Hells Canyon is home to some of the best fishing in Idaho. The Snake River alone boasts hundreds of hidden fishing goldmines! But be smart when you fish. No matter where you are, you should know what permits you need and what the limitations are. Before you cast your first line, read up on these fishing regulations in Hells Canyon to be aware of.

Regional Regulations

Hells Canyon, home of the best salmon fishing in Idaho, lies within the Clearwater region. If you take advantage of one of our guided fishing tours, our experienced guides will take you to some of the best fishing spots we’ve seen. For a handy rundown of the state’s fishing regulations broken down by region, pick up Idaho’s Fishing Seasons & Rules booklet. It’s available in print at most sporting goods stores statewide, perfect for stashing with your fishing gear. Many specific fishing holes and streams also have their own regulations.

Who Needs Licenses?

Any fishing enthusiast aged 14 or older needs a valid general fishing license, available for purchase from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (either online or in person). Idaho state residents under the age of 14 do not need a general fishing license, but they have a lower limit for how many fish they can bag. Someone with a valid fishing license must accompany any non-Idaho resident under 14. Any fish the child catches will be included in the license-holder’s bag limit.

If you’re fishing for salmon or steelhead or using two poles at once, you’ll need a specialized fishing permit. Contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to pursue special permits.

Regulations by Fish

How many fish can you catch in Hells Canyon, and how many can you bring home? Let’s look at the most popular catches in the area:

  • Steelhead: Defined as any rainbow trout longer than 20 inches in length, targeted steelhead fishing is prohibited unless steelhead season is open for your chosen body of water.
  • Salmon: Targeted salmon fishing is also prohibited unless salmon season is open in the region you’d like to target.
  • Bass: Catch and keep as many as you’d like in streams and rivers. If you’re on a lake or reservoir, don’t keep more than six.
  • Sturgeon: Catch and release only! Don’t take any home with you.
  • Trout: In rivers and streams, you are only allowed two, and they must be under 40 inches long. You must catch and release bull trout.

As you pack your gear to do some salmon fishing in Idaho, make sure you know the rules of the rivers so that you can follow them correctly. Let River Adventures guide you toward the best fishing in the region, and remember these fishing regulations in Hells Canyon to be aware of as you cast your line.