Press Release

March 2011

Fish Rules Open House Set in Magic Valley

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will host an open house for anglers to consider and discuss nonbiological fishing rule changes.

It's all part of the rule setting process for the 2013-2014 fishing rules.

The open house will be from 1 to 7 p.m. April 13, at the Fish and Game Magic Valley Region Office, 324 South 417 East, Jerome, about 2.5 miles north of the Flying J on Highway 93.

Nonbiological fishing rules apply to all fishing except seasons, bag limits and special regulations, which are considered biological rules.

"We are not scoping biological rule change recommendations this year but will do so again in 2012," said Doug Megargle, Magic Valley regional fishery manager. "The scoping phase is a when we get to hear from anglers about their ideas and recommendations as well as share IDFG proposed changes. Most of the IDFG proposed changes are clarifications in existing rules or efforts to align existing codes more closely with the new fishing regulations."

Fish and Game will present the Idaho Fish and Game Commission with recommended changes at which point the commission will direct the Department to take approved recommendations back out to the public for further comments this summer.

Non-biological fishing rule changes require commission recommendations and ultimately legislative approval before the rule change is official.

The public is encouraged to attend a meeting and make comments about potential proposals or other fishing related topics. Comments can also be sent via email to MVFishery@idfg.idaho.gov or by phone at 208-324-4359. Deadline for comments is 5 p.m. April 26, 2010.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting Doug Megargle at the Idaho Department of Fish & Game at 208-324-4359 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-3529 (TDD).

CAP Offers Reward in Fish and Game Robbery

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking for help in finding the people responsible for stealing more than $1,400 of tools and equipment and causing more than $1,000 in damages to the storage facility at the Niagara Springs Wildlife Management Area late last month.

"This is the second time this has happened in the last two years," said Jerome Hanson, regional supervisor for the Magic Valley Region. "From the similarities of the two robberies, we believe it to be the same people. We do have several leads, but we are hoping we can find someone with information we need to make the arrest."

To help, Citizens Against Poaching is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the persons involved in the robbery. People with information are asked to call the CAP hotline at 1-800-632-5999 or the Magic Valley Regional Office at 324-4359.

Callers may remain anonymous and still receive the reward.

Egin-Hamer Closure Set to Open

The southern portion of the Egin-Hamer closure west of St. Anthony is set to open at sunrise on April 1.

Because winter came earlier and never really let up, natural resource managers at the Bureau of Land Management and Idaho Fish and Game are working to ensure that wintering big games herds remain protected as long as possible and urge outdoor recreationalists to honor existing closure dates at the Egin-Hamer closure and St. Anthony Sand Dunes.

The Egin-Hamer Closure Area south of the Egin-Hamer Road will open on schedule at sunrise on April 1. The area north of the road surrounding the dunes remains closed until sunrise on May 1. Maps of the closure are available at the regional Fish and Game offices in Idaho Falls. The closure is patrolled by law enforcement officers from BLM and Fish and Game and the Fremont County Sheriff's Department.

Fish and Game employees are allowed as part of their administrative duties to enter the closure to carry out enforcement activities and retrieve radio collars from deceased study animals. Survey crews under the direction of the BLM may also be observed entering the closure.

Both agencies will have personnel on the ground for both the April and May openings. The goal of the agencies will be to educate the public about the closure, but enforcement officers will be available to write citations for flagrant violators who harass animals or destroy habitat.

Take Me Fishing Trailer at Kiwanis Park Pond

To help get youths excited about fishing and help build a new generation of anglers, Idaho Fish and Game's "Take Me Fishing" trailer will be on display from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 2, at Kiwanis Park Pond in Lewiston.

Fishing equipment can be checked out for free on a first-come, first-served basis from 9 a.m. to noon.

Reservations are not needed. Participants who register will be granted a permit to fish without a license. If they get hooked on fishing after the event, parents will have to purchase a license. Idaho children 13 years old and under, can fish for free.

Stocked with basic fishing equipment and information, the trailer is wrapped with vibrant fish illustrations, it is hard to miss. With Kiwanis Park Pond recently stocked with catchable rainbow trout, the only thing children and their parents have to do is show up.

