Press Release

June 2007

Ask the Conservation Officer (CO)

by Gary Hompland, Regional Conservation Officer

Question: "I have always struggled with the complexity of the fishing regulations and understanding the exceptions. I know I should just take the time to read the brochure from cover to cover, but are there any secrets to quickly help me find the regulations about specific waters?"

Answer: You raise an excellent point and many people struggle and agree that our regulations are complex and difficult to understand.

The reason for this complexity is mostly because the vastness of our state and our fishery resources. The fisheries management priorities across the state vary significantly from protection of threatened species such as wild salmon and bull trout to focused harvest on other species such as Kamloops and northern pike minnow. Many reservoirs in southern Idaho are irrigation reservoirs subject to de-watering or poor water quality during drought years. Most of these systems are managed for both cold water species such as trout and warm water species such as perch, crappie and bass.

The varied fish species, varied water conditions, and intent to provide quality angling opportunities to the public, while also providing some measure of protection for the resource, results in many exceptions in the fishing regulations.

However; there are a couple of items that can help anglers to quickly and accurately assess the fishing regulations on a questionable body of water.

The biggest help for anglers is understanding the philosophy of how the fishing regulations brochure is organized. Two items of special note are the "General Rules" and the "Exceptions to the General Rules."

Near the front of the 2006-2007 fishing brochure (pages 8-9) are two pages labeled "General Fishing Seasons" and "General Bag and Possession Limits" on the next page.

Super Hunt Winners Announced

Winners in the first of two Idaho Super Hunt drawings were picked June 15.

One Super Hunt Combo ticket was drawn that entitles the winner to hunt for one each elk, deer, antelope and moose. Twenty-five other winners were picked for single species with tags for eight elk, eight deer and eight antelope hunts as well as one moose hunt. Winners can participate in any open hunt this fall, following the rules for the hunts they choose, for example, archery-only or muzzleloader-hunts.

The official list of winners in the June 15 drawing is:

Super Hunt Combo:

- Mark R. Thornock, Germantown, Md.

Deer:

- David C. Leavitt, Meridian.

- Sean Burch, Nampa.

- Larry J. Lombard, Emmett.

- Richard Patrick, Parma.

- Tim Whited, Buhl.

- Matt Bell, Snoqualmie, Wash.

- Ryan Smith, Boise.

- Dennis Pahlisch, Bend, Ore.

Elk:

- Lucas B. Johnson, Inkom.

- Don Woods, Wilder.

- Daniel L. Canoy, Nampa.

- Don Burch, Nampa.

- Daniel Bunten, Elk Grove, Calif.

- Cory Kondeff, Star.

- Ron Bear, Bismark, N.D.

- Damon Cardoza, Boise.

Pronghorn:

- Larry J. Lombard, Emmett.

- Nickolas E. Cracolice, Melba.

- Stanley Riddle, Orofino.

- Ron Santucci, Eagle.

- Greg Harwood, Paul.

- Mark Seabaugh, Nampa.

- Harold Jones, Idaho Falls.

- Daniel Olson, Meridian.

Moose:

- Charles J. Jennings, Glendale, Ariz.

A second drawing will be August 15. Tickets for two elk, two deer, two antelope and one moose along with another Super Hunt Combo will be drawn.

Entries for the second Super Hunt and Super Hunt Combo drawing must be received at Fish and Game no later than August 10. Mail entries to IDFG License Section, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707.

Fish and Game Commissioners to Meet in Salmon

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet July 18 and 19 in Salmon.

A public comment period will begin at 7:30 p.m. on July 18.

The commissioners will consider, take action on, and hear presentations on a variety of items including the release of bighorn sheep tags for auction and lottery, the expenditure of animal damage control funds, legislative proposals and migratory game birds.

The commissioners also will discuss potential options for muzzleloader equipment rules.

The meeting will be at the Fish and Game regional office in Salmon.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at 208-324-4359 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-2529 (TDD).

Season Opens on Salmon River South Fork

The summer Chinook salmon fishing season on the Mainstem South Fork of the Salmon River opens Thursday, June 28.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission earlier in June adopted Idaho Fish and Game staff recommendations for a seven-day per week fishing season that would run until notice of closure.

The river is open from the mouth of Goat Creek upstream to a posted boundary about 100 yards downstream of the South Fork Salmon River weir and trap.

Fisheries managers will continue to assess the run and issue updates.

The only spring Chinook fishery that remains open is on the Upper Snake River from the Dug Bar boat ramp upstream to Hells Canyon Dam, where fishing remains open Fridays through Mondays only until further notice.

Fishing hours are from a half hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset, local time. Chinook anglers will be allowed to keep one fish daily, have three in their possession and keep 10 for the season.

Anglers must stop fishing when they have reached daily, possession or season limits. It is unlawful to take or attempt to take salmon by snagging. They may use only barbless hooks no larger than five-eights of an inch from point to shank.

Only Chinook marked with a scar from a clipped adipose fin may be kept.

All anglers, except residents younger than 14, must have a valid 2007 Idaho fishing license and salmon permit. Anglers are urged to check the Idaho 2007 Summer Chinook Salmon Seasons and Rules for details, available at license vendors.

