LEWISTON - The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will offer a firewood sale in the Benton Meadows area of the Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area to encourage the re-establishment of a variety of important habitat types. The goal is to assist in the restoration of the ponderosa pine and douglas fir cover types that are the preferred environment for wildlife species including mule deer, blue grouse, wild turkey and the Pileated woodpecker. By creating a diversity of habitat types, a variety of key wildlife species will benefit in the future. White fir, lodgepole pine, ponderosa pine and red fir will be removed from a 10-acre site. The firewood will be green and dead logs that have been cut and felled. The firewood permits will be sold at the IDFG Clearwater Regional Office, 1540 Warner Avenue beginning Tuesday, June 18. The permits will cost $10.00 per cord with a two-cord minimum, and will include a map to the cutting site. The permits will be valid June 21-23, June 28-30 and July 5-7. All participants must check in with the attendant on site. The revenue generated from the firewood sale will be used to fund future forest management projects on Craig Mountain. For more information, please contact IDFG at 799-5010.
LEWISTON - As part of a long-term investigation, Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists plan to capture and radio-collar about 30 elk calves along the South Fork of the Clearwater River in Big Game Management Unit 15 during June. Calves less than about four days old will be spotted from a helicopter, then biologists will attempt to capture them by hand. The calves will be weighed, measured, evaluated, and fitted with an expanding mortality-sensing radio collar. The radios will be monitored frequently and when a mortality is indicated, a crew will visit the site as soon as possible to determine the fate of the calf. With this calf mortality information, biologists hope to develop a better understanding of the factors that influence elk recruitment so the Department can better manage elk populations.
The Magic Valley Region of Idaho Fish and Game will host an open house for public comments and input regarding the future of mountain lion management in the state. This open house will be on Tuesday, June 25 at the regional office, 868 East Main, Jerome, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. Last January, three public meetings were held in this region to solicit ideas and offer proposals on non-trophy big game species, including lions. Three options were presented for consideration for managing mountain lions in the future. The overall management effort for lions is to ensure long-term annual returns from mountain lion resources to the citizens of Idaho, for both consumptive and non-consumptive uses. The Department has taken all the public comment received on the lion proposals and developed a draft lion management plan for the state. This open house will be for the purpose of introducing those interested to the plan, its goals, objectives and methods to achieve those ends. For those unable to attend the open house, this draft plan is also on the Fish & Game website at http://www2.state.id.us/fishgame. Go into the What's News section and into New Additions. The Mountain Lion Management link will take you to the document. There is even a link for your comments to the Department of Fish & Game.
Contact: Sharon Kiefer, 334-3791 Fishing for chinook salmon on the Lower Salmon River closes Sunday, June 16 one hour after sunset. The season there opened April 25 and will end as scheduled in the salmon fishing rules pamphlet. The boundaries for the Lower Salmon River spring chinook fishery extends from the Hammer Creek boat ramp upstream to a posted line at the mouth of the Little Salmon River at Riggins. Through June 7, anglers had harvested 507 hatchery chinook salmon, identified by an adipose fin-clip. Although about 24,000 Rapid River hatchery fish have crossed Lower Granite Dam, fishing has been hampered by late runoff, which resulted in high flows. However, flows have receded, and fishing in the last few days of the season should be good.
