Idaho officials suspend steelhead season in face of lawsuit

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Idaho wildlife officials have decided to suspend the current steelhead fishing season due to a possible federal lawsuit by six conservation groups contending the state’s steelhead regulations harm wild steelhead.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Wednesday voted to end the current season Dec. 7.

Idaho Rivers United, Friends of the Clearwater and other groups in a notice of their intent to sue last month say Idaho doesn’t have an approved Fisheries Management and Evaluation Plan to allow steelhead fishing.

State officials say they applied for such a plan with the Fisheries Division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after the plan expired in 2010, but haven’t yet received one.

State officials say if the state’s plan is reauthorized, steelhead fishing could reopen in the spring.