By Evin Oneale - Idaho Department of Fish and Game More than 250 steelhead will be stocked in the Boise River on Thursday, November 10, the first of four planned stocking efforts during the next few weeks. The fish will be stocked in the Boise River from Glenwood Bridge to Barber Park. Additional stockings are planned for Thursday, November 17, Tuesday, November 22 and Thursday, December 1, weather permitting. Because of their size - six to 12 pounds - the actual number of steelhead stocked will depend on the capacity of the tanker truck hauling the fish from Oxbow Hatchery on the Snake River. Besides a fishing license, anglers hoping to tangle with one of the hatchery steelhead need a $12.75 steelhead permit. Though required in other steelhead waters, barbless hooks are not required for Boise River steelhead angling. All steelhead stocked in the Boise River will lack an adipose fin - the small fin normally found immediately behind the dorsal fin. Boise River anglers catching a rainbow trout longer than 20 inches that lacks an adipose fin should consider the fish a steelhead. Any steelhead caught by an angler not holding a steelhead permit must immediately be returned to the water. Steelhead limits on the Boise River are three fish per day, nine in possession, and 20 for the fall season. The fish are A-run hatchery steelhead, returning to the Idaho Power Co.-owned and funded Oxbow Hatchery fish trap below Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River. Many of the returning steelhead will become part of the ongoing steelhead hatchery program at Oxbow Hatchery as part of Idaho Power Company's mitigation.
Salmon fishing in Idaho will be over for the year when the fall Chinook harvest season on the Snake and Clearwater rivers ends Monday, October 31. As of October 23, anglers had caught 16 marked adults and 19 jacks and caught and released 69 unmarked fish in the lower Clearwater River. They caught and kept 166 adults and 387 jacks in the Snake River, for a total of 553 fish. Hatchery-origin fish are marked with a clipped adipose fin. This year, more than 25,000 fall adult and 19,000 jack Chinook salmon crossed Lower Granite Dam. Though the fall Chinook season has closed in Idaho waters, there is still plenty of exciting fishing left; steelhead harvest fishing season is still open. The steelhead harvest season is open on the Clearwater River, the Salmon, the Little Salmon and the lower Snake rivers. And a season will open on the Boise River after fish stocking begins November 10. The steelhead limit on the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon is three per day and nine in possession. The limit on the Clearwater is two fish per day and six in possession. Anglers may keep 20 steelhead 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. They must stop fishing when the possession limit is reached - even catch-and-release. Steelhead anglers may use only barbless hooks, and may keep only hatchery steelhead marked with a clipped adipose fin. All other steelhead must be released unharmed. In the boundary waters on the Snake River between Idaho and Oregon or Washington, an angler with a valid 2011 Idaho fishing license and steelhead permit may fish where the river forms the boundary between Idaho and Oregon or Washington, but may not fish from the Oregon or Washington shorelines, including wading or in sloughs or tributaries. An angler may have only the limit allowed by one license regardless of the number of licenses the angler holds.
Do snakes have legs? What kinds of snakes live in Idaho? Where has George, the Nature Center's gopher snake been? Do boa constrictors live in Idaho? These and other snake questions, including rattlesnake awareness and outdoor safety, will be answered Saturday, November 12, at the MK Nature Center at 600 South Walnut St., Boise. Wildlife educators Frank Lundburg and Scott Smith will present the program with the help of native and exotic snakes and lizards, including rattlesnakes, at 1 pm at the Nature Center. Because the presentation includes live animals, seating is limited and on a first-come, first served basis. To offset expenses, an entrance fee of $5 per person will be charged. Children under 3 will be admitted free, but the program is recommended for adults and older children. The program will include discussion and identification of selected native and exotic snakes and lizards, including the western rattlesnake. Participants will be able to view and touch various snakes and lizards from around the world including the endangered Gila monster from the southwestern United States. Lundburg educates the public on topics such as the care and safe handling of reptiles as well as the natural history of the animals. Saturday's program at the Nature Center will have something of interest for all ages and family members. The Nature Center opens at 11 a.m. so visitors may enjoy other center displays. Outdoor exhibits, open sunrise to sunset, include a stream and pond with native fish and wildlife. The Nature Center is well known for its large glass windows that offer an underwater view of large trout and other fish. For information contact the MK Nature Center at 208-334-2225.
