Press Release

May 2009

Take Me Fishing Trailers

Idaho Fish and Game's two new fishing trailers are beginning their tours of local ponds in Southwest Idaho and the Magic Valley this week.

The trailers are stocked with fishing gear and bait, and they're hard to miss with their bright colorful fish illustrations. The idea is to make the equipment and instruction available to children who do not have a family tradition of fishing.

"The goal is to get kids excited about fishing, " said Evin Oneale, Fish and Game conservation educator. "We've got a serious situation around the country right now where kids are not getting outside as much as they could, and fishing is a great way to get kids introduced to the outdoors."

A schedule for both trailers will be posted on Fish and Game's website and in local newspapers.

The Best Day of School

By Mark Rhodes, Idaho Department of Fish and Game

I can remember a few of my school days, but I don't remember any quite like this one.

On May 28, about 40 fifth-graders from Spirit Lake Elementary spent their "school day" at Round Lake State Park, north of Coeur d'Alene. The curriculum for the day included how to remove the hook from the mouth of a bullhead without getting poked, what type of habitat is needed by a bull trout, and how to cast an open-faced spinning rod.

Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers met the school bus full of students, teachers and some accompanying parents in the mid-morning, and the day of fun and sunshine began.

Senior Conservation Officer Dan Hislop had organized this event with Spirit Lake Elementary fifth-grade teachers. He made sure there was plenty of fishing gear and sunshine. The students and teachers made sure there were plenty of hot dogs and chips.

Senior Conservation Officer Tom Whalen spent time with each group and taught them about the needs that all fish have, particularly bull trout and other threatened species. The students all played a game that taught them about predators, prey and habitat, and they then practiced their fish identification on a cooler full of different species of fish.

After learning the things they needed to know, the real fun started. We went fishing. Every child caught at least one fish, and many caught more than a dozen. The scramble to get fish off the hooks and worms on the hooks was interrupted only by the occasional "snarl" of fishing line, the malfunction of a reel, or the race to look at a turtle.

Several students told me they had never caught a fish before, and many more told me this was probably the best day of school they ever had.

Ask Fish and Game: Bass Limits?

Q. What's the limit on bass, and is it the same for largemouth and smallmouth??

A. In Idaho, largemouth and smallmouth bass are lumped together in the rule book. Limits are for the total of largemouth and smallmouth bass together. The bag limit and size restrictions depend on the water. For general rules waters, the limit is six bass. North of the Salmon River there is no length limit; south of the Salmon none under 12 inches may be taken. In quality bass waters, no bass may be kept until after July 1, and after that the limit is two, none between 12 and 16 inches. In waters managed for trophy bass, the limit is two fish, none under 20 inches. There are some exceptions so check the rules brochure for the water you want to fish. If that water is not listed under "exceptions," then the general bass rule applies.

Wildlife Workshop for Educators in Post Falls

Teachers,don't let your summer pass you by - Get WILD.

Idaho Fish and Game will host a WILD about Early Learners workshop for educators of pre-Kindergarten to second grade to help them learn fun and exciting ways to teach wildlife conservation in the classroom. The workshop can also be taken by teachers of older grades, scout leaders, daycare providers, church counselors and others interested in sharing nature with children.

The workshop will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. August 11 and 12 at Cabela's of Post Falls, 101 N. Cabela Way, Post Falls.

Participants will receive an Idaho WILD about Early Learners Guide which is full of fun, educational activities for younger students. In the specialized guide, teachers will find hands-on activities, music and movement, resource lists, home connections and much more. Workshop participants will also receive the activity-filled Project WILD and WILD Aquatics guides.

Cost is $35, which includes all guides, supplemental materials and a potato bar lunch. College credit is available for an additional $50-60. Idaho STARS certification is also available.

To register, contact Lori Adams, Project WILD Coordinator, at 208-287-2889 or by e-mail at More information can be found on the education link on the Department's website at

Moose, Sheep and Goat Results Available

Results of the drawings for moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goats controlled hunts now are available along with drawing odds.

To find the results go to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Website at for drawing results, and for odds.

Results and odds also are available at local Fish and Game offices.

There are still a few days to apply for other big game fall controlled hunts. The deadline to apply for deer, elk, pronghorn and black bear is June 5.

