Press Release

May 2005

Fishing Season Begins May 28

Anglers are gearing up for the beginning of Idaho's general fishing season which opens Saturday, May 28. Most lakes, reservoirs, and larger rivers are open to fishing year round in Idaho, but some smaller lakes and most streams are open from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through November 30. Exceptions to general seasons and rules apply to many waters in Idaho, so anglers should check the fishing rules brochure for the specific water they intend to fish. Fishing rules brochures are available wherever licenses are sold and on the Internet at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov./fish/rules/home.cfm Anglers who buy a fishing license now will take advantage of the current prices of $23.50 for an adult resident license and $12.50 for a junior resident license. Fees will go up on July 1, the beginning of the new fiscal year. Many streams are likely to be lower than normal this spring. While that may make them more fishable early in the season, many are likely to dry up later in the season. Hatchery managers from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are planning to focus stocking efforts in lakes and streams with adequate water throughout the fishing season. This will mean more fish than average for places like Horsethief, Salmon Falls Creek, and Cascade Reservoirs. However, smaller reservoirs like Magic, Mountain Home, Little Camas, Mormon and Winder will receive fewer fish since they are likely to dry up during the irrigation season.

Fisheries Managers Concerned Over Low Salmon Returns

Fisheries managers with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are closely monitoring the disappointing return of Chinook salmon. As of Sunday May 15, only 10,937 Chinook were counted at Lower Granite Dam, the final hurdle on their return migration to Idaho. The updated forecast suggests that fewer than 30,000 adult spring and summer Chinook will cross Lower Granite Dam, compared to about 92,000 that were predicted before the migration started. At this point the department has only made one adjustment to the season, by closing the lower portion of the Snake River. State law only allows the Department of Fish and Game to close fisheries. The Department cannot make changes to the rules. However, fisheries managers will be updating the Fish and Game Commission (the governing body) at a scheduled meeting in Montpelier on Thursday May 19. The Commission has the ability to make changes to salmon rules beyond simply closing seasons. Fisheries managers are concerned about the low returns of both hatchery and natural-origin fish. Fish and Game needs a certain number of hatchery salmon to achieve hatchery broodstock goals, and only the surplus is considered harvestable. The Department is also charged with protecting natural-origin salmon in Idaho, most of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act. Hatchery spring Chinook returning to the Clearwater and Little Salmon Rivers are not protected. However, because of the hatchery needs fisheries managers must be very careful how many hatchery salmon they allow recreational anglers to harvest. "The Clearwater sport fishery is based on abundance" said Clearwater Fishery Manager Ed Schriever "Hatcheries in the basin operated by IDFG, the USFWS, and the Nez Perce Tribe need approximately 4200 fish to meet brood stock goals. The number of hatchery fish returning to the Clearwater in excess of 4200 is determined to be surplus and available for state and tribal harvest sharing."

Hunting in Idaho Goes Ultra High Tech

Everything you could possibly want to know when planning a hunting trip in Idaho is now available in one location on the internet. Idaho Hunt Planner provides answers to questions from "Where can I hunt mule deer?" to "Where are the boundaries of Unit 36B" to "How much will a two-bed motel room in Riggins cost me?" System features include Hunt Finder, which allows you to get information about specific hunts without sorting through multiple pages in the rules brochure. It also features Map Center which allows you to zoom in on any point in Idaho and check everything from topography to land ownership. It even allows you to make your own maps. According to Bart Butterfield, who oversees the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Information System at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the system serves as an electronic rules brochure. It goes much further than a printed brochure by allowing hunters to quickly answer questions about hunt unit boundaries, controlled hunt boundaries, seasons for hunts in specific areas of the state, and a seemingly infinite number of other questions. "It allows you to determine what seasons are available in the area you want to hunt. For example, if you want to hunt elk in Unit 24 during October, Idaho Hunt Planner will list the other seasons that are open at that time" Butterfield said. And hunters can quickly access that information without sifting through page after page in printed hunt brochures. "We can never put a rules brochure together that would be able to do all of these things." Idaho Hunt Planner also lets you find out about the odds of drawing a particular hunt, hunter success from previous year's harvest reports, and search Idaho's Access Yes! program. Fish and Game managers believe the system will allow people to plan a hunting trip in Idaho from start to finish with fewer calls to Fish and Game offices with questions about their specific hunt.

