Spring steelhead season opens New Year’s Day

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For some anglers the best thing about New Year’s is the start of the spring steelhead season, which opens January 1 on parts of the Clearwater, Salmon, Little Salmon, Snake and Boise rivers.

But before wetting a line, anglers will need a 2017 Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit.

River sections to open include 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 and Boise River from its mouth to the Barber Dam.

The steelhead limit is three per day, nine in possession and 20 for the season. Once limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing, even catch and release. Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks and may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin. All other steelhead must be released unharmed immediately.

Steelhead are in the Boise River and the Snake River above Hells Canyon Dam only when stocked by Idaho Fish and Game. During November, over 300 steelhead were stocked in the Boise River. A steelhead permit is required to fish for and keep steelhead (rainbow trout longer than 20 inches with a clipped adipose fin). Barbless hooks are not required on the Boise River.

Consult Idaho’s 2016-2018 Fishing Seasons and Rules brochure for exceptions and special restrictions.

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