Press Release

May 2004

What do fish eat?

JEROME - Ever wonder what lives under the water? We know fish do, but what do the fish feed on?

If you want to get a closer look at the creatures that make their living underwater, here is a couple of tricks to try that which are fun and easy.

Viewing window

  • Have an adult help you cut the bottom off of a milk or juice jug. To make viewing easier, you can also cut off some of the top to widen the opening. Try not to cut the handle, so you can hold your scope.
  • Cover the bottom opening with plastic wrap and hold it in place with a rubber band. Trim off any extra wrap and tape around the band. You want the window to be tight, so the water won't seep in.
  • Take your scope to a pond or shallow stream and put it into the water with the plastic-wrap end down. You should be able to see under the water clearly. It's best if you keep your scope in one place and don't move around too much. That way, the animals won't be afraid to come close, and you'll get a good look at them.

Kick screen

  • You need a 2' X 2' piece of tight woven screen, like on a screen
  • Two 2"X2" sticks that are three foot long.
  • Tack the edge of the screen to the bottom two foot of the sticks and you are ready to catch bugs.
  • Place the screen in the water at a 45-degree angle and have someone kick up the rocks upstream of the screen. Bugs will float downstream, becoming trapped and you can take the screen from the water to look at them.

Both activities can make for a fun day on the water. For those that want to increase their knowledge, purchase an aquatic insect book and identify your catch.

Fishing should be great for Memorial Day opener

JEROME - Fishing in the Magic Valley Region is great and is only going to get better with the opening of several fishing waters Memorial Day Weekend.

Most lakes and reservoirs as well as a few larger rivers are open to fishing year-round in Idaho, but some smaller lakes and a few streams open May 29.

Some smaller streams, particularly those flowing through landscapes with southern exposures, will dry up or get real low early in the season. Snow melted early this spring and the streams are running clear. Early season fishing may be unusually good, compared to years when runoff makes them unfishable until mid-summer.

Because of low water conditions, throughout most of the Magic Valley Region, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is urging anglers to fish early and often this season. Early snowmelt allowed the Department to stock area reservoirs and streams early this season, producing several great fishing opportunities.

Hatchery fish will not be stocked in waters that are expected to be dry early. Some fishing areas may be planted only once if they are likely to be dry by summer.

Fish have been stocked in Little Camas Reservoir, Mormon Reservoir, Thorn Creek, and Oackley Reservoir; however these fisheries may be unfishable by mid-July and the Department is urging people to fish these waters early. Waters expected to remain through the summer and fall will receive the rest of this year's hatchery plantings and may hold more fish than usual.

Magic Valley Region fishing waters that will be opening this Memorial Day, include:

Commission sets Dove, Crane Seasons

Meeting by conference call May 25, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission set hunting seasons for doves and sandhill cranes. No early goose seasons were proposed by staff.

Mourning dove season will run from September 1-30, with a daily bag limit of ten and a possession limit of 20. Shooting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Sandhill crane controlled hunts will run from September 1-7 in Teton and Fremont counties, with a second hunt from September 8-15 in both counties. There are 24 permits offered in each of these four hunts. Hunts in Caribou and Bear Lake counties will run from September 1-15. There are 165 permits offered in these hunts. Shooting hours are the same as for doves. The application period for sandhill crane controlled hunts will be from June 15 to July 15.

Commission sets Salmon Seasons

Meeting by conference call May 25, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission set three salmon seasons, as well as seasons for doves and sandhill cranes. All seven commissioners were in attendance.

Commissioners approved a season on hatchery spring chinook salmon in the Boise River from its mouth upstream to Barber Dam, to open May 26 and close September 6. Fish and Game will transport 200-250 salmon to the Boise by 4:00 p.m. May 26, and more as they are available. The daily limit is two, anglers may have six in possession, and the statewide limit, cumulative from all waters, is 20.

There are no restricted hours as there are in other salmon seasons and fishing is permitted 24 hours a day. Barbless hooks are not required in the Boise River because only hatchery salmon will be stocked. These are Rapid River Hatchery salmon trapped at Hells Canyon Dam.