Similar fishing events will be held on Saturdays and Sundays at local reservoirs throughout the spring and summer. For a complete list of scheduled events, go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov, or call the Lewiston Fish and Game office at 208-799-5010.

Take Me Fishing Trailer Schedule, 2011 - All Events are 9 a.m. to Noon

April 2 (Saturday) - Kiwanis Park Pond, Lewiston

April 16 (Saturday) - Mann Lake, Lewiston

April 17 (Sunday) - Spring Valley, Troy

April 23 (Saturday) - Kiwanis Park Pond, Lewiston

April 24 (Sunday) - Robinson Pond, Kamiah

April 30 (Saturday) - Hordemann Pond, Moscow

May 1 (Sunday) - Mann Lake, Lewiston

May 7 (Saturday) - Kiwanis Park Pond, Lewiston

May 8 (Sunday) - Spring Valley, Troy

May 21 (Saturday) - Hordemann Pond, Moscow

May 22 (Sunday) - Kiwanis Park Pond, Lewiston

May 28 (Saturday) - Robinson Pond, Kamiah

May 29 (Sunday) - Moose Creek Reservoir, Bovill

June 4 (Saturday) - Hordemann Pond, Moscow

Spring Steelhead Seasons Still Open

It's not too late to hook into a tasty Idaho steelhead. The spring harvest season closes March 31 on part of the Salmon River from the Lake Creek Bridge to Long Tom Creek - three-quarters of a mile upstream from the Middle Fork Salmon River.

The spring steelhead season continues through April 30 in most other steelhead waters, except the Little Salmon River, which stays open until May 15.

Open waters include:

  • Snake River from the Washington state line at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
  • Clearwater River main stem and Middle Fork from its mouth upstream to Clear Creek.
  • North Fork Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to Dworshak Dam.
  • South Fork Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to the confluence of American and Red Rivers.
  • Salmon River from its mouth upstream to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream of the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery weir near Stanley. Except the reach from the Lake Creek Bridge to Long Tom Creek.

Spring steelhead limits are three fish per day and nine in possession with no more than 20 fish for the season. Once limits are reached, the angler must stop fishing, even catch-and-release.

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

All other steelhead must be released immediately.

Anglers are reminded to consult the 2011-2012 fishing rules book for special restrictions and limits. A valid 2011 fishing license and a steelhead permit are required to fish for steelhead.

Spring Turkey Hunting Begins April 15

Hunters who have finished with taxes before the deadline can expect to find Idaho's wild turkey populations in good shape.

The general season youth turkey hunt runs Thursday April 8 through Wednesday April 14. Youths 15 years or younger on April 8, may participate in the youth hunt. All youth hunters must have a valid hunting license and turkey tag.

The general spring turkey hunts open April 15 and runs through May 25. Dates vary for controlled hunts, listed in the Upland Game brochure.

Turkey hunting seasons and rules can be found in printed form at all Fish and Game offices and at license vendors statewide. The brochure is also on the Fish and Game Website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov in PDF format. The brochure includes maps showing the general areas of wild turkey distribution across Idaho.

Hunters also can use the convenient Idaho Hunt Planner, found in the hunting section of the Website, where detailed maps are available.

  • Hunters must have a valid Idaho hunting license and turkey tag. They may buy two turkey tags - on general and one extra tag - for the spring season before May 26.
  • Resident adults pay $19.75 for the first tag and $12.25 for an extra tag.
  • Discounted tags for youth, seniors and disabled veterans are $10.75.
  • Nonresident turkey tags cost $67.50, except for junior mentored tags priced $10.75.

Turkey hunting requires special attention to safety in the field. Hunting information and safety tips are found at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/hunt/turkey/safety.cfm on the Fish and Game Website.

Hunters Can Help Citizens Against Poaching

Hunters who are applying for a controlled hunt might consider helping the fight against poaching, and it won't cost them an extra dime.