Why Salmon Seasons are Closed

By Paul Janssen, Idaho Department of Fish and Game

"Say what! The salmon season is closing already? The river is full of salmon and fishing is just getting really good. How can that be?"

Does this comment sound familiar? It is one that Idaho Fish and Game staff members hear often, generally on the heels of an announcement closing a Chinook salmon fishing season in one of the handful of rivers in the state lucky enough to have a salmon season. Here's some background that should help you better understand the factors that can lead to a salmon season closure.

Each year, returning adult salmon that originated from salmon hatcheries-

that is, adipose-fin-clipped salmon-are split up three ways. The first priority in dividing up a salmon run is making sure that we fill to capacity each of the salmon hatcheries around the state. This allows for maximum smolt (ocean bound juvenile salmon) releases two years later. For example, the Rapid River Hatchery needs around 2,500 adult salmon and the McCall Fish Hatchery, which traps salmon in the South Fork of the Salmon River, needs around 1,500 adult salmon to secure the maximum number of salmon eggs that each hatchery can effectively raise to smolt size.

Numbers of migrating salmon are closely monitored at several of the dams along the Snake and Columbia rivers. These numbers are used to estimate the number of salmon returning to a given hatchery, such as Rapid River. When the estimates indicate that a specific hatchery quota will be met, the remaining "surplus" hatchery salmon are split 50-50 between tribal and non-tribal anglers. This year, an estimated 4,500 salmon were bound for Rapid River, providing a harvestable surplus of around 2,000 salmon. This allowed for the harvest of 1,000 salmon each by tribal and non-tribal anglers.

West Nile Virus Spotted In Idaho Again

It's that time of year again when folks who venture outdoors should take precautions against mosquito bites to keep from getting the West Nile virus.

Put some insect repellant in the old tackle box or in the daypack before heading outside.

West Nile virus is spread by mosquitoes. The virus was first discovered in 1999 in New York. Since then, it has spread westward and now is found in all 48 continental states. The virus showed up in Idaho at a commercial fish farm in the Hagerman valley in November 2003.

It hit Idaho with a vengeance last year, when nearly 1,000 people, 338 horses, 127 birds, including sage-grouse, and many other species were affected by the virus.

The best protection against the virus is to avoid mosquito bites. Simple tips for prevention include:

-Cover up exposed skin when outdoors.

-Apply insect repellent containing DEET and approved by the EPA to exposed skin and clothing. Follow instructions on the product label, especially for children under 12.

- Avoid outdoor activities at dawn and dusk when mosquitoes are most active.

- Eliminate standing water that may provide mosquitoes a place to breed.

- Empty birdbaths and clean decorative ponds every 3 to 6 days.

- Repair or install screens on doors and windows.

- If you have a horse, vaccinate it; one-third of horses infected by West Nile virus die.

- Hunters should wear latex gloves when field dressing and handling wild game.

- Cook meat thoroughly.

For information visit the Idaho Department of Agriculture's Website at: http://www.idahoag.us/Categories/Animals/animalHealth/healthdisease.php#WNV, or the Fish and Game Website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/manage_issues/wnv/.

Ask Fish and Game: Controlled Hunt Results

Q. When will Fish and Game start posting deer, elk and antelope controlled hunt results on the Website?

A. Winners of the first deer, elk, pronghorn, and fall bear drawing will be notified by July 10. Winners in the drawing will be mailed a postcard notification. It is, however, the responsibility of the hunter to find out if they were successful in drawing a controlled hunt permit. Results will also be available by July 10 on the Idaho Fish and Game Website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/.

Former Fisheries Chief Returns as Deputy Director

Virgil Moore, former chief of fisheries for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, is coming back to Idaho, 11 months after becoming director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Moore, 55, who left Idaho in August last year to take the job in Oregon, has been hired as deputy director of Idaho Fish and Game.

"Idaho Fish and Game is my family," Moore said when he left Fish and Game last year. "I'm moving to a different place, but I'll never leave my family."

Now he's moving back.

"We are thrilled Virgil is returning to Idaho Fish and Game," Director Cal Groen said. "He knows our operation inside out, having served in several regional positions, and as chief of two of our bureaus. He was a highly respected and effective leader while here, and his experience in Oregon makes him even better.

"His insight and his counsel will be invaluable as we plot our course and work through the challenges we face at Fish and Game," Groen said. "Virgil has outstanding administrative and managerial skills that will be a tremendous asset."

Moore resigned his position in Oregon on June 18, and expects to return to Idaho by late July or early August.

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, in 1952, he earned a bachelor's degree in education from Northwest Missouri State University in 1973. He taught high school biology in Missouri before moving to Idaho in 1974. In 1977 he received a master's degree in zoology from Idaho State University.

In 1977, Moore went to work for Idaho Fish and Game as a fisheries research biologist, working on Yellowstone cutthroat trout in the South Fork of the Snake River. He eventually held positions as state fisheries manager, fisheries research manager and communications bureau chief. And he was Fish and Game's fisheries chief for more than eight years.

