Press Release

August 2008

Steelhead Season Opens on the Salmon, Snake Rivers

Steelhead harvest fishing season opens Monday, September 1, on the Salmon, the Little Salmon and the lower Snake River.

The season opens on the Salmon River from its mouth upstream to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream from the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery weir, near Stanley; on the Little Salmon River from its mouth upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 bridge near Smokey Boulder Road; and on the Snake River from the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.

The steelhead harvest season opened August 1 on the Clearwater River from its mouth to the Memorial Bridge on U.S. Highway 12 near Lewiston.

In addition, the catch-and-release steelhead season still is open above Memorial Bridge on the mainstem and Middle Fork upstream to Clear Creek; on the North Fork Clearwater River, from its mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam; and on the South Fork Clearwater River, from its mouth upstream to the confluence of American and Red Rivers. The harvest season on these waters opens October 15.

The steelhead limit on the Clearwater is two fish per day, six in possession and 20 for the season. Elsewhere, the limit is three per day, nine in possession and 20 for the season. Once limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing, even-catch-and release.

Anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit.

Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks, and may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin, evidenced by a healed scar.

All other steelhead must be released unharmed immediately.

Waterfowl and Sage-Grouse Rules Available

The 2008-2009 seasons and rules for waterfowl and sage-grouse are now available.

The waterfowl brochure will be sent out to license vendors and Fish and Game offices statewide following the Labor Day holiday.

Sage-grouse pamphlets also are available from license vendors and Fish and Game offices.

Both are available on the Fish and Game Web site. Sage-grouse is at; and waterfowl is at

The sage-grouse season opens September 20.

The waterfowl season opens October 4 in northern and eastern Idaho, and October 11 in the southwestern part of the state. The scaup season opens October 25 in the northern and eastern parts of the state, and November 1 in the southwest.

A waterfowl youth hunt for goose, duck, coot and snipe will be September 27 and 28. The season is closed on canvasbacks.

Waterfowl hunters 16 or older need to buy a federal Migratory Duck Stamp. They are available at Idaho Department of Fish and Game offices, local post offices and some hunting license vendors. All waterfowl hunters also must buy a migratory bird validation, available from all Fish and Game license vendors.

For additional rules, consult the 2008 waterfowl rules brochure.

Idaho's Sockeye Salmon Take Center Stage Tuesday

Sockeye salmon will be in the spotlight Tuesday, September 2, when Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter takes part in two special events marking Idaho's largest sockeye run in more than five decades.

More than 540 adult sockeye have returned to the Sawtooth Valley this summer. Last year four returned, and the average over the previous nine years is 39 sockeye.

First, the governor and Idaho Fish and Game Director Cal Groen will release over 50 adult sockeye into Redfish Lake to spawn naturally. The release will take place at 9 a.m. at the boat ramp on the east side of the lake.

At 11:30 a.m., the governor celebrates the opening of a new state-of-the-art sockeye spawning facility at Eagle Fish Hatchery, part of the Snake River sockeye recovery effort led by Fish and Game and the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes.

Otter will join officials from Fish and Game, Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, the Bonneville Power Administration and NOAA Fisheries at Eagle Fish Hatchery, 1800 S. Trout Rd. in Eagle, to cut the ribbon on the new facility. It is designed to double the capacity of the captive breeding program to further jumpstart the recovery of Idaho's sockeye salmon.

The sockeye captive breeding program started in May 1991, months before the sockeye was listed as an endangered species. For information about sockeye and the breeding program go to the Fish and Game Web site:

Dead Fish Swimming

Like their brothers the sockeye, kokanee are driven by an irresistible urge to spawn.

That urge has driven about 200,000 kokanee up the South Fork Boise River, but their way to spawning areas is blocked by a fish control weir about five miles upstream from Pine.

The river, nearly 100 yards across here, is teeming with red fish - most of them only 8 to 9 inches long. Most of them will be thwarted in their natural drive, and all of them will die in a few days.

It's all in the name of improving the kokanee fishery in Anderson Ranch Reservoir. Idaho Fish and Game managers want to limit the number of fish passing the weir into spawning habitat to about 20,000 fish.

