Press Release

August 2011

Fall Steelhead Harvest Season Opens

The Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers open for steelhead harvest September 1.

The limits on these waters are three per day and nine in possession.

The steelhead harvest season on the lower Clearwater River opened August 1, on a two-mile stretch of the lower Clearwater River from its mouth to the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge near Lewiston. The daily limit is two fish with six in possession.

Anglers may keep 20 steelhead for the fall season, which ends December 31.

Only steelhead, defined as rainbow trout longer than 20 inches, with a clipped adipose fin, evidenced by a healed scar, may be kept.

Upstream of the Memorial Bridge, steelhead fishing in the Clearwater is limited to catch-and-release until October 15. That's when the fall harvest season opens on the main stem of the Clearwater River above the Memorial Bridge, the South Fork Clearwater River, the North Fork Clearwater River below Dworshak Dam, and the Middle Fork Clearwater River below Clear Creek all open to steelhead harvest.

The limits on these waters are two per day and six in possession.

Fish and Game expects another good steelhead run this year and reminds anglers to look for the clipped adipose fin indicating the fish is legal to be kept.

Any steelhead that has an unclipped adipose fin cannot be kept and must immediately be released unharmed.

New rules that took effect August 1 allow anglers to transport anadromous salmon and steelhead without the head and tail attached - but only under a number of conditions:

F&G Commission Adopts Proposed Rule Changes

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission at a meeting August 24 adopted a proposed change to the Landowner Appreciation Program, changes to wildlife salvage rules and minor changes to a number of other rules.

Landowners in five game management units - 40, 41, 42, 45 and 52 - who meet the conditions of the Landowner Appreciation Program, have been eligible for an allocation of additional tags equal to 25 percent of the number of controlled hunt tags to be issued for deer, elk and pronghorn hunts in those units.

The standard allocation is 10 percent.

The commission agreed to a proposed change that would reduce the allocation of LAP tags to 10 percent for landowners in those five game management units. But the landowners would be eligible for an additional 15 percent allocation as an incentive to provide benefits to hunters.

Incentives include a managed public access agreement, a depredation release agreement, a habitat improvement project and offering special sporting opportunity, such as veteran or youth hunting opportunity.

Commissioners also adopted a proposed rule that would allow people to salvage animals that may be lawfully hunted or trapped but have been accidently killed in a vehicle collision, provided they report the incident to Idaho Fish and Game within 24 hours and obtain written permission to keep the animal within 72 hours.

A permission form would become available from Idaho Fish and Game.

The rule also would allow people to sell parts, except the meat, from such salvaged animals, not including bighorn sheep.

These and other recently adopted rule changes must be approved by the 2012 Idaho Legislature before they take effect.

Fish and Game Ends Chukar Flights

Idaho Fish and Game biologists will no longer conduct aerial chukar surveys.

Fish and Game has conducted annual chukar surveys since the mid-1980s primarily to provide a 'forecast' for the upcoming season. The data was not biological data used to set seasons.

This was one of the aerial surveys eliminated after a review conducted to assess risk and cost in relation to value of biological information collected, following a fatal helicopter accident last year.

Fish and Game has conducted helicopter surveys in late August or early September along a portion of Brownlee and Lucky Peak reservoirs in most years since 1984 to monitor chukar population trends.

Biologists also surveyed the breaks of the Snake River from Tenmile Creek upstream to Corral Creek by helicopter annually since 1985. Since 1991, the Salmon River breaks from White Bird to Maloney Creek have also been surveyed in most years.

Though other factors are involved when predicting fall harvest, the aerial surveys reflected general trends in the fall population.

To gather data on which to base seasons, biologist collect wings from harvested birds to obtain an index to production and estimate harvest from annual hunter harvest surveys.

Ask Fish and Game: Tritium Bow Sights

Q. I was wondering if the new Trijicon AccuPin bow sight is legal in Idaho even though it's Pope and Young legal? It does contain tritium, which in the regs says is not allowed.

A. This archer correctly answered his own question. The Trijicon AccuPin bow sight uses tritium, and the rules are clear: In any hunt, including general any-weapon seasons and short-range hunts, it is unlawful to pursue or kill big game animals: É With any electronic or tritium-powered device attached to an arrow, bolt or bow. Except disabled archery permit holders may use a nonmagnifying sight with battery powered or tritium lighted reticles. So, no; he cannot use this bow sight in Idaho.

Youth Quail Hunt Planned

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Sportsman's Warehouse, Pheasants Forever and the Ca Bull Elk Ranch will be sponsoring a quail hunt on September 24.

