TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) Hatchery steelhead harvest will come to an end beginning Thursday in Idaho to ensure the species survival. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game announced this week that catch and release fishing will continue to be allowed. Managers say a very small amount, 400, of steelhead have passed the Lower Granite Dam west of Lewiston, Idaho. Usually, the ten-year average for mid-August is 6,000 fish.

Although only a fraction of the steelhead run has crossed Lower Granite Dam, fisheries managers are tracking the run as it moves upstream. Historic run data shows that by Aug. 15, about half of the fish should have already crossed Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, which is the first dam where the fish are counted. Through Aug. 14, only 3,900 Idaho steelhead have crossed Bonneville.

Hatchery steelhead have what is called a adipose-clipped fin while wild steelhead do not. Anglers have always been required to catch and release wild steelhead since 1987. Idaho fish and Game say closing harvest will help boost broodstock numbers at hatcheries to produce the next generation of fish.