When you visit Hells Canyon, be prepared for a challenging fishing trip. The Snake River boasts unparalleled biodiversity, and you’re sure to catch something impressive. While the Idaho Department of Fish and Game does allow you to take some of those species home, you must release some others back into the water, like sturgeon.

Why not release all your fish once you’ve caught and photographed them? Learn why catch-and-release is the best fishing method and try it for yourself.

Increased Reproduction

It’s common sense: if you throw a fish back after reeling it in, it survives the experience and can continue living its fishy lifestyle. That includes procreating! The more fish that swim healthily in the river, the more babies they can have. When more anglers practice catch-and-release, the river can maintain a bountiful supply of fish for future anglers to catch and release.


Overfishing is a serious concern in American waters. While the Idaho Fish and Game Department stocks trout hatcheries every season, the environment should ideally sustain itself as much as possible.

Releasing your catches back into the river helps maintain the area’s ecosystem and lessens the human impact on the environment.

Courtesy to Others

When you use proper handling to release your catches, you give future fishing enthusiasts the opportunity to have a productive day. You help make sure there are enough fish for everyone. When you’re releasing your catches, future anglers on their own Hells Canyon fishing trips can have just as good a day as you did!

“Friendship” Opportunities

When you make a habit of catch-and-release fishing, expect to see familiar fish on your line. It’s not uncommon for catch-and-release fishing enthusiasts to catch the same fish more than once! Many species like rainbow trout have distinct enough markings that you’ll be able to recognize them. Feel truly at one with nature by recognizing and respectfully interacting with the animals through ethical methods like catch and release.

The Snake River in Hells Canyon and the nearby Salmon River are home to dozens of species of fish. Explore new ways to interact with Mother Nature by gently releasing her creatures back into the river. Why is catch-and-release the best form of fishing? It’s peaceful yet productive, and exhilarating yet kind.