For applications go to; vendors and Fish and Game offices; over the phone at 800-554-8685; or by mail to any Fish and Game office.

The main office is: Idaho Department of Fish and Game, License Section, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707.

To help plan hunts, hunters can use the hunt planner on the Fish and Game Website at:, to zero in on where, when and what species to hunt this fall.

Ask the Conservation Officer

By Gary Hompland, Regional Conservation Officer

Question: "What's the deal with this new sticker being required on boats? I heard it had something to do with snails so I thought it would be a fish and game issue."

Answer: You are no probably referring to the Idaho Invasive Species Fund sticker.

The 2009 Legislature adopted a proposal by the Idaho Department of Agriculture to develop a program to protect Idaho's rivers, lakes, and streams from aquatic invasive species that have already caused significant damage across the country. These plants and animals pose a serious threat to Idaho waterways, fisheries, irrigation systems, and recreation and are transported between bodies of water inside boat live wells, bilges, on boating equipment and on boat trailers.

Invasive species issues involve several state agencies but the Idaho Department of Agriculture's Invasive Species Program manages the fund. Since boats are involved with transport of the invasive organisms the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, the agency that oversees boat registration, will issue the stickers and collect the fees.

A brochure from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation was sent to all owners of boats registered in Idaho. The brochure informs boaters about the new laws, sticker requirements, and where they can be obtained. To-date the stickers must be obtained through the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation by mail or electronically on their website at

The annual cost is $10 per boat for residents owning motor or sail powered vessels, $20 for nonresident motorized vessels, and $5 for non-motorized vessels. Only inflatable vessels less than 10 feet long are exempt.

Leftover Moose Permits Available

Idaho Fish and Game has eight leftover moose controlled hunt permits available.

The application period runs from June 15 through June 25. Any permits left over from this drawing will be available first-come first-served beginning July 10.

Permits available are:

  • 1 in hunt number 3046, hunt area 12-3.
  • 2 in hunt number 3047, hunt area 12-4.
  • 2 in hunt number 3058, hunt area 16A.
  • 1 in hunt number 3060, hunt area 19.
  • 1 in hunt number 3063, hunt area 20A.
  • 1 in hunt number 3119, hunt area 67-1.

Check the moose, mountain goat and bighorn sheep rules brochure and the controlled hunt information section for details on each hunt and specific controlled hunt information.

For a list of hunt numbers and leftover permits available, go to the controlled hunt page:

Controlled hunt applications may be submitted at any hunting and fishing license vendor, Fish and Game office, with a credit card by calling 1-800-55HUNT5 or 1-800-824-3729, or online at

The resident controlled hunt permit and application fee is $180.75. The nonresident controlled hunt tag and application fee is $2101.75. These fees include a nonrefundable application fee of $6.25 for Idaho residents and $14.75 for nonresidents.

Application and tag fees must be included with applications for moose hunts.

There is a service charge for processing phone-in and Internet applications. The phone-in charge is 3 percent of the transaction plus $5.50; the Internet charge is 3 percent of the transaction plus $3.50.

Applicants also must have a valid Idaho hunting license.

Go Fish, No License Needed

The one day each year that a fishing license is not required for anyone is Free Fishing Day - this year on Saturday, June 13.

To go fishing on any other day, anglers will need to buy a fishing license.

Children under age 14 never need a fishing license. All other fishing regulations still apply. Be sure to check the regulations for the area you intend to fish.

Never been fishing before? No problem. Fishing events, sponsored by Idaho Fish and Game regional offices, are planned all around the state. Fishing rods are usually provided, as well as some basic instruction on how to fish.

Fish and Game personnel and volunteers will be on hand to help first time anglers discover the joys of fishing at the following free events:

Early Hunt Applicants Win Cash

Two Idaho hunters will have some extra cash for gear and hunting supplies this fall.

They were the winners drawn from early applicants in the big game controlled hunt application period, which ends June 5. Those who applied by May 10 were eligible to win $550. The $450 prize was awarded for filing by May 25.

The winner of the $550 early controlled hunt application prize drawing was Levi Jarvis of Ammon. The winner of the $450 prize was Travis Jones of St. Anthony.

The drawing is sponsored by the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation and funded by Outdoor Central. Outdoor Central is the contractor for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's computer license sales.

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.