Q. I'm confused about the bag limit on ducks. The rules say I can take seven ducks. Does that include all ducks, or seven of each? A. The bag limit is the total number you can take in one day. But the total may not include more than three scaup, two pintails, two redheads, two female mallards or one canvasback.
For more than a decade, the idea of a community fishing pond right here in Pocatello has been the dream of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. Friday, October 28, it will be a long-awaited reality. Idaho Fish and Game welcomes the public to a grand opening of the community fishing pond at Edson Fichter Nature Area on October 28. The nature area, behind Indian Hills Elementary on Cheyenne Avenue in Pocatello, reopens at 3 p.m. that day at which time anglers are invited to wet a fly or dunk a worm in the new three-acre pond. The fishery will be stocked with rainbow trout ranging in size from 10-inch catchables to lunkers weighing almost six pounds. About 200 of the yellow-phase banana trout - a public favorite - will also call the pond home. The daily limit will be six fish. All anglers 14 years of age and older must have a valid Idaho fishing license. Anglers will be able to fish from docks and from an extensive open shore. In the spring, the site will be covered with new vegetation, and future phases will include the completion of a paved pathway around the pond as well as the addition of landscaping, pavilions, picnic benches and other amenities. "This is so exciting," said Jennifer Jackson, regional conservation educator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. "As a Fish and Game employee, I am thrilled to have a local location for hosting fishing clinics and other public fishing events. As a parent, I can't wait to take my daughter fishing - even if it is only for an hour after school." Fish and Game appreciates the public's support and the many donors who gave time, energy and funds to this new community asset. For more information about the pond and the grand opening, please contact Fish and Game at 208-232-4703.
Q. Can I use a pistol in a short-range deer season? A. Beginning last year, the use of handguns using straight-walled center-fire cartridges not originally developed for rifles was approved for use in big game short-range weapon hunts.
Salmon fishing in Idaho will be over for the year when the fall Chinook harvest season on the Snake and Clearwater rivers ends Monday, October 31. The season opened September 1 on the Snake River between Lewiston and Hells Canyon Dam and, this year, in the lower Clearwater River downstream of the U.S. Highway 12 Memorial Bridge in Lewiston. As of October 24, anglers had caught 15 marked adults and 19 jacks and caught and released 51 unmarked fish in the lower Clearwater River. They caught and kept 151 adults and 375 jacks in the Snake River, for a total of 560 fish. Hatchery-origin fish are marked with a clipped adipose fin. This year, more than 25,000 fall adult and 19,000 jack Chinook salmon crossed Lower Granite Dam.
By Sal Palazzolo - Idaho Department of Fish and Game We are all aware of the heated battles taking place in Washington D.C. and around the nation regarding reducing federal spending and cutting government programs. The conversations are full of arguments and generalized statements that often miss the finer details of a program or bill. As we all know, the devil is in the details, and a 30-second sound bite never explains the whole story. People may or may not be aware that Idaho's wildlife benefit greatly from some of these federal programs. One of the biggest is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and its program, State Acres For Wildlife Enhancement. This program reimburses farmers to take marginally-productive and highly erodible cropland voluntarily out of grain production and plant it to permanent vegetation, which provides "ecological services." So what are "ecological services?" That sounds like a fancy way of covering up a financial boondoggle. These acres provide many services to the public: Wildlife habitat, reduced soil erosion, increased water quality and filtration, carbon sequestration, improved air quality, economic certainty to rural communities, recreational opportunities, and the list goes on. In my years of working on these programs I have heard many derogatory sound bites related to these programs, most follow the line that the government is paying farmers to "do nothing with their land." This couldn't be further from the truth. Receiving federal dollars to help improve wildlife habitat in Idaho is a good deal. The landowner is still required to manage these lands to ensure they meet program requirements, and while not producing grain on these acres, what they produce is just as important to society, Idaho and the nation.
