Outdoors

Idaho salmon, steelhead harvest seasons opening - up to 6 kings a day!


Gregg Bingaman of Meridian, left, and Brent Gould of Nampa, right, display a pair of hatchery steelhead from the Clearwater River near Orofino, Idaho, in this October 2004 photo. 
 (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Gregg Bingaman of Meridian, left, and Brent Gould of Nampa, right, display a pair of hatchery steelhead from the Clearwater River near Orofino, Idaho, in this October 2004 photo. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)

FISHING — The steelhead harvest season and the fall chinook season open on Idaho rivers on Thursday.  The eye-catching news it that the limit on fin-clipped adult fall chinook is six a day!

Read on for the season details for chinook and steelhead from Idaho Fish and Game.

Fall Chinook Season Opens

Fall Chinook salmon seasons open September 1 in the Snake River from the Washington-Idaho border upstream to Hells Canyon Dam and in the Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to the Memorial Bridge.

The season runs until October 31 or further notice:

  • The Snake River is divided into four management sections:
  • From the Washington-Idaho border upstream to the Bridge Street Bridge – the Blue Bridge.
  • From Bridge Street upstream to the Oregon-Washington border.
  • From the Oregon-Washington border upstream to the mouth of Sheep Creek
  • From the Mouth of Sheep Creek up stream to Hells Canyon Dam.
  • The Clearwater River:
  • From its mouth upstream to the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge.

Salmon anglers may keep six adult fall Chinook daily. The field possession limit is 18 adult fall Chinook. There is no limit on the total number of adult fall Chinook an angler may keep during the fall season. An adult Chinook is 24 or more inches in total length, and only Chinook with a clipped adipose fin may be kept.

The season is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There are no daily, possession or season limits on fall Chinook jacks, but only jacks with a clipped adipose fin may be kept. Anglers must have a valid permit to fish for salmon, but they are not required to record the jacks on their permits.

New rules that took effect August 1 allow anglers to transport anadromous salmon and steelhead without the head and tail attached – but only under a number of conditions:

  • The fish must be recorded on the angler’s salmon or steelhead permit.
  • The processed fish must have the skin attached, including the portion with a healed, clipped adipose fin scar.
  • It must be packaged in a way that the number of harvested fish can be determined.
  • The fish must be processed ashore when the angler is done fishing for the day.
  • No processed salmon or steelhead may be transported by boat.
  • No jack salmon may be processed in the field.
  • Processed salmon or steelhead count toward an angler’s possession limit while in the field or in transit.

This rule applies to fall Chinook and steelhead fishing, this fall.

Fall Steelhead Harvest Season Opens

The Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers open for steelhead harvest September 1.

The limits on these waters are three per day and nine in possession.

The steelhead harvest season on the lower Clearwater River opened August 1, on a two-mile stretch of the lower Clearwater River from its mouth to the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge near Lewiston. The daily limit is two fish with six in possession.

Anglers may keep 20 steelhead for the fall season, which ends December 31. Only steelhead, defined as rainbow trout longer than 20 inches, with a clipped adipose fin, evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept.

Upstream of the Memorial Bridge, steelhead fishing in the Clearwater is limited to catch-and-release until October 15. That’s when the fall harvest season opens on the main stem of the Clearwater River above the Memorial Bridge, the South Fork Clearwater River, the North Fork Clearwater River below Dworshak Dam, and the Middle Fork Clearwater River below Clear Creek all open to steelhead harvest.

The limits on these waters are two per day and six in possession.

Fish and Game expects another good steelhead run this year and reminds anglers to look for the clipped adipose fin indicating the fish is legal to be kept. Any steelhead that has an unclipped adipose fin cannot be kept and must immediately be released unharmed.




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Rich Landers

Rich Landers’ Outdoors blog


Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.


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