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.