Snake Falls is located near Valentine, NE. | Edit

Snake River Fishing Regulations 2019

  1. Fishery Regulations Will Be Reviewed Every Three Years (Unless Emergency Requiring Review & Revision)
  2. Two(2) Hook Limit Per Line (Defined by the Board as One Hook Equals One Barb)
  3. Catch & Release Only Above the Snake River Falls
  4. Restrict Use of Bait to Below Snake River Falls (From Falls to Steer Creek)
  5. New Harvest & Size Limits Below Snake River Falls (Brown & Rainbow Trout):
    • Daily bag limit: 3 trout under 14 inches in length;
    • Possssion limit: 6 trout under 14 inches in length;
    • All trout 14 inches in length or greater must be released immediately.

Listed above are the updated Fishery Regulations effective March 3, 2019. It is important that you take time to read the regulations and familiarize yourself with the changes. In 2018, the Snake River Preservation Group (SRPG) board underwent a 6-month study to gauge the state of the Snake River fishery and angler habits, mainly to address membership concern about the fishery, changes in the operational hydrology by the Ainsworth Irrigation District, and lack of information regarding our own angling membership.

The SRPG completed the following: 1) SFSC Fishery Survey of the membership seeking angler's opinions, 2) reviewed the organizational structure of the SRPG and SFSC, 3) reviewed existing historical and biologic data around the river, including stream flows, temperature, fish surveys, stocking, etc., and 4) compared the Snake River with successful wild trout fisheries in the United States.

Based on the information obtained, the SRPG board arrived at the following conclusions: 1) The Snake River is an excellent and unique fishery, resilient and worth preserving, 2) Major threats to the health of the river were identified, including operational hydrology, river temperature, sediment deposition, angler habits and out of date regulations for a wild trout fishery, and 3) Areas of improvement realistically possible for the SRPG, including instream & riparian habitat restoration, completion of a fishery management plan in line with a wild trout fishery, and improved angler habits.

Discussion centered on the need to recognize and balance the evolving goals of the membership and sustaining the health of the fishery with the desire to accommodate the various fishing styles of users where we can. The 2018 SFSC survey indicated that more than 70% of respondents felt that the fishery was as good or better than when they started fishing at the river. Also, a similar majority indicated that they would like to catch a higher quality and quantity of fish size greater than 13 inches with an opportunity to catch a greater than 20 inch trout during the trip.

Eighty three percent of the respondents are fly fisherman and that has become our core demographic. Furthermore, it is apparent to most that the fishery above and below the Snake River Falls has different strengths and weaknesses. Along with the differing attributes of the 2 reaches and the fact that current Nebraska Game & Parks rules for trout are based on water bodies with stocking (put & take), the regulations were changed accordingly to reflect management for a wild trout fishery and the two different reaches separated by the Snake River Falls. The plan is to monitor the river over the 3 years provided for by the change and determine the effect, at which time there will be another review and revision(s) as necessary.

With this effort, Pat Stout will have a presentation on the updated regulations at the annual SRPG/SFSC meeting in Kearney on Sunday, March 3, 2019. The SRPG board welcomes discussion on the subject and the Kearney meeting is a great opportunity to do so.