Idaho Fish & Game Updates: Steelhead in the Boise & Fall Chinook on the Snake

idaho-fish-gameBelow are a couple of new press releases from Idaho Fish & Game department.

Fish and Game to Stock Steelhead in the Boise River (10/26/09)

Forget the traditional Thanksgiving turkey dinner this year; fresh, smoked steelhead might be on the menu after the big fish are released into the Boise River over the next few weeks.

If steelhead return to Oxbow Hatchery on the Snake River as forecast, Fish and Game anticipates stocking 300 or more of the big fish in the Boise River from Glenwood Bridge to Barber Park the afternoon of Thursday October 29.

Should the run remain strong, additional fish may be released in subsequent weeks.

“We’re hopeful that this year’s hatchery steelhead run will easily allow Oxbow Hatchery personnel to fill their brood stock needs,” said Sam Sharr, Fish and Game anadromous fish coordinator. “Any additional hatchery fish collected at the fish trap will be divided among Idaho Fish and Game, the Nez Perce Indian Tribe and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.”

Besides a fishing license, anglers hoping to tangle with one of the 4- to 10-pound hatchery steelhead need a $12.75 steelhead permit, good for 40 fish.

Though required in other steelhead waters, barbless hooks are not required for Boise River steelhead angling.

All steelhead stocked in the Boise River will lack an adipose fin – the small fin normally found immediately behind the dorsal fin. Boise River anglers catching a rainbow trout longer than 20 inches that lacks an adipose fin should consider the fish a steelhead. Any steelhead caught by an angler not holding a steelhead permit must immediately be returned to the water.

Steelhead limits on the Boise River are three fish per day, nine in possession, and 40 for the fall season.

The fish are A-run hatchery steelhead, returning to the Idaho Power Co.-owned Oxbow Hatchery fish trap below Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River. Many of the returning steelhead will become part of the ongoing steelhead hatchery program at Oxbow Hatchery as part of Idaho Power’s mitigation.

“We are happy to collaborate with Idaho Fish and Game this year to bring steelhead to Treasure Valley anglers,” said Paul Abbott, Idaho Power biologist. “The best thing about this program is that it eliminates the need for folks to travel to the Snake or Salmon rivers to catch steelhead. Boise anglers will have the opportunity to test their skills right in their own backyard.”

For information about the Boise River steelhead release, contact the Fish and Game in Nampa at 208-465-8465 or check the Website at

Fall Chinook Harvest Season Closed (10/26/09)

Salmon fishing in Idaho will be over for the year when the fall Chinook harvest season on the Snake River ends Saturday, October 31.

The season opened September 1 on the Snake River between Lewiston and Hells Canyon Dam. As of October 18, anglers had caught 105 marked adult and 514 jack fall Chinook in the Snake River, for a total of 619 fish. Hatchery-origin fish are marked with a clipped adipose fin.

This year more than 15,000 adult fall Chinook and more than 40,000 jacks crossed Lower Granite Dam, most of them returning to the Snake River upstream of Lewiston. The adult return is lower that the pre-season forecast, but the jack return is the largest ever counted at Lower Granite Dam.

The fall Chinook run in the Snake River was protected as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act in 1992.

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