Salmon anglers will have a chance to fish the South Fork of the Salmon River again this year. Meeting by conference call on June 8, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission approved a summer chinook salmon season on the South Fork of the Salmon River. The season will open June 19 and will end August 4, or earlier if needed for biological reasons. The preseason forecast is that about 6,700 hatchery adult chinook salmon will enter the South Fork, heading for the salmon weir and trap. Typically, about 1,000 are needed for broodstock for the McCall Fish Hatchery program, so this year's runsize should provide enough fish for broodstock and recreational and treaty fisheries. The weir and trap on the upper South Fork is part of the McCall Hatchery program, which is operated by Idaho Department of Fish and Game and funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via a program called the Lower Snake River Compensation Program. This program is part of the federal mitigation for the construction and operation of the four lower Snake River dams located downstream of Lewiston. "We estimate that about 1,400 hatchery fish bound for the upper South Fork of the Salmon River have already crossed Lower Granite Dam, with additional fish arriving daily," Sharon Kiefer, IDFG Anadromous Fishery Manager, said. "The early part of the run had more three-ocean fish, so we expect those big fish may be the first arriving into the fishery area. Because we are opening the fishery during the early portion of the run, there won't be as many fish at first. Folks who will only get a few chances to fish the South Fork would probably find more fish available, and better catch rates, later in June or early July. However, anglers who decide to try the fishery early will be providing us with useful management information about the presence of fish, because it is a bit of a guessing game once the fish cross Lower Granite Dam to determine when they arrive in the fishery area."
Q. I qualify for a senior license when I get to be 65 years old, right? A. You do indeed, as long as you have been an Idaho resident for the five years previous. Growing older in Idaho does have its rewards.
LEWISTON - Father's Day is almost here and if your Dad is an angler or boater, a life jacket is both a great gift idea and something that may save a life. Last year, eight people drowned in fatal boating accidents in Idaho. The majority of the victims were not wearing life jackets and were enjoying smaller, non-motorized boats, such as canoes and rafts. According to Rick Cooper, conservation officer with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Lewiston, Federal and state boating safety laws require all boats to carry one Coast Guard-approved life jacket per person on board. Boats 16 feet or more in length (except canoes and kayaks) must also carry one "throwable" flotation device such as a buoyant cushion. "A new, U.S. Coast Guard approved life jacket is one of the most thoughtful and practical gifts you could give a father who fishes or boats," Cooper said. Life jackets come in four types:
- Type I jackets have the greatest buoyancy and are designed to hold an unconscious person in a slightly backward vertical position with his face out of the water. These jackets are best for large, cold waters where rescue could be delayed and the cold water causes victims to lose consciousness.
- Type II jackets are smaller, more comfortable version of the Type I. They'll turn an unconscious wearer to a face-up vertical position in the water, but the turning action is not as strong.
- Type III jackets or vests are the most popular because they are reasonably cool and comfortable to wear and accommodate activities such as fishing, canoeing and waterskiing. They are as buoyant as a Type II, but will not turn an unconscious victim to a face-up vertical position.
- Type IV jackets are throwable floating boat cushions and life rings. They will support a person but are a poor choice for nonswimmers or children.
LEWISTON - With May and June being the peak time for Idaho's wildlife to have their young, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game offers this simple suggestion to well-intentioned people finding young wild animals that appear to be abandoned: Leave them alone. Most young wildlife picked up by well-meaning, concerned citizens do not survive in captivity and have no survival skills to allow release back to the wild. "If you encounter young wildlife that seems stranded, it's best to leave it alone," cautions Jay Crenshaw, IDFG wildlife manager. "Chances are the mother is close by waiting for you to leave." Resisting the urge to pick up "abandoned" wildlife helps ensure it will remain wild. IDFG has only two alternatives when dealing with animals removed from the wild. They can attempt to rehabilitate the animal and place it back in the wild, which often fails because of the animal's unnatural bonding to people. The second choice is to place it in a zoo, where it is forever removed from the wild. It is recommended that if a small animal, such as a bird, rabbit or squirrel is found near a home, it should be placed back in the nest if possible and left undisturbed. All wild animals have a better chance of survival if left alone, than if raised in a human environment.
LEWISTON - While this spring has been favorable for young wildlife, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game reminds dog owners that their loving pet can be harmful to area wildlife, especially upland game birds and deer. "We receive reports almost daily about dogs harassing both young birds and adults still sitting on nests," said Dave Cadwallader, regional conservation officer based in Lewiston. Dogs don't have to kill birds to be considered a problem. Often just separating the young from their parents for a short time can lead to death. Adults scared off of nests may stay away too long or not even return at all. In addition to dogs harassing young birds, IDFG has also received several deer fawns injured by dogs. Because the secretive nature of White-tailed deer allows it to live in close proximity to humans and their pets, each spring numerous conflicts arise when the nearby woods hold a bounty of deer fawns. "Most dog-caused fawn injuries occur during June," said Cadwallader. "However, the best solution is to never let dogs roam free and to always keep a close eye on them when in the field," he said. If you witness dogs harassing wildlife or encounter wildlife that seems to be injured or stranded, contact IDFG at 208-799-5010, or any local law enforcement agency.