Hunter Education Registration for Pocatello Area

Individuals interested in taking a hunter education or bowhunter education class in the Pocatello-Chubbuck area may register for classes from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, June 23, at Sportsman's Warehouse in Pocatello.

A list of courses will be available at the time of the sign up. Cost of the class is $8 per person.

Hunter education courses are taught by trained, volunteer instructors who adhere to statewide standards. Courses involve lectures and demonstrations, homework, field experiences, firing exercises and a written exam.

To buy a hunting license, anyone born on or after January 1, 1975, must pass a course, or show proof they have held a hunting license from another state.

Interest in archery hunting has increased dramatically, especially in the past decade. Because of important differences between hunting with a firearm and hunting with archery equipment, anyone planning to buy an archery permit in Idaho must also complete an approved bowhunter education course or show evidence that they were previously licensed to hunt with archery equipment in another state.

For more information on Idaho's hunter education program, visit Fish and Game's website at http://fishandgame.idagho.gov or contact Terri Bergmeier at 208-251-6510.

Salmon Season Closed on Clearwater, Lochsa

The spring Chinook salmon season has closed on the upper mainstem Clearwater River, the South Fork Clearwater River, and the Lochsa River.

The harvestable target of hatchery fish passing through the upper mainstem Clearwater River, the South Fork Clearwater River and the Lochsa River had been reached by June 13.

Earlier this month, fishing closed on the lower mainstem Clearwater River, on the North Fork, and on the Little Salmon River.

The only spring Chinook fishery that remains open is on the Upper Snake River from the Dug Bar boat ramp upstream to Hells Canyon Dam. Fishing remains open Friday through Monday only until further notice.

Fish managers will continue weekly assessments and updates.

Fishing hours are from a half-hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset, local time. Chinook anglers will be allowed to keep one fish daily, have three in their possession and keep 10 for the season.

Anglers must stop fishing when they have reached daily, possession or season limits. It is unlawful to take or attempt to take salmon by snagging. They may use only barbless hooks no larger than five-eights of an inch from point to shank.

Only Chinook marked with a scar from a clipped adipose fin may be kept.

All anglers, except residents younger than 14, must have a valid 2007 Idaho fishing license and salmon permit.

Super Hunt Winners Drawn

Winners in the first of two Idaho Super Hunt drawings were picked June 15.

The winning entries were drawn by Idaho Fish and Game Director Cal Groen and Commissioner Bob Barowsky with assistance from Jaysee Willmorth, 10, and her sister, Justeena, 12, of Fruitland.

Jaysee and Justeena attended the drawing with their parents Sue and Joe Willmorth, who were hoping to win a moose tag. They didn't win, but Don Burch of Nampa, the only winner in attendance, won an elk tag.

They were among more than a dozen hunters in attendance for the Friday morning drawing in the Trophy Room at Fish and Game headquarters in Boise.

The winners will be announced when the names have been verified.

One Super Hunt Combo ticket was drawn that entitles the winner to hunt for one each elk, deer, antelope and moose. Twenty-five other winners were picked for single species with tags for eight elk, eight deer and eight antelope hunts as well as one moose hunt. Winners can participate in any open hunt this fall, following the rules for the hunts they choose, for example, archery-only or muzzleloader-only hunts.

A second drawing will be August 15. Tickets for two elk, two deer, two antelope and one moose along with another Super Hunt Combo will be drawn.

Entries for the second Super Hunt and Super Hunt Combo drawing must be received at Fish and Game no later than August 10. Mail entries to IDFG License Section, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707.

Tickets are available online at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/superhunt/, at license vendors and Fish and Game offices, or by phone at 800-554-8685 or 800-824-3729.

Wolf Report: Wolves Kill Sheep

Federal wolf managers are looking for the wolves that killed 15 sheep and injured two guard dogs on a Sawtooth National Forest grazing allotment.

Wolves killed 10 more sheep in the same area over the previous week.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services confirmed the kills on June 3. On June 7, Wildlife Services also confirmed that a wolf killed three lambs on private land near New Meadows. Efforts are under way in response to these incidents to remove the depredating wolves.

Representatives of various interests, including livestock owners, outfitters, hunters, environmental and wildlife advocates met with Idaho Fish and Game officials June 14 in Boise to discuss a wolf harvest management plan. Though they have widely ranging perspectives on wolves, they agreed on several points, including that control is needed in areas of conflicts between wolves and livestock.

They also agreed that widespread tolerance for wolf control would be higher if wolves are allowed to thrive in some areas; a wolf management plan should meet the needs of livestock owners, hunters and outfitters but also withstand critical national scrutiny.

Fish and Game officials are working on plans for proposed hunting seasons on wolves pending their removal from the endangered species list. They expect to have a proposal ready for Idaho Fish and Game Commission review by the fall.

Actual delisting could be a year or more away. Any wolf hunting seasons would first have to be approved by the Commission.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers the wolf recovered in the northern Rocky Mountains and has started the process to remove the wolf from the endangered species list. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's weekly wolf reports as well as annual reports, can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov/.