Press Release

June 2010

Ask Fish and Game: Salmon Fishing in Closed Waters

Q. Can I still fish catch-and-release for salmon in a river section that's closed to salmon fishing?

A. No. It is illegal to fish for salmon in areas closed to salmon fishing - including catch-and-release. You can fish for other species in waters that also have salmon. But any unintentionally hooked salmon must be released immediately. If you fish with salmon gear in a closed area, a conservation officer may think you are fishing for salmon and cite you for it.

Come Help the M K Nature Center Celebrate its 20th Anniversary

The Morrison Knudsen Nature Center celebrates 20 years of service this July.

The Nature Center is best known for the one-of-a-kind Face-to-Fish encounters it provides; hence the local references to "the Fish Park."

The 550-foot streamwalk is the "heart and soul" of the Center's mini-ecosystem. The natural landscaping on 4.6 acres of a former landfill and later a baseball "stadium" now serves as an attractant for a variety of wildlife, including, mink, beaver, herons, foxes, mule deer and hordes of song birds; these residents and visitors create incredible wildlife (and plant) viewing opportunities in the heart of Boise, "on the greenbelt."

Opened to the public in 1990, the center was designed to provide wildlife enjoyment and education for all visitors. Our "walk-on" visitation of about 200,000 annually, includes people from all over the world. In addition, Nature Center staff provides top-notch educational programs for 10,000 children, teachers and parents each year. The focus is on getting children outside and connected to the natural world. Admission to public is free, and the programs are one of the best educational values in the valley.

The Nature Center plays host to several special events each year, but the signature event, which is a collaborative effort between private, government and tribal entities, is Idaho Salmon and Steelhead Days each September. Now in its 15th year, this three-day event schools almost 2,000 fifth-graders a year in the ways of salmon and steelhead.

The Nature Center will begin the 20th anniversary celebration with Face-To-Fish Days, July 8 through 10. July 8 is a media day dedicated to recognizing the Center as a valuable community commodity. On July 9 and 10, the Nature Center will open its doors to the public to give them a taste of what the Center offers children from schools, scouts, daycares, camps, and churches.

Project WILD: It's Not Just for Teachers

Nature and the outdoors are great for kids. Find out ways to take your children or grandchildren outside to learn about wildlife.

WILD about Early Learners offers teachers, scout leaders, parents and grandparents great opportunities to share wildlife with youngsters. Fun, easy-to-use lessons teach children about many of nature's wonders.

The Idaho Fish and Game workshop is offered for adults on August 3 and 4 in Boise. Cost of the class is $35, and includes many extras, such as three comprehensive guides; including one designed especially for Idaho children.

Also offered by Idaho Fish and Game is WILD about Elk on Thursday and Friday, July 15 and 16 at the scenic University of Idaho Field Campus in McCall. This class offers a chance to learn much about elk in our state. Off campus cost is $45 - on-campus class is $75.

One optional university credit is available at both classes.

Call or e-mail Lori Adams at lori.adams@idfg.idaho.gov or 287-2889 to find out more.

Peregrine Chicks Banded in Boise

On a recent June morning, protective peregrine parents dived and screeched at Idaho Fish and Game biologists who banded four young peregrine falcons hatched on a building ledge in downtown Boise.

Tuesday morning, June 15, all four chicks got a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service band on their right leg and each of the bands is color-coded to make identification easier.

Peregrine falcons have nested in downtown Boise for the past 20 years. Most years they have successfully reared their young on the 14th floor ledge of the One Capitol Center building at the corner of 10th and Main in downtown Boise.

This spring the Peregrine parents are raising four young - three males and one female.

People from Boise and around the world are watching their every step.

This is the second year a webcam in the nest box is streaming live video over the Internet, allowing viewers to watch in real-time as eggs are laid, young hatched and parents care and feed their young. Go to http://www.peregrinefund.org/falconcam/.

The day the chicks were banded, employees from Fiberpipe, a local internet services company, installed a microphone and a second camera. The new camera was installed above the nest box to provide a secondary view of the young birds and will go live when they begin exploring the ledge outside the box.

The adult female was protective of the chicks and defended aggressively throughout the process of banding the chicks and installing the new equipment.

All four of the young peregrines are in great condition and have been well cared for by the parents. A variety of prey remains were collected and included pigeons, meadowlarks and mourning doves.

Controlled Hunt Drawing Results Online

Hunters who applied for elk, deer, pronghorn, fall turkey and black bear controlled hunts can now find the results online.

