Press Release

August 2008

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.

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.

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.

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.

Outdoor Kids: The Misunderstood Carp

By Kelton Hatch, Idaho Department of Fish & Game

To Westerners, carp are possibly one of the most overlooked fish.

Often referred to a trash fish, the common carp is one of the most sought after fish in many other parts of the world.

Ancestors of the common carp found in Idaho are from the Caspian Sea region and East Asia. It is not known exactly when carp were brought to the United States from Europe, probably the mid to late 1800s.

The typical carp's back is olive-brown to reddish brown, with the sides becoming silvery-bronze, brassy or olive-gold. The belly is yellow or yellow-white. Most carp are bronze-gold to golden yellow on the sides and yellowish white on the belly.

Most carp are heavily scaled, but two genetic mutants show either few, extremely large scales, the "mirror carp," or no scales at all, the "leather carp."

Carp are the largest member of the minnow family. Carp generally grow to about 30 inches and 10 to 15 pounds, but they can weigh up to 60 pounds.

Carp are hardy and tolerant of a wide variety of conditions but generally favor large water bodies with slow flowing or standing water and soft bottom sediments.

Adults are omnivorous. Food items include aquatic plants, algae, insect/fish larvae, crustaceans, mollusks, and even small fish. A typical feeding method is to disturb the bottom material with its snout and pick up the food items that are dislodged. Carp feeding activity in shallow waters can be easily identified because of the silt clouds that are created.

Adults uproot and destroy submerged aquatic vegetation and therefore may be detrimental to duck and native fish populations.

Common carp begin spawning in late April and continue into June over aquatic vegetation. Large females release between 100,000 to 500,000 eggs and really large females can release up to two million eggs.

First Idaho Master Naturalist Chapter Formed

Idaho's first Master Naturalist chapter formed this summer in Fremont County.

Residents in the Island Park area formed the Henrys Fork Chapter of the Idaho Master Naturalist Program, a new volunteer program led by Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Master naturalists receive 40 hours of training and then volunteer 40 hours of their time toward conservation for program certification.

The program was developed to encourage Idahoans to learn more about the natural world and become involved in conservation in their community.

Participants have donated their time to Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Parks and Recreation and other agencies in an effort to support local research and to educate the public about conservation of natural resources.

Subjects covered in the training classes included ecological concepts, wetland ecology, plants, forest ecology, mammology, weather, entomology, aquatic ecology, fishes, rangeland management, land use and ownership, herpetology, birds and more.

The Island Park program was spearheaded by Mary Van Fleet, a local Island Park resident. Nancy Olson, Anne Marie Miller and Sue McKenna also helped organized the chapter with the direction of Sara Focht, Fish and Game's statewide program leader and program developer.

Organizations involved in helping to start the chapter included the Henrys Fork Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, The Nature Conservancy, and Idaho Fish and Game.

To find out if there is a Master Naturalist chapter in your community or to find out how to start one, contact Focht at Fish and Game in Boise at 208-921-6933 or