ClearwaterSteelheadWild steelhead and salmon are unknowingly being killed by catch and release fisherman.  Last year while fly fishing the Clearwater river with friends in just one week we saw two steelhead drug up on the bank and pinned down then passed around for photos; two others were held up by the gills; and three were netted, brought into the boat where they were subdued before being passed around for photos with everyone in the boat.  Those fish swam away when released so people think they’re fine but the research shows that many of those fish will die hours later.

Washington and Oregon have made changes to their regulations to emphasize proper fish handling.  Tell Idaho Fish and Game they need to do the same by filling out their online Angler Input form.  Act quickly because the window for public comment is only open through the end of April March 22, 2015.  Here is a suggested comment, to get you started.


Please help protect our wild steelhead and salmon by adding language to the fishing regulations to promote proper fish handling. Wild steelhead and salmon should be kept in the water and not drug up on the bank.

You can help wild steelhead and salmon by handling them with care. Don’t drag them up on the bank or bring them into the boat where they can flop around and bang their head.  Keep them in the water as much as possible.  For more details on how fish handling impacts mortality, see these great articles.


  1. TU Fish Handling Stress Summary
  2. You May Be Killing Steelhead And Not Even Know It
  3. Native Fish Society Keep ‘Em Wet Campaign


Thanks for your support, and remember. If they’re wild, KEEP ‘EM WET!

Troy Pearse

Boise, ID



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