By encouraging the early application process, the Foundation and Outdoor Central hope to avoid overloading the computer terminals at license vendors in the final days of the application period. This was the sixth year for the cash drawing.

Leave Baby Animals Alone

The beginning of June is the peak fawning and calving season for Idaho's deer, elk and pronghorn.

With campers and other outdoors enthusiasts heading out to the woods, well-meaning folks often find baby birds and other animals that seem to be abandoned. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking people to leave them alone.

"We have people calling us or bringing baby animals to the office every year," said Regan Berkley, Fish and Game regional wildlife biologist for the Magic Valley Region. "Even though their intentions are good, it isn't the best thing for the animals."

Mother animals often leave their young as they forage. If they return to their young to find people milling around, they will often leave the area and come back when the people are gone. If people have taken the baby animal, the mother will return to find her baby gone.

"If people bring young animals into the office we don't have many options," Berkley said. "We can attempt to return them back to where they were found, and hope their mother finds them, or we can see if any area zoos want them.

"During early summer, the baby is simply too young to survive on its own," she said. "Placing the animal in a zoo also doesn't always work, because zoos don't always have space for additional animals, particularly at this time of year."

If the animal is successfully placed in a zoo, it means the animal is removed from the wild forever. If neither returning the animal to the wild nor sending it to a zoo are good options, biologists have to consider whether euthanasia is the most humane thing to do.

"Basically, the only really good option is for the baby to stay in the wild in the first place," Berkley said.

F&G to Conduct Two-Year Study of Elk Movement

In the late spring of 2009, Idaho Fish and Game plans to launch a two-year study of the timing, duration and direction of seasonal migrations for elk summering in Unit 61 in Island Park area.

"This work will differ from previous research efforts in the Island Park Zone because we will capture and radio-collar newborn elk calves on summer range, monitor their survival, investigate the cause of mortalities, and monitor their seasonal movements throughout the year," Regional Wildlife Biologist Shane Roberts said.

Fish and Game hopes to determine what portion of the elk population in Unit 61 winters in Montana and what portion is available for harvest by Idaho hunters.

During 2009-2010, the research will focus on elk summering around Henry's Lake in the eastern portion of Unit 61, while research during 2010-2011 will focus on elk summering in the western portion of Unit 61.

Idaho and Montana have different elk management objectives in their elk hunting districts or zones adjacent to this stretch of the state border. While Idaho is reducing harvest opportunity in response to a declining wintering elk population on the Sand Creek desert, Montana has increased hunting opportunity in many of its southwest hunting districts in response to agricultural depredations.

A better understanding of seasonal elk movements and harvest availability in Unit 61 is crucial to effective elk management on both sides of the Idaho-Montana border.

Migratory elk populations in Upper Snake Region often cross state boundaries during some portion of their seasonal movements, and it is no secret that elk move between Idaho and Montana along the northern boundary of the Island Park Elk Zone.

Fishing Trailer Scheduled for Local Pond Tour

Stocked with equipment and information, Idaho Fish and Game's new fishing trailer will soon be making the circuit at local ponds across the region, promoting fishing as part of a healthy outdoor lifestyle.

The trailer, its exterior wrapped with vibrant fish illustrations, is hard to miss.

"It's eye-catching for sure, both for kids and adults," Fish and Game conservation educator Evin Oneale said. "That's what we wanted; something to grab an adult's attention and help get a kid excited about fishing."

But the important stuff is inside the trailer.

"The idea is to bring fishing equipment and fishing expertise to what we call our 'bicycle fisheries,' the local ponds," Oneale said. "All kids and their parents have to do is show up."

"We hope our efforts will get kids excited about fishing and help build a new generation of anglers," Oneale said.

The trailer's inaugural event will be at Merrill Pond in Eagle on Thursday evening, June 4, followed by a stop at McDevitt Pond in Meridian on June 6.

"Everyone is welcome, but we want to make a point of inviting kids and their parents who have an interest in fishing but lack the equipment and perhaps the knowledge to get started," Oneale said.

Oneale worked with local Eagle artist Ward Hooper to develop the trailer artwork.

"I'm hoping Ward can stop by the Merrill Pond event to visit with folks and admire his handiwork," Oneale said. "He really did a wonderful job for us."

To learn more about the trailer, contact the Fish and Game Nampa office at 208-465-8465.

Southwest Region Fishing Trailer Schedule