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Sunday, October 25, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Steelhead fishing tips for staying ‘legal’

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)
STEELHEAD FISHING -- Catching a steelhead on the Snake or Clearwater rivers is a lot more fun when the experience isn't marred by getting a ticket.  Here are some reminders to keep your fishing a memorable experience:
  • Make sure you have a valid fishing license and steelhead permit.
  • Pinch barbs on hooks.
  • Record catch-and-keep on steelhead cards.
  • Immediately release steelhead that haven’t had their adipose fin clipped (hatchery steelhead are marked by having their fin clipped).
  • Know the difference between a steelhead and a salmon. If the fish you caught has black gum lines and a black tongue, it’s a fall chinook salmon. Check rules carefully about the potential for keeping salmon in limited seasons.


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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