Applicants can enter their hunting license number online to find out instantly how they did in the drawing.

For controlled hunt drawing results go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/apps/ch/deab.cfm, and for controlled hunt odds, go to: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/apps/ch/odds.cfm. It is hunters' responsibility to find out whether they were drawn.

Postcards will be mailed to successful applicants before July 10. Winners must buy controlled hunt tags by August 1. Any tags not purchased by that date will be forfeited. Unclaimed and leftover tags from the first drawing will be available in a second application period from August 5 through August 15.

After the second drawing, any leftover tags are sold over the counter. These tags are sold at any license vendor, through the Internet at https://id.outdoorcentral.us/, or by telephone at 800-554-8685, starting August 25 at 10 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time.

For information on rules and dates for specific hunts consult the regulations brochure or the Fish and Game Website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov. And those lucky enough to draw can use Fish and Game's hunt planner on the Website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/huntplanner to plan those fall hunts.

Investigation Begun on Poisoning of Domestic Dogs

In April, large links of homemade sausage were observed in the East Fork of the Lightning Creek drainage in Bonner County near Clark Fork, Idaho.

The sausage links were found on national forest property.

Unfortunately, one of the links was picked up and quickly consumed by a pet dog while hiking with its owner. The animal died. Two other dogs have been reported poisoned by eating poisoned meat links in the same area.

Additional samples found in the area were collected, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forensics lab has determined the sausage was laced with an insecticide known as Carbaryl. Due to the rural location of the insecticide laced poison, law enforcement officials suspect that whoever placed it was targeting carnivorous wildlife.

The U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, EPA criminal investigators and the Idaho Department of Fish Game are investigating. Investigators are interested in anyone with information regarding who may have made and placed the poisoned meat.

"The poison could have been consumed by a child, as it was placed right in the walking trail. Had that happened, we would be dealing with a human fatality." Fish and Game Conservation Officer Matt Haag said. "Having a family lose a pet is a tragedy and reason enough to be alarmed. We need to catch the person responsible for this act and we are asking for help from the public".

There is a reward for information that leads to an arrest. As always, callers may remain anonymous. Information may be provided to the Citizens Against Poaching Hotline, 1-800-632-5999.

Ask Fish and Game: Recording Salmon Catch

Q. Do I need to record salmon I keep that are less than 24 inches on my permit?

A. No. Anglers need to record only Chinook salmon longer than 24 inches on their permit. But salmon less than 24 inches in total length still apply toward the daily, possession bag limits.

Are the Kootenai River White Sturgeon Bad Parents?

By Vaughn L. Paragamian, Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Ever since studies of white sturgeon spawning in the Kootenai River began in the early 1990s, researchers have wondered why sturgeon were found to be spawning over sandy bottoms.

Better habitat composed of cobble and gravel is found above Bonners Ferry. Sand makes a poor nursery for white sturgeon eggs, because a quarter inch of it can suffocate a healthy egg.

Young wild sturgeon are rare in the Kootenai River. So despite the fact that sturgeon spawn, it is apparent that sturgeon egg survival is very poor.

So are Kootenai River White Sturgeon Bad Parents? The answer is no. They are good parents, it's just that the habitat of the Kootenai River has changed so much since Libby Dam was built that what was once good habitat for sturgeon spawning is now very poor habitat.

The biology and science behind white sturgeon spawning in the Kootenai River has been an ongoing challenge to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game for more than four decades. It all began in the late Ô70s shortly after Libby Dam was built. Studies that began in the 1970s found that white sturgeon in the river were not reproducing successfully. The dam had begun regulating the flow of water in the river so that flows during the spring, when sturgeon spawned, were only about a quarter of historic flows before the dam was built.

In 1994, the fish was listed as "endangered" by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. One attempt at recovery was adding additional water flow in the spring to encourage white sturgeon to spawn. Fish and Game studies indicated white sturgeon were spawning downstream of Bonners Ferry, but the habitat was unsuitable as a nursery area for white sturgeon eggs. Better habitat was upstream of Bonners Ferry. Researchers questioned why white sturgeon would spawn in an area with unsuitable nursery habitat (sand) when the preferred habitat would be cobble and gravel.

Project Promises Safe Passage for People and Wildlife

By Ed Bottum, Idaho Department of Fish and Game

From Idaho's capitol city to Mores Creek summit and beyond, State Highway 21 snakes its way across the Boise Mountains.

