IDAHO — Idaho Fish and Game is calling on all anglers for their help for their steelhead broodstock program going on now through April.
It is a great opportunity to get outside, catch steelhead, and replenish the South Fork Clearwater River's steelhead population.
“The broodstock is the parents that are going to produce the next generation of offspring right, so we need x amount of adult to produce x amount of juveniles to release,” said Don Whitney, IDFG biologist in charge of the program.
That's why IDFG is asking for volunteer anglers to help them collect adult steelhead in the South Fork Clearwater River.
“We are trying to collect 281 females, so you can use males more than one time, but we need 281 females," said Whitney. "281 pairs are ideal rather than reusing a male."
They rely on anglers, so they don't have to use traps to catch the fish.
This also allows the steelhead to reach site fidelity.
"it is kind of like I know where I am supposed to go because this is where my parents are from, and most of them have really high site fidelity," said Whitney. "So wherever their parents come from or where they swim out as a juvenile, even after going out to the ocean, they are going to come back to that specific drainage."
More fish returning to the South Fork means more opportunities for anglers.
"The fish are number one meant for broodstock and two for sport fishing," said Whitney.
But, without these volunteers that come from all over the U.S. and country to help, that wouldn't happen.
“If the department went out there and tried to angle the broodstock necessary for this program, I could tell you it wouldn’t happen,” said Whitney.
Anyone can participate in the program.
All you have to do is show up to the South Fork Clearwater River ready to fish and IDFG employees will help you with the rest.
“The more, the merrier,” said Whitney. "We will give the anglers the scoop, distribute the holding tubes, and get them signed up as a volunteer. Then, really all it takes from the angler is to get into the river, and having some knowledge of catching steelhead is a benefit too."
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