STANLEY -- For some anglers, the best thing about New Year's Day is the start of Idaho's spring steelhead season.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game said the spring steelhead season will open Jan. 1 on:
The season runs through April 30 in most areas, with these exceptions:
- 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. 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.
Steelhead are in the Boise River only when stocked by Fish and Game. In the Boise River, steelhead are defined as rainbow trout longer than 20 inches with a clipped adipose fin. During November, more than 300 steelhead were stocked in the Boise River. Barbless hooks are not required in the Boise, but anglers must have a steelhead permit to fish for and keep steelhead.
- 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.
Everywhere, steelhead anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit. Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks (except in the Boise) and may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin. All other steelhead must be released unharmed.
The statewide steelhead limits for the spring 2016 season are three per day, nine in possession, and 20 steelhead for the season.
Information on steelhead fishing including the latest catch rates, seasons and rules, dam counts and instructional videos: Fishandgame.idaho.gov/fish/steelhead.
Spring Steelhead Season Opens New Year's Day
Twin Times-News, December 31, 2015
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