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Tue., Jan. 7, 2014, 7:45 a.m.

Idaho winter-spring steelhead seasons underway

Neither the fishing rods nor the fish
Neither the fishing rods nor the fish "dispatcher" have been getting much down time on Paolino's boat during this fishing season with a record run of steelhead moving up the Snake River. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)

FISHING -- Although it's a misnomer, Idaho's "spring" steelhead fishing season opened Jan. 1, continuing the season that started in the fall with a few twists.

Most important, you need a new fishing license.

While we're on that topic, be aware of the differences among the states.

  • Idaho's 2013 fishing license expired Dec. 31.
  • Montana's 2013-14 license expires Feb. 28.
  • Washington's 2013-14 license expires March 31.

 Meantime, Idaho's "spring" steelhead season is open on the:

  • Salmon River from its mouth to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream of the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery weir, near the town of Stanley.
  • Little Salmon River from its mouth to the U.S. Highway 95 Bridge near Smokey Boulder Road.
  • Snake River from the Washington state line at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers upstream to Oxbow Dam.
  • Clearwater River mainstem and Middle Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to Clear Creek.
  • North Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to Dworshak Dam.
  • South Fork Clearwater River from its mouth to the confluence of American and Red Rivers.
  • Boise River from its mouth to the Barber Dam.

The season runs through April 30 in most areas, except:

  • On the Salmon River from Lake Creek Bridge to Long Tom Creek, about a quarter mile upstream of the Middle Fork, the season ends March 31.
  • On the Little Salmon River, the season runs through May 15.
  • On the Snake River from Hells Canyon Dam to Oxbow Dam, the season runs through May 31.
  • On the Boise River upstream to Barber Dam, the season ends May 31.


The steelhead limits for the spring 2014 season on the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon are three hatchery-marked fish per day and nine in possession. The limits in the Clearwater drainage are one fish per day and two in possession. In addition, in the North Fork Clearwater River and the Clearwater River downstream of the Orofino Bridge only steelhead 28 inches or less in total length may be kept.

The statewide limit for the spring season is 20 steelhead. Once limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing, even catch-and-release.

See more details in the 2013-15 Fishing Regulations pamphlet on the Idaho Fish and Game Website.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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