Upland game bird hunters can look for the new rules booklet at vendors as well as Fish and Game offices later this month. The new booklet deals with hunting for furbearers, but trapping rules will be 1 separately this year in a shirt pocket-sized book. All rules 1 in booklet form can now also be found on the department web site at www2.state.id.us/fishgame. A few of the highlights for the upcoming seasons include: Opening the Big Desert (Area 2 north and south of INEEL) and Birch Creek (Area 2) for sage grouse and closing the Curlew Grasslands to sage grouse hunting, including falconry hunting, because of population declines (Power, Cassia and Oneida counties south of Interstate 86 and north and east of Interstate 84). The required sage grouse and sharptail permit will continue as it provides a valuable source of hunters to respond to research needs. Sharptail season will not change. The pheasant season was extended in the Magic Valley to December 31 except in Minidoka and Cassia counties; Niagara Springs WMA was added to the WMA pheasant permit system; the pheasant bag and possession limits were increased to three and six on WMAs and for the youth pheasant season. Hunters will note no change for hunting forest grouse or for chukar and gray partridge. Quail season will be opened in the Panhandle Region and it will be added to "Area 2." Rabbit and hare seasons will be unchanged except for closure of the pygmy rabbit season (a species of special concern in Idaho of undetermined status; this would apply in falconry rules also). No changes were made for crows or doves.
Hunters may apply for controlled hunts for sandhill cranes from June 15 through July 15. All hunting for sandhill cranes is by controlled hunt. Rules and costs for the hunts are found in the new brochure being delivered to vendors and Fish and Game offices now. The same information is available on the department web site at www2.state.id.us/fishgame. Hunters who are drawn in the controlled hunt will be allowed to purchase up to nine permits and tags. The first tag will be obtained through the standard drawing and the other eight made available at any vendor as a leftover tag. The cost per permit is $14.50. Nine hunts are set in the southeast region between September 1 and September 15. Hunts are structured to offer more permits in early hunts. Sandhill crane hunting was instituted in Idaho in an attempt to deal with crop damage in parts of eastern Idaho.
Early this spring, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game hosted a half-day public workshop in Sandpoint to discuss the future of kokanee and trophy trout fishing in Lake Pend Oreille. This meeting was more than an opportunity to drink coffee, eat a donut and hear about what's been happening to this world famous fishery. It was hopefully the start of using a more citizen driven approach to fisheries management. Forty-seven people took four hours Saturday morning to listen to the latest information on the impending kokanee collapse and the ramifications to the trophy rainbow and bull trout fishery. Those people then broke up into small groups to brainstorm about what the most pressing issues affecting the fishery were and how the Department might go about solving those problems. We asked participants to focus on the issue of too many predators and not enough kokanee to feed them as the top priority. We asked them to explore ideas on how IDFG and the community could build trust and better communicate, with one of those ideas being the formation of a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC). A nine member CAC was formed by early May with representation from fishing clubs, marina operators, fishing guides, interested anglers, fishing dependent businesses and Chamber of Commerce. The CAC's role is to take the work done at the March fisheries workshop and boil those good ideas down into recommendations the Department can act on. The world famous fisheries of Lake Pend Oreille are rapidly slipping away, and the emergency fishing regulation changes implemented in February of 2000 don't seem to be having the desired effect. Biologically the rules would work, but there isn't the social support to make them effective. It is our hope the CAC can get to the root of the problem, find socially acceptable ways to implement difficult fishery management decisions and turn this fishery around before it's too late.