"By limiting the number of fish that are spawning, we hope to reduce the number of young produced so the fish grow bigger in the future," Southwest regional fisheries biologist Lance Hebdon said. "Our target is to get spawning kokanee in the 12- to 13-inch range, similar to what we have in Lucky Peak. Kokanee anglers frequently tell us they prefer these larger fish."

And by letting them die naturally in the stream they will return nutrients to a system low in nutrients, in turn helping to improve ecosystem health as well as other fisheries.

Kokanee are part of the Pacific salmon family, which means they die after they spawn, Hebdon said. Southwest Idaho has four big kokanee fisheries - Anderson Ranch, Deadwood, Arrowrock and Lucky Peak reservoirs. Kokanee are not native to any of these waters and were introduced in all four.

Lucky Peak is stocked with hatchery kokanee and provides a solid fishery, with good size fish. Kokanee are trapped at Deadwood Reservoir to collect eggs that are raised in hatcheries and used to supply kokanee fisheries across the state, including Lucky Peak, Ririe and Devils Creek Reservoirs and Coeur d'Alene Lake.

WILD about Trout in the Classroom Workshop

Do you teach science? Are you looking for an exciting, hands-on way to engage your students in biology, chemistry or ecology?

Sign up now for a WILD about Trout in the Classroom workshop from 4 to 9 p.m. Friday, September 19, and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, September 20, at the MK Nature Center in Boise.

This workshop is designed for classroom teachers who want to raise trout in a classroom aquarium, a program made possible through a partnership between Trout Unlimited and Idaho Fish and Game. For more information go to this link on the Fish and Game website:

The workshop costs $20; university credit is available for an additional fee.

For information call Amy Parrish at Fish and Game at 208-287-2833.

Ask Fish and Game: Forest Grouse Limits

Q. I have a question about what constitutes an aggregate of eight grouse after opening day if four is the daily limit. Is that eight in an aggregate of a group of hunters? Eight in personal possession at a time, i.e. in my fridge? Do I need to eat those eight before shooting more?

A. Eight in the aggregate means each hunter can have a total of eight grouse in any combination of dusky (blue), ruffed or spruce, in his or her possession, "while in the field or being transported to final place of consumption or storage." The refrigerator doesn't count.

Ask the Conservation Officer (CO)

by Gary Hompland, Regional Conservation Officer

Question: "Last fall I was told PowerBelt muzzle loader projectiles were not legal to use in muzzleloader-only big game hunts. Last week I heard they are legal, what is the truth?"

Answer: In February 2008 officials at PowerBelt Bullets requested a review of their pure lead series of muzzleloader projectile to determine if they were legal for muzzle-loader big game hunting in Idaho.

A review of the technical specifications of the PowerBelt pure lead series projectile indicates it meets the minimum diameter specifications, is composed of lead or lead alloy, and is non-jacketed.

The Department and the Commission decided the plastic gas check on the pure lead series did not meet the definition of a sabot. A sabot is a sleeve surrounding a projectile (bullet) allowing it to be fired from a firearm with a larger bore. Smaller, lighter bullets can be fired at high velocities from muzzleloaders using a sabot. Commission rules prohibit the use of sabots.

As a result, the Commission and the Department have authorized PowerBelt lead series for muzzleloader big game hunting in Idaho for 2008.

Reference Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission Rules in the Idaho Administrative Bulletin at

If you have any further questions you may call the Magic Valley Regional Office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at (208)324-4350 or e-mail us at the Fish and Game web site at

Fish and Game Helicopter Flights Announced

Idaho Department of Fish and Game fisheries biologists are taking to the air next week in the Salmon Region.

This year's annual Chinook salmon spawning ground counts will take place on area streams on Tuesday, September 2 and Wednesday, September 3. There will be low level helicopter flights on the Upper Salmon River, Yankee Fork Salmon River, East Fork Salmon River, Middle Fork Salmon River, Lemhi River, Valley Creek, Panther Creek, and the Pahsimeroi River.

The spawning counts help fisheries biologists determine the trends in Chinook populations around the region. This is the 51st year of the aerial counts.

F&G Not At Its Usual Spot at the Eastern Idaho State Fair

State fairs are steeped in tradition, whether it is the livestock judging, carnival rides or the food booths.