The other seasons are for hatchery summer chinook salmon. The South Fork Salmon River is set to open on June 21 from the mouth of Goat Creek upstream to a posted boundary about 100 yards below the South Fork weir and trap. This season is scheduled to run through August 1, but could be closed earlier for biological reasons. Limits are three daily, nine in possession and 20 statewide for the season. Barbless hooks are required. Fishing hours are from one half hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.

Big Game Application Period Closes May 31

Hunters who want a chance at a controlled hunt this fall have only until May 31 to apply for deer, elk, antelope, and fall black bear permits.

Applications can be filed through license vendors, by using a credit card at 1-800-824-3729 or by mailing an application to Licensing, IDFG, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707. The application form can be found on page 17 of the current big game rules brochure.

A computerized random drawing for permits in each controlled hunt will be held during the month of June and successful hunters will be notified by mail by July 10.

Grand Opening of Deer Creek Reservoir Reels In A Crowd

Fishing just got better for Idaho anglers.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and its partners, Potlatch Corporation and several local communities, recently celebrated the opening of Deer Creek Reservoir. Over 150 people and officials gathered to toast the completion of the reservoir after 15 years of planning and construction.

Deer Creek Reservoir became a reality when Potlatch Corporation donated the land and the department spent $910,000 from a combination of funds from fishing licenses and fees and Sport Fish Restoration funds, an excise tax on fishing equipment.

"This was part of a fee increase bill the department got from the Idaho legislature several years ago," explained Fish and Game Director Steve Huffaker.

Designed with anglers in mind, the reservoir will provide an excellent destination for families, seniors and avid anglers. The reservoir is open all year to general fishing with a six trout limit, but the road to the reservoir will be open to motorized travel only from May 20 to September 30 annually.

"Personally, this is a special project for me because part of my job is to make fishing better," said Fish and Game Fisheries Manager Ed Schriever.

IDFG began planting fish in April and by the grand opening, there were over 10,000 sterile rainbow trout stocked in its waters. The department plans to stock cutthroat trout later in June. With a size of 80 acres and a maximum depth of 40 feet, the reservoir will be ideal for trout.

Besides better fishing, the reservoir will also benefit the local economy.

"There's already so much enthusiasm in the town over this lake," said Richard Engle, president of the Pierce/Weippe chamber of commerce. "It's the first one in 40 years in Idaho, and we have people already visiting our website and asking about Deer Creek Reservoir."

Watch for Bull Trout This Season

Anglers need to keep an eye out for bull trout, a fish native to most Idaho's clearest waters, as the general fishing season begins May 29. Bull trout are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act and are strictly protected by federal and Idaho law. These fish must be returned immediately and unharmed to the water whenever they are caught.

Anglers unfamiliar with bull trout can see it pictured in color in the Idaho fishing rules brochure. Most areas where bull trout are likely to be encountered have signs that show the fish. Anglers are responsible for knowing the species they are catching. Bull trout is the only trout-like species in Idaho that has no spots or markings on its dorsal (back) fin. Be safe. If you don't know, let it go. The minimum fine for the illegal killing of a bull trout is $250 and it can be more depending on the case. A loss of fishing privileges for up to three years is also possible.

Senior conservation officer Marshall Haynes said officers in Idaho's most populous region, the Southwest, will be emphasizing bull trout this season. Special attention will be on the Boise river drainage from Lucky Peak and Arrowrock reservoirs upstream. That includes waters on the Middle Fork and North Fork of the Boise River as well as the South fork of the Boise River including Anderson ranch reservoir.

Access Yes! Online

Hunters and anglers can find a place where they are welcome by going online.

This year's current lineup of properties in the Access Yes! program has been added to the Idaho Fish and Game web site at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov with maps and details of each property.

The access program was started last year with the goals of rewarding landowners for allowing access to their lands and opening previously blocked public lands. It has already grown from about 117,000 private acres to 194,758 with a few contracts still to be added. A final total of 225,000 to 250,000 acres is expected. Access to public lands will be increased by more than 250,000 acres.

Among the 66 landowners taking part in Access Yes! this year are many of the same ones who participated in the first year. Properties are available in all seven regions of Idaho.