Also known as the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Route, the highway has long been a preferred route for Treasure Valley residents to get to their favorite high-country recreational haunts.

Just outside Boise, the Scenic Route intersects another favorite travel route. For millennia, mule deer and elk have traveled to and from low elevation ranges where they spend the winter, to mountain meadows where they grow fat each summer feasting on the rich vegetation found at higher elevations. In doing so, they must cross State Highway 21. For many of these animals, those few steps on the pavement are their last.

Each year, scores of deer and elk are killed as they attempt to cross Highway 21. With more development along the highway, commuter traffic to and from Boise has increased, bringing with it a dramatic increase in vehicle/big game collisions. In recent years, from 75 to 200 or more mule deer and elk, crossing the highway between Boise and Robie Creek, have been killed by vehicles.

For the past several years, a group of local people have worked together to find ways to reduce wildlife-vehicle collisions on our roads and highways. Dubbed the Boise River Wildlife Linkage Partnership, the group includes private citizens, business people, non-profits and city, county, state and federal representatives. One place in particular where the group has focused attention is the Ponderosa Pine Scenic Route.

To raise awareness among motorists traveling the route, the partnership worked with the Idaho Transportation Department and Fish and Game last winter to install deer and elk "tally" signs along the highway. The regularly updated signs display the number of deer and elk killed along the route in motor vehicle collisions during the year.

Super Hunt Winners Announced

After the first Super Hunt drawing of 2010, 26 lucky hunters won the hunt of their dreams.

Winners of Super Hunt tags for a deer, elk, pronghorn or moose can take an animal in any open hunt in addition to any general season or controlled hunt tags they also hold. All other rules of individual hunts apply.

Of about 31,000 entries, 2,089 were for eight pronghorn tags, 12,884 entries for eight deer tags, 9,403 entries for eight elk, 4,818 entries for one moose tag, and 1,783 entries were for the Super Combo, which includes a tag for each of the four species.

Seven resident hunters and one California hunter won pronghorn tags. Seven residents and one California hunter won deer tags. Two resident hunters won elk tags and two hunters from Oregon and one each from California, Washington, Pennsylvania and Missouri won elk tags. The combo went to an Idaho resident hunter.

A change in state law prevents Idaho Fish and Game from releasing the names of the winners, but all have been notified.

The second Super Hunt drawing will be in mid-August when another "Super Hunt Combo" and entries for two elk, two deer and two antelope hunts along with one moose hunt will be drawn.

The entry period for the second drawing continues through August 11.

The special drawings began in 2004 as a way to raise money for the Access Yes! program, which helps assure hunter and angler access to and across private lands by compensating willing landowners.

The first entry costs $6; additional entries for the same species cost $4 each when purchased at the same time. Super Hunt Combo entries cost $20 for one; additional entries are $16 when purchased at the same time. Enter at license vendors, all Fish and Game offices, or on the Internet at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/superhunt/ , and on the phone at 800-824-3729 or 800-554-8685.

More of the Salmon River Opens to Chinook Fishing

Another section of the lower Salmon River opened to Chinook salmon fishing Saturday, June 19, but some access restrictions remain in place on the South Fork.

The reach known as Vinegar Creek is open from the posted boundary at the mouth of Shorts Creek upstream to the uppermost boat ramp at Vinegar Creek. It remains open until further notice.

Fishing hours are from 5:25 a.m. to 10:40 p.m. through July 2. Check Idaho Fish and Game Chinook seasons and rules for fishing hours after July 2.

The daily limit is five Chinook, only three of which may be adults, whichever comes first; the possession limit is 15, only nine of which may be adults. An adult Chinook is 24 or more inches in total length.

For an interactive map of open Chinook salmon seasons click here: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/fish/rules/chinook_seasons/Salmon_Seaso...

Leftover Moose Tags Available

Idaho Fish and Game has 14 leftover moose controlled hunt tags available.

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

Hunts 3002, 3036, 3052 and 3059 each has one tag leftover; 3060 and 3062 each has three tags leftover and hunt 3046 has four leftover tags.

No mountain goat or bighorn sheep tags are available. 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 hunts numbers and leftover tags available, go to the controlled hunt page: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/licenses/leftover/leftover_moose.cfm

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 http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

The resident controlled hunt tag and application fee is $180.75. The nonresident controlled hunt tag and application fee is $1,765.75. These fees include a nonrefundable application fee of $6.25. 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.

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 http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.