The major source of revenue for the Citizens Against Poaching program - also known as CAP - is a check-off on controlled hunt applications. Simply check the "YES" box, and $1 of the $6.25 application fee goes to the program.

Citizens Against Poaching was established in December 1980 by concerned hunters under the guidance of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. CAP is a non-profit corporation, and hunters from around the state serve as the seven regional directors, president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer.

The CAP corporation and Fish and Game share responsibility for the program.

The department receives and records reports of violations through a toll-free telephone number or online, routes the information to conservation officers for investigation, and arranges for reward payments. The program pays a reward for information that results in a citation or a warrant - a conviction is not necessary; the person reporting the information may remain anonymous if they wish.

Rewards are: $100 for birds, fish and general violations; $250 for most big game animals; $500 for trophy species such as sheep, goat, grizzly, moose and caribou. In special circumstances, with CAP board approval, these amounts can be higher.

In addition to the check-off, other funding sources include:

- Donations from concerned individuals.

- Court ordered reimbursements.

To report wildlife violations in Idaho, call the Citizens Against Poaching Hotline: 1-800-632-5999. Or report violations online at: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/about/enforcement/report_poacher.cfm

From the Field: Chinook Season

By Jim Lukens Idaho Department of Fish and Game

While most anglers are still focused on steelhead fishing, some are turning their attention to Chinook salmon fishing.

Biologists are predicting a return of hatchery fish in adequate numbers to support a fishery in the upper Salmon River. Similar to last year, fishing will likely be restricted to the area below Ellis due to a poor predicted return to Sawtooth Hatchery.

Some anglers and local merchants have asked why we don't open more of the river to fishing below the town of Salmon. This is a rather complicated issue but I will attempt an explanation.

The fishery is what biologists term a mixed stock fishery, composed of protected fish listed under the Endangered Species Act, the wild Chinook, and non-protected salmon, the hatchery component, which anglers can harvest. When predicted numbers of returning hatchery fish exceed spawning needs, a season can be considered.

NOAA Fisheries Service, the federal agency responsible for the management of listed salmon, issues Fish and Game a permit to conduct mixed stock fisheries.

Part of this permit is a limited allowed "take" of listed fish. While wild fish must be released, some of these fish will die and this constitutes "take."

Biologists monitor the fishery closely to ensure that hatchery fish are not overharvested, and that we don't exceed the allowed "take" of wild fish. Another part of the permit specifies the portion of the river in which a mixed stock fishery can occur. This year the Fish and Game has a revised permit which allows us to extend the fishery to more river area.

Biologists are studying the possibility of extending the fishery to the area below Salmon, possibly down to North Fork. The risk of including this area is that anglers may encounter some Lemhi River fish, which are all wild, listed fish. This could increase "take" of these fish and jeopardize the entire fishery.

Wildlife Volunteers Wanted

By Michael Young - Idaho Department of Fish and Game

If cabin fever has you itching to get outside, consider helping with a project through Fish and Game's Volunteer Program.

A variety of interesting and worthwhile projects are scheduled for the coming weeks, all of them designed to benefit wildlife habitat and the people of southwest Idaho. Here's a sample of upcoming projects:

Big Game Winter Range Restoration

Thousands of sagebrush and bitterbrush seedlings have already been planted on the Boise River Wildlife Management Area east of Boise. Saturday, March 5, marked the first day of the annual volunteer native shrub restoration project. Subsequent planting efforts were conducted on March 12 and 19. Two planting events remain - March 26 and April 2. Transportation and all planting tools will be provided.

Volunteers have planted hundreds of thousands of bitterbrush and sagebrush seedlings during the past 20 years to restore native bitterbrush and sagebrush habitats in Southwest Idaho. In the process, they've saved the agency hundreds of thousands of dollars. In addition to saving the agency money, volunteers have improved hundreds of acres of winter range and also take their new-found education back to the city. We hope that this project will educate folks about the importance of winter range and open land.

Bitterbrush and sagebrush - both native shrubs - comprise an important component of big game winter ranges in Idaho and throughout the west. Besides providing essential food sources for deer, elk, pronghorn, sage grouse and other wildlife, bitterbrush and sagebrush provide cover from the elements, protection from predators and nesting habitat.