Nature Center Hosts Astronomy Night

Do you want to learn more about our solar system? Stop by the MK Nature Center parking lot after 7:00 on Friday May 20 to look at the sun through a solar filter telescope. After the sun sets, view the moon and stars with the help of the Boise Astronomical Society. You may even get to look at Jupiter and Saturn! Nature Center employees will guide an evening wildlife walk at 8:30 as the sun is setting to look for bats, beavers, and other nighttime residents of the Nature Center. Admission is free, but donations are always welcome.

Ask Fish and Game

Q: What is the difference between the Fish and Game Commission and the Fish and Game Department? A: The Fish and Game Commission is the governing body responsible for administering the fish and game policy of the state as described in state code section 36-103. The Commission approves seasons, limits, etc. Commissioners come from each of the seven regions in the state, and are appointed by the Governor. The Fish and Game Department is responsible for implementing the policy set by the Commission and managing wildlife for the benefit of all Idahoans. The Department does not have the power to set seasons, limits etc. Department employees make recommendations to the Commission, and Commissioners decide whether to accept, reject or change the recommendations. To learn more about the Fish and Game Commission visit the web at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov./about/commission/.

Big Game Rules Printed

Printed big game rules brochures for fall 2005 and spring 2006 are now available. The new rules contain changes from last year including a new white-tailed deer tag and standardized general deer seasons, as well as expanded antlerless elk hunts. Copies are available at all Idaho Fish and Game offices and license vendors. You can also access the rules on line at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/hunt/rules/bg/.

Early Big Game Applicants Can Still Win Cash

It's not too late! You have a chance to receive $450 if you apply early for this fall's controlled hunts for deer, elk, black bear and antelope. To be eligible for the $450 drawing your application must be received by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game no later than May 20. The drawing will be held May 25. Applications that were received by May 9 were entered in the $550 drawing to be held May 13. The drawing is sponsored by the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation and funded by GTECH Corporation. By encouraging the early application process, the Foundation and GTECH hope to prevent overload on the computer terminals at license vendors in the final days of the application period. This same incentive has been offered over the past few years and has proved popular with hunters, especially those who end up with an extra $450 or $550 in cash to pay for their next hunting trip. The Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 1990 to protect and sustain Idaho's fishing, hunting and wildlife heritage. Board members represent each region of the state.

CAP your Tag with a Dollar Donation

Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) reminds ethical sportsmen to stop a game thief by designating a dollar to CAP when applying for controlled hunts this spring. Designations from hunters applying for controlled hunts are critical to the poaching hotline. Those dollars provide funding for rewards and staffing, and they do not cost hunters anything. If you mark "yes" where the application asks "Designate $1 of fee to CAP?" you will simply be directing that dollar to be used by Citizens Against Poaching. Your application fee will remain the same. CAP is a 24-hour hotline where citizens can report poaching violations and remain anonymous if they choose. In addition, callers may also receive a reward. The CAP hotline received 487 calls from citizens reporting suspected Fish and Game violations in 2004. Those calls resulted in 61 cases and 123 citations. The people involved in those cases paid nearly $60,000 in civil penalties and fines. "More Idahoans are realizing that unethical hunters and anglers who steal fish and wildlife are stealing from all of us" said Jon Heggen, Fish and Game's chief of enforcement. Citizens who witness fish and game violations are encouraged to call the CAP hotline number 1-800-632-5999.

Idaho Offers Alternative Hunter Education Course

By Kent Henderson - Idaho Department of Fish and Game If you are interested in hunting, but taking the mandatory course with a bunch of ten and eleven year olds just does not sound appealing, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game offers two convenient alternatives. If you are self motivated and have some firearm and hunting knowledge or experience, you can take advantage of two options: a workbook option and an internet option. Both courses are designed to allow students to do much of the course at their convenience and are ideal for busy students, shift workers, business travelers or students needing extra time to study. Both courses require significant time to complete, but some students prefer their convenience and flexibility. "I work or have classes most evenings, so I opted for the Internet course which wasn't easy, but the most convenient for me," said Joe Slade, a University of Idaho student who recently received his Idaho hunting certificate. Both options also require the successful completion of an additional six- to eight-hour field day, which includes a 60 question Idaho-specific written exam, a field exercise and a live-fire exercise. Students must register in advance with their Fish and Game Regional Office to attend the required field day. The Internet Option is available at http://hunter-ed.com/id/. This course is interactive with animated features to help you better understand how firearms work. This portion of the course was designed for students who can read beyond an eighth grade level and who can work independently. If this describes you and you have an adequate computer, printer and Internet access, check it out. The workbook option requires students to read a manual and complete a 40-page workbook. Student manuals, workbooks and materials may be obtained for a refundable fee from your nearest Fish and Game office.