One of the enduring traditions of the Eastern Idaho State Fair is to stop by the Idaho Fish and Game booth to check out the stuffed heads and the fish tanks. This year the Fish and Game will be at the fair, but the traditional booth will be shut down so that staff can operate the Citizens Against Poaching trailer.

The CAP Trailer is a traveling hall of shame, showing wildlife that was illegally taken from the citizens of Idaho. The trailer this year will have a prime position located on the midway near the main entrance.

Two years ago the CAP trailer made its initial appearance at the fair, but the location was rather remote and relatively few fair goers discovered the trailer. Those who did find it, really were fascinated by what they saw.

Because the old real estate adage "Location, Location, Location" really has validity, Fish and Game decided it would be worth spending the extra time and money to locate a spot at the fair that would allow for more exposure.

"Our traditional booth has always been a popular destination at the fair, but this year's CAP trailer location will put us smack dab in the main traffic flow of the fair," said Regional Conservation Educator Gregg Losinski, one of the individuals responsible for getting things together at the fair for Fish and Game.

The goal of the CAP Trailer is to help create a public awareness of what wildlife is being stolen from Idaho residents by those who choose to poach.

"We want the public to know that we really depend on their help so that we can protect the natural resources that belong to us all," Losinski said.

The animals on display in the trailer are from poaching cases that took place on the eastern side of the state. Two similar trailers have been created for the Western and Northern portions of the state.

Upland Game Seasons Open

Fall upland hunting starts Monday, September 1, with seasons for mourning doves, forest grouse and sandhill cranes as well as cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares.

Hunters will find upland hunting rules and shooting times in the current Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey Seasons and Rules brochure at license vendors and Fish and Game offices as well as on the department Website at

Shooting hours for doves and sandhill cranes are one half-hour before sunrise to sunset, with legal times for each day of the 30 day season listed on the mourning dove flier. Times also are available on the Fish and Game Website listed above.

Dove limits are 10 daily with 20 in possession after the first day. A $1.75 federal migratory bird harvest information program validation is required for dove and crane hunting. Nontoxic shot is not required.

The application period for controlled sandhill crane hunts has passed.

The season for forest grouse, which includes ruffed, spruce and blue grouse, runs from September 1 through December 31. The daily limit is four, whether all of one or mixed species, and eight in possession after the first day. Only a valid hunting license is required for hunting forest grouse.

Seasons for cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hares runs from September 1 through February 28, 2009, for cottontails and through March 31, 2009, for hares. The daily bag limit for both is eight, with 16 in possession after the first day.

There is no season on pygmy rabbits. To distinguish, note that cottontail tails are dark above and white underneath and the pygmy's tail is buffy gray with no white. The cottontail is more than a foot long, and the pygmy is less than one foot.

Contact your local regional office to determine whether pygmy rabbits are found in your hunting area.

Controlled Hunt Drawing Results Online

Results of the second controlled hunt drawing for elk, deer, antelope and bear are available online.

Results can be found on the Idaho Fish and Game Website at Applicants can enter their hunting license numbers to find out instantly how they did in the drawing. For controlled hunt drawing odds, go to:

Leftover permits are now on sale over the counter. To find out what permits are left go to:

Hunters can buy permits and tags at any Fish and Game office, license vendor, by telephone at 800-554-8685 or 800-824-3729, or online at

No bear hunt permits are available.

Please check the Big Game Rules brochure and the controlled hunt information section for details on each hunt and specific controlled hunt information.

Hunters can use Fish and Game's hunt planner on the Website at: to plan those fall hunts.

What Do Residents Want in Sportsman's Package?

Idaho Fish and Game developed the Sportsman's Package several years ago to provide resident hunters and anglers with a convenient all-encompassing license and permit package at a discount.

Since then, Fish and Game has added a few permits, such as a two-pole fishing permit, which are not included in the Sportsman's Package. And several sportsmen have requested changes in the package to include only the most commonly used licenses, tags and permits.

Fish and Game is reviewing the package and wants to know what hunters and anglers would like in the package. It they could customize their own Sportsman's Package what would it include?

To find out, Fish and Game is soliciting public comments. Go to the questionnaire at:, or ask a local Fish and Game office to print out a form that can be turned in or mailed to Sportsman's Package, IDFG, P.O. Box 25, Boise ID 83707.