Wild fish dieing upon catch or not being healthy enough to release?

the noobie

New member
I have been pondering this lately. I know this is a hunting forum but I figured the guys in this section could help me.

So in Idaho its unlawful to keep any steelhead that are considered "wild" meaning they still have their adipose fin attached.

So say I am fishing and I catch one of these fish. Pretend something happens and The hook severely damages the fishes gills or the fish is so exhausted that it can not manage itself in the current (even after being properly revived) or even more the fish just dies.

What do you do with the fish? Do you just call the F&G and ask them? Say you are pretty far from any phone service, having the fish in your possesion is illegal, do you just throw it into the water and let nature take its course?

I just wanted to ask because I dont want to get a ticket for having an illegal fish but at the same time I dont want to get a ticket for wasting a fish IF something like that ever happened. I know the chances are slim but lady luck is never on my side.
Just ask the Fish and Game what they want you to do with one if that happens. I am not an environmentalist, but if you are fishing where there are wild ones, use barbless hooks. I don't use them much, unless I am fishing where there are endangered fish, just so I don't get in trouble if something happens. Throwing them away may be fine, as long as no one catches you. Happy fishing.
Yea I am working on getting a hold of an officer. Had a few questions for them about the fish in a local reservoir so I can probbaly just ask what one does with steelies.

Barbless hooks are mandatory for steelhead, even with a barbless hooks its hard to remove the hook from their jaws! Doesnt bother me though. I fish barbless 95% of the time.
There are countless study's that prove a fish that is hooked deep is better off with the hook staying in, then butchered out of the fish. Bronze hooks will dissolve quicker than most think. Leave the hook and the fish will have a much higher survival rate.
Just cut the line short as possible. It will probably live.

Stealhead and salmon that die in the river system are not a waste. They bring up nutrients from the ocean and that goes to help fertilize the trees and plants or feed the birds and bears.
I've fished with guys who like using light gear for catching steelhead and salmon or even big trout. I don't do it. I use gear that I can get the fish to hand quickly while it still has enough strength to survive. Of course it's different if you are keeping fish but in today's world you do have to release a lot of fish.

You actually do have to release the fish. Seems crazy since if you catch a clipped fish and throw it away you can be cited for wanton waste but it's the law.