Press Release

November 2011

Idaho Steelhead Season Still Open

The steelhead harvest season is open on the Boise, Clearwater, Salmon, Little Salmon and lower Snake rivers.

The release of steelhead in the Boise on Tuesday, November 22, was the last for 2011. The trapping rate at Oxbow Dam has slowed, and no more fish are available. But about 1,000 steelhead already have been released in the Boise River.

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.

Waters open for steelhead harvest are:

  • Boise River from its mouth upstream to Barber Dam.
  • Salmon River from its mouth upstream to the posted boundary 100 yards downstream from the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery weir, near the town of Stanley.
  • Little Salmon River from its mouth upstream to the U.S. Highway 95 bridge near Smokey Boulder Road.
  • Snake River from the Washington state line at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers upstream to Hells Canyon Dam.
  • Clearwater River mainstem 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.

The fall steelhead season ends December 31, and the spring season begins on January 1.

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:

Thinking of Ice Fishing?

Cold weather at the higher lakes and reservoirs in Idaho is starting to get anglers thinking about ice fishing.

Ice fishing can add months of enjoyable fishing. Most lakes and reservoirs are open year round, and if the weather is cold enough, ice on these waters can be safe and provide good fishing for yellow perch and trout. Anglers should wear warm clothing and be prepared for winter weather and driving conditions.

Check the ice thickness and condition before venturing over deep water. It takes at least three to four inches of clear, solid ice to support a person's weight; but it takes 8 to 10 inches to support a snow machine or an ATV.

In addition to fishing gear, ice anglers will need some special gear. Hand-held ice augers are inexpensive and easy to use if the blade is sharp. Also a slotted ladle will help keep the fishing hole free of ice.

Ice fishing rules are slightly different than general fishing for public safety and general crowding. Fishing is allowed only through a hole up to 10 inches in diameter. This reduces the risk of someone falling through holes. There is one exception on Bear Lake in Southeast Idaho where anglers can dip net cisco through any size hole.

There are no restrictions on the number of holes, but an angler can fish with up to five poles or lines at a time, and up to five hooks per line. A two-pole validation is not needed and does not allow more than five lines while ice fishing. All lines must be attended by the angler.

Gaff hooks may be used only to land fish through a hole cut or broken in the ice in waters that have no length restrictions or harvest closures for that species.

Anglers who use any enclosure or shelter for ice fishing and plan to leave it unattended overnight on the ice, must have the owner's name, telephone number, and current address legibly marked on two opposing sides. Shelters must be removed from the ice before the spring thaw.

Sportsmen Breakfast Meeting Planned December 6 at Fish and Game

Area wildlife enthusiasts are invited to an Idaho Fish and Game's Sportsmen's Breakfast Tuesday, December 6, at the Clearwater Regional Office, 3316 16th Avenue in Lewiston.

Department personnel will present information on a number of topics including:

  • How various habitat improvement programs benefit landowners, hunters, and wildlife.
  • Progress of Idaho's wolf hunting and trapping seasons.
  • Fall hunting season results, check station findings.
  • Progress of steelhead season and results of fall Chinook season.
  • Current enforcement activities and significant cases.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 a.m., with coffee, juice and donuts provided.

The meeting is open to anyone interested in wildlife and is designed to stimulate informal discussions about wildlife issues in the Clearwater Region. Sportsmen's group representatives are welcome to give reports of their group's activities.

Boise River Steelhead Stocking Complete

The release of steelhead in the Boise on Tuesday, November 22, will be the last for 2011.

The trapping rate at the Oxbow Dam has slowed, and the post Thanksgiving release has been cancelled.

Idaho Fish and Game already has released about 1,000 steelhead in the Boise River from Glenwood Bridge to Barber Park. The river is open for steelhead harvest from its mouth upstream to Barber Dam.

Besides a 2011 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 and nine in possession. The statewide limit is 20 for the fall season.

For more information on steelhead fishing in Idaho, consult the 2011-2012 fishing rules and seasons brochure, available at all license vendors, Fish and Game offices and online at:

Agencies to Radio-Collar Bighorn Sheep in Hells Canyon

The Idaho, Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife agencies plan to capture 28 bighorn sheep in four Hells Canyon herds November 28 - 30 as part of the ongoing Hells Canyon Initiative to restore bighorn sheep populations.

