Idaho Fish & Game Raises Steelhead Limits

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Wednesday, September 30, raised the bag, possession and season limit for the fallidaho-fish-game 2009 and spring 2010 steelhead seasons in the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers.

The daily limits, effective October 2 until further notice, for steelhead trout is five, of which no more than three may be 32 or more inches in total length. The possession limit is 15, no more than nine may be 32 or more inches long.

The statewide limits in the fall and spring seasons is 40 steelhead in each, but no more than 20 of those may be caught in the Clearwater River drainage in each season. Anglers who have a permit with reported harvest from the spring 2009 season may purchase a second permit to catch their fall season limit of 40 fish.

Fishery managers estimate the return of steelhead over Lower Granite Dam this fall will be considerably larger than the previous high return of about 250,000 fish in 2001. More than 155,000 fish in this large return will return are A-run hatchery fish destined for the Snake River, the Little Salmon River and in the Upper Salmon River.

Affected waters are:

Snake River
o        Washington-Idaho border to the Salmon River
o        Salmon River to Hells Canyon Dam

Salmon River
o        Downstream from Whitebird Creek
o        Whitebird Creek to Little Salmon River
o        Little Salmon River to Vinegar Creek
o        Vinegar Creek to South Fork Salmon River
o        South Fork Salmon River to Middle Fork Salmon River
o        Middle Fork Salmon River to North Fork Salmon River
o        North Fork Salmon River to Lemhi River
o        Lemhi River to Pahsimeroi River
o        Pahsimeroi River to East Fork Salmon River
o        East Fork Salmon to Sawtooth Weir

Little Salmon River

In contrast to the abundant A-run returns, B-run steelhead returns to Idaho are lower than forecasted. Most of the harvestable hatchery B-run fish are destined for the Clearwater River drainage. The fall season limit in the Clearwater drainage will remain at 20 fish. The daily bag limit is two fish and the possession limit six.

All anglers must have a valid 2009 Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit. Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks, and may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin, as evidenced by a healed scar. All other steelhead must be released unharmed immediately.

Anglers should check the 2008-2009 fishing rules book for details on steelhead fishing. For more information on steelhead fishing in Idaho, check the Fish and Game Website http://fishandgame.idaho.gov

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