Moose, Sheep, Goat Applications

April is not just tax month; it's also the month to apply for moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat hunts.

Applications for these controlled hunts will be accepted from April 1 through April 30. Hunters may apply at Fish and Game offices, license vendors, and with a credit card by telephone or over the Internet. Telephone applications may be made at 1-800-554-8685; Internet users may apply at https://id.outdoorcentral.us/.

Telephone and Internet applications are subject to additional service charges.

Each applicant must possess an Idaho hunting or combination license to apply for a controlled hunt. License fees will not be refunded.

For moose, goat and sheep hunt applications only, the entire application fee must be paid with the application. All but the application fee - $6.25 for residents, $14.75 for nonresidents - will be refunded to those who do not draw. The resident application, including permit fee, costs $173; nonresidents pay $2,116.50. Unsuccessful resident applicants will receive a refund of $166.75; unsuccessful nonresident applicants will receive a refund of $2,101.75.

Mailed applications must be postmarked no later than April 30.

Hunters who apply for moose, goat and sheep may not apply for any other controlled hunt in the same year except for unlimited controlled hunts, extra deer, elk or pronghorn hunts, controlled bear hunts or depredation hunts.

Those who draw a moose, goat or sheep permit and do not kill an animal may not apply to hunt the same species for two years.

Any person who has harvested an antlered moose in Idaho may not apply for any moose permit except an antlerless moose permit. Any person who has harvested an antlerless moose in Idaho may not apply for any moose permit except an antlered moose permit.

F&G Lifts Kokanee Limits below Dworshak Reservoir

With many dead and dying kokanee that have been flushed through Dworshak Dam, the bag and possession limits will be removed for kokanee in the North Fork Clearwater River and Clearwater River downstream of the North Fork in Clearwater County, effective through May 15.

While anglers can take home as many kokanee as they can carry, the fish may only be taken by rod and reel, dip net or by hand. A valid Idaho fishing license is required. It is Fish and Game's intent to allow the public to harvest these fish using techniques that will not affect ongoing fisheries.

Kokanee, which are a popular target of anglers fishing at Dworshak Reservoir, tend to congregate near the dam during winter months. When mountain snowpacks are abundant and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dumps water to make room for spring runoff, the fish are susceptible to being washed downstream. At this point, the number of kokanee being flushed is not expected to have a large influence on next year's fishery.

For more information regarding the lifting of the kokanee bag and possession limits, contact Fish and Game's Lewiston office 208-799-5010.

Give the Critters a Break

By Dane Cook - Idaho Department of Fish and Game

It's springtime, and there's nothing better to cure a case of cabin fever than to get out and go for a walk, run or just be outside.

This seems to be the case for not only humans but also our four-legged friends. While everyone should be encouraged to get outdoors as much as possible, a couple of considerations need to be made. Our local wildlife is just coming out of a relatively normal winter. As pleasant as it looks outside, deer and elk are probably in the worst shape they will be in all year. This is the time of year when animals' digestive systems shift from dry cured forage to new succulent green growth.

If you think of the body reserves of a deer and elk like a gas tank, right now they are on fumes, but the gas station is in sight. The last thing they need is to use up their remaining fuel reserves before they get to the proverbial filling station. This analogy was used so you can get a different perspective on how our actions can affect wildlife.

Recently, the local Fish and Game office received numerous calls about wildlife being harassed. Here in Salmon, numerous calls have come in about dogs chasing deer; some within city limits, others in the rural area around town. Fish and Game would like to remind dog owners to keep control of their dogs at all times. If you're gone from home during the day, keep your dog in a kennel or fenced yard they cannot escape from. At night they should be in a similar place to keep them from wandering. If you're taking your dog for a walk or run in some of the areas surrounding town, be certain you can call them back if you happen to encounter deer or elk. Idaho code allows for a dog that is actively chasing big game animals to be destroyed by any peace officer or person authorized to enforce wildlife game laws.