This free hunt is open to any first-time hunters, regardless of age, who have completed their hunter education course.

This fun day will include practice shooting, hunting, field dressing and cooking the birds harvested.

Participants may use their own guns and ammo or equipment will be provided for those who don't have any. To sign-up or for more information, call 324-4359.

Youth Pheasant Hunt Planned

Youth hunters wanting to learn more about hunting pheasants are invited to attend a youth hunting clinic from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. October 1 at Bill Mellencamp's hunting preserve on Idahome Road in Raft River.

Participants will learn basic shooting skills, pheasant biology and get to go hunting.

Dozens of items have been donated to make the event memorable for the youth hunters. They include: 25 rooster pheasants from both Mini Cassia Pheasants Forever and Idaho For Wildlife, ammunition and one mounted pheasant to a lucky winner from Intermountain Taxidermy, clay pigeons from the Burley Wal-Mart, food and beverages from Burley Kiwanis Club, orange vests and eye protection from the Rupert Lions Club, shotgun shells from Sportsmen's Warehouse, and the use of pointing dogs and handlers from the South Idaho Pointing Dog Hunting Club.

The event is open to the first 25 youth hunters, ages 10 to 15 that have completed a hunter education course. To sign-up or for more information, call 324-4359.

Sage-Grouse Group Solicits Comments

The North Magic Valley Sage-Grouse Local Working Group has completed a draft sage-grouse conservation plan and would like to solicit public comment.

The Sage Grouse Local Working Group is a collaborative public-private entity that is working to improve sage grouse habitat and populations within its planning area. The North Magic Valley planning area includes portions of Camas, Elmore, Lincoln, Blaine, Minidoka, Gooding, Butte and Jerome counties.

The draft plan discusses current conditions of sage-grouse habitat and populations in the planning area, prioritizes likely threats to sage-grouse, and describes those threats and potential measures to minimize them within the planning area.

The draft plan is available on the Idaho Department of Fish and Game website, at:, or may be obtained on a CD at Fish and Game's Magic Valley regional office. Comments need to be received by September 16.

If you have questions, please contact Fish and Game biologist Regan Berkley at 324-4359.

Fall Chinook Season Opens

Fall Chinook salmon seasons open September 1 in the Snake River from the Washington-Idaho border upstream to Hells Canyon Dam and in the Clearwater River from its mouth upstream to the Memorial Bridge.

The season runs until October 31 or further notice:

The Snake River is divided into four management sections:

  • From the Washington-Idaho border upstream to the Bridge Street Bridge - the Blue Bridge.
  • From Bridge Street upstream to the Oregon-Washington border.
  • From the Oregon-Washington border upstream to the mouth of Sheep Creek.
  • From the Mouth of Sheep Creek up stream to Hells Canyon Dam.

The Clearwater River:

  • From its mouth upstream to the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge.

Salmon anglers may keep six adult fall Chinook daily. The field possession limit is 18 adult fall Chinook. There is no limit on the total number of adult fall Chinook an angler may keep during the fall season. An adult Chinook is 24 or more inches in total length, and only Chinook with a clipped adipose fin may be kept.

The season is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

There are no daily, possession or season limits on fall Chinook jacks, but only jacks with a clipped adipose fin may be kept. Anglers must have a valid permit to fish for salmon, but they are not required to record the jacks on their permits.

New rules that took effect August 1 allow anglers to transport anadromous salmon and steelhead without the head and tail attached - but only under a number of conditions:

Youth Steelhead Fishing Clinic Planned

Anglers ages 14 and younger interested in learning about the exciting sport of steelhead fishing are encouraged to register for a free clinic sponsored by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Lewiston Parks and Recreation.

"This is a great opportunity to learn how to catch steelhead and have some fun," said Scott Putnam, of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The clinic includes an evening classroom session from 7 to 9 p.m. September 22 at the Lewiston Fish and Game office, 3316 16th Street. Topics to be covered include basic biology, identification, tackle and techniques for catching steelhead.

On Saturday, September 24, the youths will be paired with experienced adult anglers and fish out of boats on the Snake or Clearwater rivers. All fishing gear and life preservers will be provided.

The first 15 youths to register with Lewiston Parks and Recreation Office at 746-2313 will be given the opportunity to fish on September 24.

All Idaho fishing rules apply. See pages 50-53 of Idaho's Fishing Seasons and Rules booklet for details.

