A permit that allows steelhead fishing in Idaho waters was issued to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game last week, which means two more river stretches are now open for steelhead fishing.
According to Mike Demick, Fish and Game easement specialist in Salmon, federal reauthorization for a steelhead fishing season in Idaho was granted on March 15. Fish and Game personnel opened the Main Salmon River between Warren Creek and the Copper Mine boat ramp and the South Fork of the Clearwater River upstream of the Mount Idaho grade bridge to steelhead fishing that same day.
The permit authorizing steelhead fishing in Idaho was issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which had been reviewing the state’s permit application for years but had allowed fishing to occur without a permit until last fall. In response to the threat of litigation over the absence of a permit, the steelhead fishing season was temporarily suspended last fall before all the parties reached an agreement to allow fishing to continue until the federal agency took action on the permit request.
Now the federal permit is in place, Fish and Game personnel can set seasons as needed.
Bag limits remain in place for steelhead anglers, Demick said. Anglers can keep one steelhead daily in the Salmon, Little Salmon, Main Clearwater, Middle Fork Clearwater, North Fork Clearwater and the Snake River from the Washington state line upstream to the Dug Bar boat ramp.
Two steelhead can be kept in the South Fork Clearwater River and the Snake River from the Dug Bar boat ramp to Hells Canyon Dam.
In anticipation of the arrival of anglers, Sawtooth National Recreation Area officials plan to open the Mormon Bend and Salmon River campgrounds this weekend. The two campgrounds are downriver from Stanley near popular fishing areas. The nightly camping fee is $5. No water or trash collection will be available, but restrooms will be open.