.  Once mussels are removed from their shells, they cannot survive, so they are not considered "live" bait.
A: Methods of Take (Steelhead) • Only single-pointed barbless hooks are allowed when fishing for steelhead in the South Fork Clearwater River. • No person shall kill or retain in possession any steelhead which has been hooked other than in the mouth or jaw. Any steelhead hooked other than in the ...
A: Yes, they can. 
A: The count started inb late February. Counts of adult hatchery and natural steelhead to date are as follows:       2013 Pahsimeroi Weir  Counts   AdultsSteelhead Trapped Date Hatchery Natural Total 25-Feb     2 26-Feb       27-Feb       28-Feb       1-Mar 6   6 2-Mar       3-Mar       4-Mar 15 1 16 ...
A: We only stock steelhead in the Boise River around Thanksgiving.  We will announce the specific dates in November.
A: We try keeping fish hatchery return information up-to-date for all our facilities.  When things get busy or with holiday weekends, information could be a day or two, late.    F08
A:   It is legal to catch them but they must be released or killed:   Game Fish: Brook, brown, bull, cutthroat, golden, lake (Mackinaw), rainbow (including steelhead), splake and Sunapee trout; trout hybrids; Chinook, coho, Atlantic, and kokanee (blueback) salmon; grayling; whitefish; cisco; ...
A: Anglers 14 and older must have a fishing license and if they are fishing for steelhead, they must also get a steelhead permit.