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Idaho Fish & Game gives anglers an early Christmas present by stocking steelhead in the Boise River

Posted at 5:09 PM, Nov 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-18 19:09:20-05

Idaho Fish and Game released 125 steelhead in five different locations in the Boise River, it's something they have done every year except one since 1997.

This release gives anglers a chance to reel in this monster of a fish and fishermen waited hours for the truck from the Idaho Fish and Game to arrive, that includes Kirk Smith who came from Riggins to fish in the Boise River.

"When you catch one, you know you got a big fish on," said Smith. "It’s that fight, that adrenaline so it is pretty cool."

However, this type of fishing is a little different they refer to it as combat fishing as people need to work together with dozens of anglers crowded next to each other not trying to snag each others lines.

"Sometimes this gets a bad wrap, yeah you are really close to people but one guy bought me hot chocolate this morning and gave me some lures," said Casey Smith who came from Star. "I don’t know any of these people so it is really cool to meet new people and I think it is just a great experience."

The Idaho Fish and Game Department partners with Idaho Power on a mitigation program to help salmon and steelhead on the Snake River.

These fish come from Oxbow Hatchery, every year this partnership attempts to help steelhead make their migration to the ocean and back, the fish that get trapped by the dams become are used to make more fish in the hatchery and the ones not used in the broodstock go to Native American tribes and sport fisheries like the Boise River.

"Thank you to Idaho Fish and Game, you guys are the true heroes because for people who don’t get the opportunity to go up to Riggins or Washington it is just an incredible opportunity," said Kirk Smith.

If you want to fish for steelhead in the Boise River you need a license and a steelhead tag, but for the anglers who showed up on Friday and caught this large trout it was an opportunity they really appreciated.

"I’ve been fishing since I was five and for me there are so many things to think about when you are fishing," said Casey Smith who caught a steelhead. "The last thing you are thinking about are the problems and the things going on in your life, it’s an escape, you don’t go to find yourself, you go to lose yourself."

Anglers have a limit of two per day and 20 for the season, Idaho Fish and Game advises anglers that the steelhead they dropped off are missing their adipose fin, the small fin found behind the dorsal fin.