The sheep will be captured by netgunning from a helicopter and brought to a processing site near the capture location. Biologists will take health samples, radio-collar the sheep and release them on site.

This effort is part of research to determine movements, survival and productivity, and factors limiting population growth of bighorn sheep in Hells Canyon.

The project is made possible through the cooperative efforts of Shikar-Safari Club International, Washington Wild Sheep Foundation, Oregon Foundation for North American Wild Sheep, Nevada Bighorns Unlimited, Oregon Hunters, the state wildlife agencies, U. S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Results Online for Extra Hunts in Bennett Hills

Drawing results are available on the Idaho Fish and Game website for two extra antlerless mule deer controlled hunts in the Bennett Hills.

Results can be found at:, then click on Antlerless Mule Deer - Bennett Hills/Blair Fire Hunts.

Results also will be mailed to successful applicants - along with a map of the area.

Idaho Fish and Game has drawn 250 tags for each of two extra controlled hunts in hunt area 45-1. The first, hunt-1127, runs from December 1 through 14, and the second, hunt 1128, runs December 20 through 31.

Hunt Area 45-1 is the part of Game Management Unit 45 north of Interstate 84, east of the Bennett Mountain Road, and west of the Bliss-Hill City Road, excluding the Camas Creek drainage.

And additional information is available at

The Bureau of Land Management's travel restrictions in the burn area will affect hunter access during these hunts.

Nonresident Tag Sales Start December 1

The 2012 licenses, tags and permits go on sale at 12:01 a.m. MST, Thursday, December 1, except for the nonresident Selway B elk tags which go on sale at 10 a.m. MST.

The sale of the popular Selway B tags is being delayed because many license vendors and Idaho Department of Fish and Game offices will not be open at midnight. By delaying the sale timing, hunters will have an equal opportunity to buy the tags.

Nonresident hunters can buy their licenses and tags at Fish and Game offices, any license vendor, or by credit card by calling 1-800-554-8685. They can also buy them online at the Fish and Game Website at

Big game hunters can find more information on the sale and purchase of tags for residents and nonresidents on pages 92-96 of the Idaho 2011 Big Game Seasons rules booklet.

Nonresidents can buy licenses and deer and elk tags beginning Thursday, December 1.

Resident hunters also can buy 2012 hunting licenses starting December 1, and they can buy a receipt for deer and elk tags, which don't go on sale until after deer, elk and pronghorn controlled hunt drawings.

Hunters can redeem the receipt for a deer or elk tag after the controlled hunt drawings in July so those whose names were drawn don't have to exchange their general season tags for controlled hunt tags at a Fish and Game office.

Instead the controlled winners are simply issued a controlled hunt tag at any license vendor. The rest are issued general season tags.

Fish & Game Launches Online Bear ID Training

Since launching its revised website on August 1, Idaho Fish and Game has added the Idaho Bear Identification program, including training, exam and videos.

The course is now available on the Fish and Game website at

The program includes introductory and training sections and a 15-question test section. Individuals who pass the test will be able to print a certificate.

Portions of northern and eastern Idaho are home to both black and grizzly bears. It is important for bear hunters to properly identify their target because of the protection offered grizzlies by the Endangered Species Act and because the two types of bears generally react differently to humans. Even for people not hunting bears, learning how to tell the difference between the two species can be critical to surviving a surprise encounter with a bear.

The online bear identification training program is voluntary.

The program, coupled with other material available on the Fish and Game website, will help reduce mistaken-identity killings of grizzly bears by black bear hunters, provide Idaho's rules and regulation of black bear hunting, provide information about bear biology and natural history, and increase human safety by teaching conflict avoidance tools.

The bear education and identification program is designed to enhance efforts to manage black bears responsibly while protecting grizzly bears where the ranges of the two species overlap. Staff members from Fish and Game's wildlife, communications and information sciences bureaus worked together to developed a visual training program that provides instant feedback and training, an improvement over other similar courses developed by other states.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving

It's getting close to that time of year again, and here's an idea for anyone who is looking for a gift that's always in style, never the wrong size or color, and useable every day of the year.

Go to any Idaho Department of Fish and Game regional office around the state and buy them a gift certificate for a 2012 hunting and fishing license. They make good stocking stuffers.

A gift certificate is the best way to get them their hunting and fishing license for Christmas. Adult residents age 18 and over have to buy their own license because they need to show proof of residency.