The program has spent $222,396 for lease agreements. Access Yes! may be further expanded when money comes in from the Supertag and Superslam tag lotteries being held for the first time this year to raise funds specifically for this effort.

Ask Fish and Game

Q. How many chances are there if I put in for one of these Supertag or Super Slam drawings?

A. It's a little complicated, but the total number of tags is 40. There will be two separate Supertag drawings of 16 each, with five deer, five elk, five antelope and one moose tag in each drawing. You pick the animal you want to draw on Super tags. A Supertag allows hunting for one of these species in any hunt open for that species. A separate drawing will be held for the Super Slam. Two hunters will be drawn for all four animals in the Super Slam. Winners in the Super Slam will be able to hunt all four animals in any hunt open for that species. Applicants may purchase as many Supertag or Super Slam tickets as they want. Once tickets are filled out they need to be returned to the Headquarters Fish and Game office at: 1075 Park Blvd., or P. O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707.

We must have it in our office by May 31. The tickets can be filled out with someone else's name besides the purchaser. We're reaching the deadline to get those tickets in, so ordering through the Internet or 800# is probably not safe for the first drawing. Hunters can apply at any license vendor, by phone (1-800-824-3729), by mail, or online at (fishandgame.Idaho.gov) until May 31 for the first drawing on June 15. Apply between June 1 and July 30 for the second drawing that will be held on August 16. Money raised will help fund Access Yes!

Sportsman's Breakfast Scheduled June 1 At Helm Restaurant

LEWISTON - Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to the monthly Idaho Department of Fish and Game breakfast meeting to be held at the Helm Restaurant in Lewiston, on June 1 at 6:30 a.m.

The breakfast agenda will include reports on the salmon season, upcoming free fishing day events; as well as the upcoming season on waterfowl and upland birds. Reports from sportsmen's club activities will round out the meeting.

The breakfasts are generally held the first Tuesday of each month at the Helm restaurant in Lewiston. They are open to anyone and are designed to stimulate informal discussion about wildlife issues in the Clearwater Region. The breakfasts run until 9:00 a.m., with coffee provided by Fish and Game.

Young Wildlife - Best Left Wild

LEWISTON - With May and June being the peak time for Idaho's wildlife to have their young, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) offers this simple suggestion to well-intentioned people finding baby 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. Resisting the urge to pick up "abandoned" wildlife helps ensure it will remain wild.

"If you encounter young wildlife that seems stranded, it's best to leave it alone," cautions Jay Crenshaw, Clearwater Region wildlife manager. "Chances are the mother is close by waiting for you to leave."

IDFG has only two alternatives when dealing with animals removed from the wild. Volunteer wildlife rehabilitators can attempt to raise the animal and place it back in the wild, but this option often fails because the majority of young animals brought to IDFG are often in poor condition. The animals that do make it have no survival skills and have unnaturally formed bonds with humans. IDFG can also attempt to place the animals in zoos, but most zoos now refuse to take the animals because of crowding and disease problems.

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.

Anglers Urged To Review Regulations Before Casting A Line

LEWISTON - With Saturday, May 29 marking the beginning of Idaho's general fishing season, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) encourages all anglers to review the current fishing regulations before casting a line.

"Anglers just need to take a little time to read the regulations if they want to avoid making a mistake," said Mark Hill, a conservation officer based in Lewiston.

Fishing rules can be found in the new fishing brochure, available wherever licenses are sold and on the Internet at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

One of the most common fishing violations is not having a fishing license in possession while in the field. Anglers must have their license with them at all times while fishing so that when a conservation officer contacts them, the angler can show proof of license purchase.

Limit violations are also common. Many waters in the Clearwater Region have reduced trout limits where only two trout may be kept. Some waters are entirely catch-and-release for trout and other waters have restrictions where all fish in a length range must be released.

IDFG encourages every angler to read the fishing regulations by starting with the beginning pages because they describe the statewide general fishing laws. The pages that follow describe unlawful activities, definitions, special seasons and other helpful information.

The regional exceptions, found in the middle and back of the booklet, describe certain waters that have exceptions to the statewide general regulations. If the body of water is not listed in the exceptions, it falls under the statewide general regulations.