IDFG’s Fishing Rules, Management Plans, and Steelhead update
By angelamontana

Posted: September 11, 2018

Fishing Rules 2019-2021 – your chance to comment!!

You can view and comment on rule proposals by clicking on this link:  IDFG fishing rule proposals.   Once at this site, you can comment on rule proposals from the Salmon Region as well as all the other Regions across the state. You can also provide comments directly to me either by phone, email, or in person.  The Salmon Region will be holding an open house on September 19th from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at our office in Salmon to talk about the rule proposals in more detail, or any other fisheries questions or comments you may have.

Fisheries Management Plan 2019-2024

IDFG is also seeking comments on the updated draft of the Fisheries Management Plan.  This plan guides the statewide fisheries management priorities, as well as sport fishing and conservation goals.  This is a large document (you can download the entire thing – link below), but it’s also broken down into smaller pieces (statewide programs, anadromous fisheries, hatcheries, etc. as well as regions/drainages) with major changes highlighted. Please comment on the areas and issues important to you. You can comment on the Fisheries Management Plan here.

Steelhead season update

Many of you that have been following the steelhead run are already aware that things are not looking good. Earlier this summer, the steelhead run returning to the Columbia/Snake River Basin was forecast at 182,400 at Bonneville Dam – steelhead have not been showing up as predicted and the forecast was recently downgraded by 48% to 96,500. A couple of weeks ago, Oregon and Washington closed harvest of steelhead on the Columbia River from the mouth to the Idaho/Washington border. Currently, steelhead numbers are well below average, and are looking similar to last years’ return (see figures below).

Daily steelhead counts over Bonneville Dam (black line = 10yr average, blue line = 2017, orange line = 2018).

Idaho hatchery steelhead over Bonneville dam (2009 – 2017; 2018 through 9/10/18).

Based on these numbers, IDFG recently reduced the daily bag limit of steelhead across the state to 1-fish. For the complete press release, click here. This rule change will be in effect until October 14th. IDFG staff will continue to monitor the run and revisit the steelhead rules in early October.

Obviously this isn’t the situation any of us want to be in, but it’s reality. In the past we have seen steelhead numbers rebound after low run years, and hopefully that happens sooner rather than later.

As always, feel free to contact me with any questions, and please comment on the proposed rule changes and fish management plan in the links above.

(By Greg Schoby-IDFG)