Press Release

May 2005

Groups Host Kid's Conservation Day

Sunscreen, bug spray and a child's enthusiasm are nearly all that's needed to attend a National Guard Youth and Kids Conservation Day to be held at Atwood Ponds in Payette on Saturday, June 4 beginning at 8:00am.

There is no fee associated with the conservation day which will include lunch, fishing clinics, the Citizens Against Poaching trailer, an archery range, pellet gun and shotgun shooting, a sensory safari trailer, drinks, and snacks. However, registration is required for all participating youngsters between the ages of four and 17. Contact Mark Bell (442-6900) or Leroy Atwood (459-6348) for more information or to register for the conservation day.

Volunteers are still needed to assist with the event hosted by the National Wild Turkey Federation, Safari Club International, the Nampa Bow Chiefs, Grizzly Sports, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The day is an outgrowth of the desire to express appreciation for Idaho's military personnel. "What better way to show how much we appreciate them than to do something for their children?" event co-organizer Mark Bell noted. "And we want to make these activities and the day itself available to the community as well."

For further information regarding the event, or to volunteer, contact Mark Bell at 442-6900.

Tripod Reservoir Slated for Repairs

The recent, frequent rainfall has taken its toll on one of southern Idaho's more popular fishing holes. Rain-related damage to the footbridge crossing Tripod Reservoir's spillway led Fish and Game officials to remove the footbridge recently, with repairs scheduled for sometime after the Memorial Day weekend.

"We wanted to give folks a heads up regarding the damage," Fish and Game utility craftsman Dennis Hardy noted. "Foot access to Tripod will be more or less limited to the northeast side of the reservoir until repairs to the footbridge are completed."

Tripod Reservoir is located two miles west of Smiths Ferry on the road to Sagehen Reservoir.

Horsethief Reservoir Visitors Take Note

by Evin Oneale

If a stay at Horsethief Reservoir is in your Memorial Day plans, be sure and pack your mud boots. Recent, unprecedented rainfall has made a muddy mess of much of the area surrounding the popular recreation site.

"The west side road is in rough shape," Fish and Game utility craftsman Dennis Hardy said. "The heavy rains have washed away the $10,000 dollars in road repairs we completed last year."

Visitors are advised to travel slowly on the west road and remain on improved roadways as off-road motorized travel is restricted at Horsethief. "Sensitive areas next to the improved campgrounds are particularly vulnerable to illegal vehicle traffic," Hardy noted. "And with all the campground improvements at Horsethief, there really is no reason for anyone to travel off-road."

Thanks to the rough road conditions, one common complaint from visitors - speeding - should be a non-issue during the long weekend. "We'll be grading the road as soon as it dries out, which won't be until after the holiday," Hardy noted.

With the reservoir freshly stocked with rainbow trout, fishing conditions should be excellent, a fact not lost on regular Horsethief visitors. "Anglers will comprise a large part of the big crowd we're expecting for the weekend," Hardy noted. "We're usually full by Friday afternoon."

While fishing is a primary activity at Horsethief, others come to camp at the reservoir and ride motorcycles and ATVs in the surrounding area. "Folks using ATVs or motorcycles should be aware that these machines are restricted to improved roads at Horsethief, and may only be used to enter and exit the site, and that all applicable state laws apply, including helmet laws for younger riders and registration stickers," Hardy said. "And with all the private land surrounding Horsethief changing hands recently, riders are responsible to know where they are riding to avoid trespass charges."

Don't Wait to Apply for Hunts

Hunters who plan to apply for big game controlled hunts should not wait until the last day.

Tuesday, May 31, marks the end of the month-long application period.

The Idaho Fish and Game licensing division is advising hunters to apply as soon as possible to avoid the possibility of bogging down the computer licensing system and showing customer service.

If applicants wait until Tuesday, they as well as vendors and Fish and Game employees may be in for a long, frustrating day.

Ask Fish and Game

Q. I applied for a goat permit during the month of April. Why haven't I gotten the results yet?

A. Applicants for trophy species (moose, sheep and goat) will be notified of the results by June 10. Successful applicants will receive the tags and permits for their hunt and those applicants who did not draw will receive a refund check. Applicants who applied online or by using our toll free phone number should receive a credit to their card by July 1. You can also view the results online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ in early June.

CORRECTION

Editors: Regarding the Idaho Fish and Game news release of 5-19 on changes to Idaho chinook seasons, there was a typo in the line saying "The new rule changes will take effect on Friday May 30." That date is actually May 20.

Our apologies for the error.

Henrys Fork Trout Population On The Rise

ISLAND PARK - As fishing season approaches, many anglers may be wondering how trout populations in the area look. In order to find out, biologists from the Idaho Department of Fish & Game (IDFG) recently completed annual population surveys on the Henrys Fork.

The survey process involves using drift boats equipped with portable generators to run an electrical current into the water. Fish are temporarily stunned, which allows netters to collect them for marking and measuring. After one week, the biologists repeat the process, and record the ratio of marked to unmarked fish, which allows them to estimate the total population in that section of river.

Nearly every year, surveys are conducted in the famous Box Canyon. This helps fishery and water managers learn how flows from Island Park Dam affect trout populations, thereby guiding future decisions. Unfortunately, low flows last spring precluded estimates for 2004. Other reaches of the river are surveyed on a multi-year basis. This year the stretch from Vernon Bridge to the Chester backwaters was surveyed.

According to Regional Fishery Biologist Dan Garren, the surveys in Box Canyon showed the population is seeing some much needed reproduction. Though the overall numbers were only slightly better than in 2003, at about 1,700 fish per mile, the number of young fish coming into the population was very encouraging.