Ask Fish and Game

Q: Is there a way I can get more than one deer this year? A: There are several ways that make harvesting a second deer in Idaho possible. The most common is applying for an extra tag. If you look at your big game rules brochure you'll notice that some of the listed hunt areas are followed by an X. The tags available in these hunts are extra. If you draw one, you can use it in addition to your general season deer tag or a deer tag from another controlled hunt. The key is to apply for the extra tag separately from any other controlled hunt application. It is also possible to get a second deer by purchasing a leftover non-resident tag at the non-resident price, or by putting in for a depredation hunt.

Someone Who Made A Difference

IDAHO FALLS- We would all like to think that our lives have made a difference, but one eastern Idaho gentleman can rest assured that he has truly made a difference in the lives of nearly 4,000 hunter education students. On Thursday, May 19th the Idaho Fish & Game Commission will be recognizing Idaho Falls hunter education instructor James R. Greenhalgh as Idaho State Hunter Education Instructor of the Year for 2004. James Greenhalgh, or "Jim" as everyone calls him, has been a fixture with the hunter education program in the Idaho Falls area since 1992. Since that time he has volunteered his free time to personally lead 84 complete hunter education classes. According to Regional Conservation Educator Gregg Losinski, "When you figure that each class easily involves 30 to 40 hours of prep, classroom and range time, Jim has donated a big hunk of his live to keeping kids safe and creating future sportsmen." Jim Greenhalgh is one of those people who believe in giving things back to the community. Born in Chester, Idaho in 1943, he was the oldest of six children and enlisted in the United States Army in the fall of 1960. He served until the fall of 1966 and was honorably discharged. He still proudly serves his country and comrades in arms by serving as part of the leadership of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post and on the VFW color guard. Along with leading classes, Jim also assisted with another 85 classes being taught by other volunteer instructors. He also has served as part of the leadership of the Upper Snake Region Hunter Education Instructor Association, the most active group of its kind in the state and the only group to promote a junior instructor program.

Rainbow Trout Stocking Report

Personnel from Fish and Game's Nampa Hatchery will be releasing more than 94,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations during May. LOCATION NUMBER OF TROUT Alturas Lake - 9,000 Boise River (Boise) - 4,000 Boise River (Eagle to Middleton) - 2,000 Bull Trout Lake - 1,000 Bull Trout Lake #1 - 250 Bull Trout Lake #2 - 250 Bull Trout Lake #3 - 250 Caldwell Pond #1 - 400 Caldwell Pond #2 - 400 Crooked River - 1,000 Eagle Island Pond - 1,000 Ed's Pond - 250 Greenbelt Pond (Payette) - 500 Grimes Creek - 500 Lowman Ponds - 1,000 Marsing Pond - 500 Martin Lake - 500 McDevitt Pond (Meridian) - 500 Merrill Pond (Eagle) - 500 Mill Pond (Horseshoe Bend) - 500 Mores Creek - 500 Park Center Pond (Boise) - 1,000 Payette Lake - 20,000 Payette River, Middle Fork - 750 Perkins Lake - 500 Pettit Lake - 3,000 Quinn's Pond (Boise) - 500 Redwood Pond (Boise) - 250 Riverside Pond (Boise) - 500 Rotary Pond (Caldwell) - 1,000 Sagehen Reservoir - 12,000 Sawyer's Ponds (Emmett) - 1,000 Settler's Pond - 500 Silver Creek - 750 Stanley Lake - 14,000 Veteran's Pond (Boise) - 1,000 Visitor Center Pond (Idaho City) - 500 Warm Lake - 10,000 Wilson Spring (Nampa) - 600 Wilson Spring Ponds (Nampa) - 1,500 The number of trout actually released may be altered by weather, water conditions, equipment problems or schedule changes. If delays occur, trout will be stocked when conditions become favorable.