FISHING -- The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has voted to rescind the 28-inch length restriction on the Clearwater River.
This rule change became effective at 10 a.m. today (March 20, 2014). As such, the steelhead rules for the entire Clearwater River basin (where open) are now:
- A daily limit of 1 steelhead
- A possession limit of 2 steelhead
- No length restriction are in effect in any of the open waters.
- Refer to the Steelhead rules for specific area closures and restriction to steelhead fishing (these have not changed).
According to Joe Dupont, Idaho Fish and Game Department regional fisheries manager in Lewiston, the Commission last fall approved a restriction on the length of Steelhead (none > 28 inches) that could be harvested in the Clearwater River downstream of Orofino Bridge and in the North Fork Clearwater River.
"The length restriction was implemented to protect larger 2-ocean fish that are needed for hatchery brood stock," he said. "Run-size updates at that time indicated a very poor return of 2-ocean Steelhead to the Clearwater River. A reduction in the limit (daily limit of 1 fish) was also implemented in all waters in the Clearwater River basin that were open to Steelhead fishing.""Steelhead spawning is now mostly complete at Dworshak National Fish Hatchery and managers there believe that Steelhead in excess of those needed to meet egg-take objectives are available for harvest. For this reason, the Commission decided to remove the length restriction on Steelhead that can be harvested in the Clearwater River downstream of Orofino Bridge and the North Fork Clearwater River. The one fish daily limit still applies."
The commission also is adopting fishing seasons, which will be reported on Friday.