Salmon Fishing Reduced to Four Day Week

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has approved changes to the statewide spring Chinook salmon season.

The Commission approved Fish and Game staff recommendations to allow fishing for spring Chinook on Friday through Monday only on the rivers that remain open statewide.

The Commission also approved the standardization of spring Chinook limits. The new limits will allow anglers to take one fish per day, have three in possession, and take a total of 10 for the entire season. The updated forecast for spring Chinook returning to Idaho is 18,300.

The rules will allow the department to conservatively manage a limited number of surplus hatchery Chinook and limit the amount of incidental take on natural origin Chinook salmon in Idaho. By this time last year, 50,877 Chinook had passed Lower Granite Dam, the final hurdle on their journey to Idaho from the Pacific Ocean.

Fisheries managers hope the changes will also extend the season to allow anglers more opportunity through space and time.

"In our public hearing process that's what people told us they wanted" said Anadromous Fisheries Manager Sharon Kiefer.

The new rule changes will take effect on Friday May 20. Closing dates will remain as printed in the Chinook salmon rules brochure. Those dates are all subject to change, to allow for earlier closures if necessary for biological reasons.

Fisheries managers say they are beginning to get data from summer Chinook passing Bonneville dam, but don't have enough data to make any recommendations about a possible summer Chinook season. Kiefer said the data on summer Chinook should be more complete by early June.

Commission Approves More Crane Permits

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has approved the harvest of more sandhill cranes this year.

440 sandhill crane permits will be available in four Idaho counties. 300 permits will be available to hunters in Caribou and Bear Lake Counties, 70 will be available in Teton County, and 70 will be available in Fremont County. Crane season will run from September 1 through September 15.

Hunters will be allowed daily limits of two cranes, and a season limit of nine. The first tag is offered through a standard controlled hunt drawing and additional tags, up to eight per hunter can be purchased at any vendor as left-over tags.

Making Perch at Lake Cascade

By Evin Oneale, Regional Conservation Educator

Idaho Department of Fish and Game - Southwest Region

The dream of restoring Lake Cascade's once flourishing yellow perch fishery is just a bit closer, thanks to recent efforts by Idaho Fish and Game staff and the cooperation of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

In late March and early April, Fish and Game fisheries staff packed their bags for a three-week stint in Oregon. Enduring damp, cool weather for most of the tour, they captured thousands of yellow perch from Phillips Reservoir, near Baker City, loading the fish into hatchery trucks for transport to their new home at Cascade. "We moved 28 loads of perch total, better than one load of perch each day we trapped," Fish and Game fisheries manager Dale Allen noted. "Early in the effort, we trapped and moved 2300 pounds of perch in a single day."

The fish were captured using large box traps set at strategic points around the reservoir. "The perch spawning season was underway and the fish were on the move," Allen said. "That aided us greatly in our capture efforts." Traps were checked early each morning with captured perch transferred to live wells for transport to a central holding location. From there, the perch were netted and placed in hatchery trucks for the trip to their new home.

All told, the trapping and transplanting effort resulted in more than 193,000 adult perch being relocated to Cascade, with a combined weight of 32,300 pounds. Yet even with these impressive figures, the job is not done yet. "This is our second year of effort moving perch to Cascade from other waters," Allen said. "We probably will move yellow perch again next year."

Mary Dudley Named Conservationist of the Year

The Idaho Wildlife Federation has named Mary Dudley this year's Conservationist of the Year.

As Southwest Regional Volunteer Coordinator, Dudley is responsible for developing volunteer projects to improve and restore habitat for an abundance of wildlife. That includes recruiting, organizing, and supervising volunteers on numerous projects.

The Idaho Wildlife Federation newsletter described Dudley's service this way:

"Mary is recognized for her years of dedication and leadership in recruiting volunteers to participate in wildlife habitat restoration projects in southwestern Idaho. In addition to securing the participation of adult volunteers Mary worked hard and has been very successful in getting Idaho students to participate in wildlife habitat restoration and other projects that directly and indirectly affect Idaho's wildlife. Mary has been instrumental in securing significant funding to carry out the volunteer projects and is working on communicating wildlife needs as well as informing people of the accomplishments of the many volunteers. For her exemplary leadership and significant accomplishments on behalf of Idaho's wildlife, IWF selected Mary for Conservationist of the Year."

Salmon Fishing Reduced to Four Day Week

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has approved changes to the statewide spring Chinook salmon season.

The Commission approved Fish and Game staff recommendations to allow fishing for spring Chinook on Friday through Monday only on the rivers that remain open statewide.

The Commission also approved the standardization of spring Chinook limits. The new limits will allow anglers to take one fish per day, have three in possession, and take a total of ten for the entire season. The updated forecast for spring Chinook returning to Idaho is 18,300.

The rules will allow the department to conservatively manage a limited number of surplus hatchery Chinook and limit the amount of incidental take on natural origin Chinook salmon in Idaho. By this time last year, 50,877 Chinook had passed Lower Granite Dam, the final hurdle on their journey to Idaho from the Pacific Ocean.

Fisheries managers hope the changes will also extend the season to allow anglers more opportunity through space and time.

"In our public hearing process that's what people told us they wanted" said Anadromous Fisheries Manager Sharon Kiefer.

The new rule changes will take effect on Friday May 30. Closing dates will remain as printed in the Chinook salmon rules brochure. Those dates are all subject to change, to allow for earlier closures if necessary for biological reasons.

Fisheries managers say they are beginning to get data from summer Chinook passing Bonneville dam, but don't have enough data to make any recommendations about a possible summer Chinook season. Kiefer said the data on summer Chinook should be more complete by early June.