By Dave Beaver - Idaho Department of Fish and Game Someone is Stealing Idaho's Wildlife. This message is emblazoned across the Citizens Against Poaching exhibit trailer that displays some of the worst examples of illegal hunting and fishing violations occurring in Idaho. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game uses this trailer at public events around the area in an effort to educate people as to the nature and extent of poaching in our area and the important role people play in helping curtail wildlife crimes. But is the message getting through? Consider these local events of the last few weeks. September 30, two young whitetail bucks are shot and left near Fraser. October 10, a large bodied bull elk is shot with only the head and choicest cut of meat taken and most of the meat wasted. The same thing is done with a whitetail buck on Mattson Cutoff Road. A cow elk near Potlatch is shot and left, nothing taken. Harvard, a small bull elk is shot and only the antlers are taken. On Webb Ridge Road near Lewiston, a whitetail doe is shot before the season 40 yards from the road and the entire animal is left to waste. Near Deary, a bull elk carcass is dumped with only the head and back straps taken. Lower Fords Creek near Orofino, a small whitetail buck is shot from the road and left to rot. These types of crimes are not committed by the individual who makes an honest mistake; they are carried out by persons willing to flagrantly disregard the law, with no respect for the wildlife of Idaho that belongs to all its citizens. On a near daily basis, Fish and Game officers and employees deal with these types of violations. However, too often the scene has no or too little solid evidence to pursue the perpetrator.
The time chart on Page 11 in the 2011-2012 Waterfowl Seasons and Rules book has some incorrect times for five days in January. The opening times on January 22 through 27 in the column for Ada, Adams, Boise, Canyon, Elmore, Gem, Owyhee, Payette, Valley and Washington counties and part of Idaho County, all in the Mountain Time Zone areas are off by three hours. The correct opening times in those areas are:January 22 - 7:41 a.m.January 23 - 7:40 a.m.January 24 - 7:39 a.m.January 25 - 7:39 a.m.January 26 - 7:38 a.m.January 27 - 7:37 a.m. The correct closing time for January 27 is 5:49 p.m. The times for all other days are correct. For a correct table, see the waterfowl rules on the Fish and Game Website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/docs/rules/waterfowlShootHours.pdf
A bumper crop of apples means that rural residents in the Upper Snake Region need to care for their apple trees to avoid a bumper crop of bear conflicts. "So far, I've investigated four different sites where trees loaded with apples have had any limbs that bears could reach torn down," Senior Conservation Officer Charlie Anderson said. So far all of the incidents have involved black bears, but grizzlies are also known to frequent the area. Residents are urged to clean up all windfalls as soon as they occur and to harvest ripe apples from the trees. While most people picture bears to be vicious meat-eaters, they are in reality highly opportunistic omnivores that will consume whatever food sources they can obtain easily. "Bears are at that stage of the year when they are trying to put on as much fat as they can to prepare for winter, and a tree full of ripe apples is seen as easy pickings," said Conservation Educator Gregg Losinski of Idaho Fish and Game. Because bears are seeking the easiest to obtain food sources as possible, targeting apple trees near human residences not only puts humans and pets at risk, but can also lead bears to becoming too comfortable around humans. Many people also wrongly assume that grizzly bears cannot climb trees. Adult females bears pass on foraging techniques to their young, so a cub that learns about apple trees from his mother will be back when he is a larger adult. Anyone who wants to know more about living in bear country should visit the Be Bear Aware website, at http://goo.gl/kKtYY, by the Center for Wildlife Information.
The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet November 9, 10 and 11 in Coeur d'Alene. A public comment period begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday, November 9. The commission's routine agenda includes appointing a commission representative to Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. A complete agenda will be posted on the Fish and Game website at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/about/commission/?getPage=184 when it becomes available.
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