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Anglers - Keep the Whole Bass

Bass anglers are reminded that harvested bass must remain whole - no filleting - until the fish are transported to their final destination. Officers have witnessed a wave of violations associated with anglers filleting bass in the field prior to transport. At a recent check station, Fish and Game officers and reservists checked 269 anglers and 189 turkey hunters over the course of the day. Of the 458 licenses checked, officers identified more than 40 violations; all but three were fishing violations. The most common violation was transporting filleted bass from Brownlee Reservoir, for which officers wrote 22 citations and warnings. Other violations included overlimits of bass, undersized bass, possessing live fish, and three unlawfully taken steelhead from below Hells Canyon Dam. In Idaho, harvested bass can be gutted, but the head and tail must remain naturally attached during transport. "This is the case for any fish species where length limits apply," Fish and Game fish manager Jeff Dillon noted. "The length limit rule has been in place for many years for bass, trout, salmon, and several other species." Brownlee is the region's most popular fishery, and many anglers go there to fill their freezer with crappie, catfish, and bass. Because crappie and catfish have no bag or size limits, they can be filleted in the field prior to transport. In Brownlee, bass must be 12 inches or larger to be legally harvested. The only way to enforce this bass length limit rule is if the fish are transported intact. For more information regarding the bass length limits at Brownlee Reservoir, contact Fish and Game's Nampa office at 465-8465.