Outdoors blog

Idaho anglers asked to distinguish salmon, steelhead

Sara Wiemerslage with her 33-inch hatchery steelhead caught on the Salmon River near Riggins, Idaho, with fishing guide Brent Sawyer on Sunday March 6, 2011. (Exodus Wilderness Adventures)
Sara Wiemerslage with her 33-inch hatchery steelhead caught on the Salmon River near Riggins, Idaho, with fishing guide Brent Sawyer on Sunday March 6, 2011. (Exodus Wilderness Adventures)

FISHING -- Idaho Fish and Game officials just posted this notice to holders of three-day salmon-steelhead permits fishing in waters and at times when steelhead and chinook salmon both are present and can be caught and kept:

Differentiate harvest of the two species on your permits.

The three-day permits are valid for both salmon and steelhead, and anglers get only the single permit. The intent with the three-day permit has been that it could be used for the salmon season or the steelhead season. Those two seasons usually don’t overlap, and only one species was recorded on a permit for the three days fished.

Read on for more details.

With the advent of the fall Chinook salmon fishery, it is possible for an angler to land and keep Chinook salmon or steelhead during September and October in the lower Clearwater and Snake rivers. The present three-day permit must be modified to allow anglers to distinguish between the two kinds of fish when they are harvested and punched on their permits.

So three-day permit holders are asked to add an “S” for steelhead or a “C" for Chinook to the front of the location code they enter on their tags.

For example, an angler who harvests a Chinook salmon on the lower Clearwater downstream of the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge would enter “C03” in the location code box of a three day salmon-steelhead permit, whereas an angler who harvests a steelhead in the same waters would enter “S03.”

The distinction is important because bag and possession limits are different for the two species. Proper distinction on the permit helps anglers track their harvest of the two species with respect to the different limits.

Three-day salmon-steelhead permit holders fishing in waters or at times when only one species may be legally caught and kept do not need to enter a species code in front of the location code on their permit.

Only steelhead and Chinook salmon with a clipped adipose fin, evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept. Any that have an intact adipose fin must be released




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Rich Landers
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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