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Will steelhead be stocked in the Boise River? We will know in early November

Every fall (and as early as late summer) phones start ringing at Idaho Fish and Game offices with anglers asking the same question: When are you stocking steelhead in the Boise River? The short answer is we don’t know yet when, or if, it will occur because we’re waiting to see how many fish return to the trap at Hells Canyon Dam. 

Fisheries managers expect to open the fish trap on Nov. 2. Fish and Game needs to trap about 600 steelhead to replenish hatcheries with fertilized eggs. If there are more than 600 steelhead trapped, which is possible this fall, the surplus fish are divided evenly between Idaho, Oregon and tribal fisheries. 

Last year was rare because it was an extremely low steelhead return, and there were not enough steelhead to bring any to the Boise River. This year's run is looking better, and fisheries managers are hopeful. 

After the trap is opened in early November, and if fish become available, managers will schedule and publicize stocking dates for the Boise River, which traditionally have occurred before Thanksgiving. 

Anglers who would like to be directly notified can sign up for Fish and Game’s email newsletters at