Youth Pheasant Hunting Clinic Scheduled in Genesee

Area hunters between the ages of 12 and 15 are encouraged to register for a Youth Pheasant Hunting Clinic scheduled Saturday, October 1.

The event will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will begin at the Genesee Community Picnic Shelter on the south end of town. The youths will also practice their shotgun skills at the local trap range and conclude the day hunting pheasants on nearby private land.

"This will be a great opportunity to introduce young hunters to the sport of pheasant hunting," said Jay Roach, North Idaho Chapter President of Pheasants Forever. "The goal is to make hunting a fun priority among all the other activities that vie for a teenager's time."

Along with hunting pheasants, the youths will learn about wildlife conservation, pheasant ecology, dog handling, and the importance of respecting landowners. Safety, ethics, sportsmanship and the hunting tradition will be given special emphasis.

The clinic is free and intended for first-time hunters who have completed a hunter education course and hold a valid 2011 Idaho hunting license. An adult supervisor must accompany each young hunter throughout the clinic.

Advance registration is required and space is limited to 20 youth. To register or to learn more, contact the Clearwater Region Fish and Game office at 208-799-5010 no later than 5:00 p.m., Friday, September 23.

Sponsors include the Pheasants Forever, Flying B-Ranch, Idaho Fish and Game, Snake River Gun Dog & Sportsmen's Association, and Clearwater Point Dog Club.

Waterfowl Seasons Set

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Wednesday, August 24, adopted a 107-day waterfowl season for 2011-2012.

A youth hunt was set for September 24 and 25.

Daily duck bag limits are seven birds in the aggregate - no more than two female mallards, two redheads, three scaup, two pintails, one canvasback - with a possession limit of 14 birds after the first day and no more than four female mallards, four redheads, four pintails, six scaup and two canvasbacks.

Daily limits for Wilson's snipe are eight, with a possession limit of 16 after the first day; and the daily limit for coots are 25 with a possession limit of 25 after the first day.

Daily bag limits for dark geese - Canada, greater white-fronted - is four per day. Daily limits for light geese - snow, blue, Ross's - are 10 per day.

Seasons are:

Area 1: All of the state not included in Area 2.

  • For ducks and dark geese from October 1 to January 13, with a shorter scaup season from October 22 to January 13.
  • For snow and Ross's geese from October 1 to January 13, 2012.

Area 2: All or parts of Ada, Boise, Canyon, Cassia, Elmore, Gem, Gooding, Jerome, Lincoln, Minidoka, Owyhee, Payette, Twin Falls and Washington counties.

  • For ducks and dark geese from October 15 to January 27, 2012, with a shorter scaup season from November 5 to January 27, 2012.
  • For snow and Ross's geese from November 6 to January 27, 2012; and reopen from February 18 to March 10, 2012.

Area 3: For light geese only - includes that portion of the Upper Snake Region within Bingham County in Game Management Unit 63 south of Highway 20 and west of the west bank of the Snake River, and that portion of the Southeast Region within Bingham and Power counties in units 68 and 68A west of the west bank of the Snake River and American Falls Reservoir bluff.

Sage-Grouse Season Set

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission Wednesday, August 24, adopted a restricted seven-day, one-bird sage-grouse season for 2011.

The sage-grouse hunting season opens Saturday, October 1.

Sage-grouse season:

Seven day season, one-bird daily limit, and two in possession after opening day, statewide in sage-grouse range within Area 2.

Area 2 includes:

  • Butte, Camas, Cassia, Clark, Fremont, Gooding, Jefferson, Jerome, Lemhi, Lincoln, Madison, Minidoka, Power and Teton counties.
  • Bannock County west of Interstate 15.
  • Bingham County west of Interstate 15.
  • Blaine County, except within the Salmon River drainage.
  • Bonneville County west of Interstate 15 and north of U.S. Highway 26.
  • Custer County, except within the Salmon River drainage upstream from and including Valley Creek.
  • Elmore County south and east of U.S. Highway 20 and north of Interstate 84.
  • Oeida County west of Interstate 15.
  • Owyhee County west of the Bruneau River.
  • Twin Falls County east of U.S. Highway 93.


  • All areas not included in Area 2.

Details will be available in a brochure available in print at license vendors and on the Fish and Game website within about a week.

Any person hunting sage- or sharp-tailed grouse must have in their possession a valid hunting license with a sage- sharp-tailed grouse permit validation at $4.75.

The sharp-tail grouse season also opens October 1 and runs October 31. Check the Upland Game, Furbearer and Turkey Seasons and Rules brochure for 2011-2012 for season and limit details.