We're all a familiar with the brown "access" sign along the highway with the little fish and the hook. It means a ramp to launch your fishing boat...and maybe also a place to find a little relief from too much coffee. But all these ramps, rivers and potties have a story behind them.
Idaho Fish and Game's fishing and boating access program's roots extend back to 1929 when $240 of angler license money was used to acquire Jimmy Smith Lake in Custer County. This 192-acre lake was the first site acquired specifically as a fishing access site for Idaho anglers. In the 1930s and 40s, eight more angler access sites were acquired when landowners donated property to Fish and Game or the department used fishing license dollars to purchase property purchases from a willing seller.
In 1951, Idaho first used federal sport fishing dollars from the Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration Act to purchase Caldwell Ponds in south Idaho. These funds enabled the Department to take significant steps to secure fishing and boating access for Idaho's anglers. This new funding source took the boating and fishing angler access program budget from less than $1,000 per year to putting more than $1,500,000 per year on-the-ground for angler access in 2014.
For more information on this and other Idaho Fish and Game's 75th Celebration stories, go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/75th.