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Fall Steelhead Season To Close Early On Clearwater River

Roger Phillips
Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Idaho Fish and Game is shutting down steelhead fishing early this fall on the Clearwater and Snake rivers at the end of this month, which outfitters say will hurt.

Idaho Fish and Game Commissioners made the call to end the fall season Friday – a step the state hasn’t taken since the 70s.

A little more than 1,100 steelhead have crossed through the Bonneville Dam since Thursday, which is on track to be one of the lowest returns on record.

Kip Fry works for The Guide Shop, a fishing outfitter just outside of Orofino. He says it’s going to “crush” the company’s business.

“We have people coming from back east, we have people coming from Colorado and gonna have to tell them that we don’t have a steelhead fishery,” Fry said.

The fall steelhead season makes up the bulk of their business. Fry says no one has called to cancel a reservation, but there are few other options as exciting as landing a big fish.

“You can go fish for bass or troll for some trout or whatever, but once you start seeing fish that are 32-plus inches long, that’s why people come here,” he said.

Anglers can still go after steelhead on the Salmon River, but they’re limited to one fish a day.

During the same meeting, commissioners also approved a Coho salmon season effective immediately.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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