Idaho Fish and Game gift certificates can be redeemed only at Fish and Game regional offices.

Several options and price ranges are available. Lifetime licenses cost from $276.75 to $1,113.00, depending on the age of the recipient. Seasonal resident licenses sell from $7.25 for junior hunting to $117.25 for the Sportsman's Package. A resident hunting license costs $12.75, and a fishing license costs $25.75.

The Sportsman's Package includes a hunting and fishing license, tags for deer, elk, bear, mountain lion, turkey, salmon and steelhead as well as archery and muzzleloader permits. That is a savings of nearly $70 over buying the items separately.

If playing a game of chance is more your style, the Idaho Fish and Game also offers tickets for Super Hunt drawings for individual deer, elk, pronghorn or moose hunts, and Super Hunt Combos for deer, elk, pronghorn and moose. The money raised from the purchase of these tickets goes to the Access Yes! program. The tickets can be purchased at any license vendor.

Super Hunt entries cost $6 for the first one, and $4 for each additional entry purchased during the same transaction. Super Hunt Combo tickets cost $20 for the first one, and $16 for each additional entry purchased during the same transaction.

The drawings for the all Super Hunts will be in June and August 2012.

Nature Center Plans Holiday Bird Seed Sale

Don't forget our feathered friends this winter and holiday season.

The MK Nature Center's fifth annual Holiday Bird Seed Sale will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, December 3.

Stock up on winter bird seed and find that special gift for the outdoor person on your list. Purchase premium bird seed in 5, 20 or 40 pound bags. Other items for sale include quality bird feeders, nature books, apparel, jewelry and children's gifts. Many of the items are made in Boise.

New this year will be a make and take craft the whole family can enjoy. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. participants can make holiday bird feeders and edible decor to hang in the yard. This activity is free, but donations are accepted.

All proceeds from the sale benefit Nature Center educational programs. The sale is presented by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's MK Nature Center and Wild Birds Unlimited.

For questions please call the Nature Center at 208-334-2225.

Ask Fish and Game: Hunter Orange

Q. Am I always supposed to wear hunter orange while hunting?

A. All upland game hunters and upland game bird hunters are required to wear visible hunter orange during pheasant season when hunting the nine Idaho Fish and Game wildlife management areas where pheasants are stocked. The areas are Fort Boise, C.J. Strike, Payette River, Montour, Sterling, Market Lake, Mud Lake, Cartier Slough and Niagara Springs. The minimum requirement is 36 square inches of hunter orange above the waist - an orange ball cap fulfills this requirement. Waterfowl and turkey hunters are not required to wear hunter orange. It is recommended, however, that all upland and big game hunters wear hunter orange whenever they are hunting. Though the statewide hunting accident rate is low, more than 70 percent of recorded incidents are caused by hunters mistaking other hunters for game animals.

Down Under Poaching Suspects Sentenced

By Evin Oneale - Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

What began as an Idaho big game hunting trip for three Australians ended abruptly Tuesday in Elmore County court where two of the men learned that hunting in most of the United States is no longer an option.

All three paid thousands of dollars in fines and restitution, while forfeiting two hunting rifles before the long plane trip back home.

Anton Kapeller, 58, Darren Tubb, 43, and Samuel Henley, 18, all from Tasmania, Australia, were contacted and later arrested by Idaho Fish and Game conservation officers on Thursday, November 3, near Atlanta. Eleven charges were filed against the trio; most serious were the charges of killing a six-point bull elk four days before the November 1 opener and leaving the animal to waste.

In an expedited process, the three bonded out of jail six days later and appeared before Magistrate Judge George Hicks for sentencing on Tuesday, November 15.

Kapeller faced six misdemeanor counts, including possession of unlawfully taken elk, and aid/counsel the killing of elk during closed season. He was sentenced to $5,792 in fines and restitution and a lifetime revocation of hunting and fishing privileges. He also forfeited a hunting rifle used during the trip.

Tubb was charged with three misdemeanors, including killing a bull elk closed season, wasteful destruction of elk and transfer of a big game tag. He was sentenced to $5,268 in fines and restitution, loss of a hunting rifle and a lifetime revocation of hunting and fishing privileges.

Henley faced two charges, including attempting to kill elk during closed season and use of a tag of another. He was sentenced to $2,333 in fines and restitution and a four-year revocation of hunting and fishing privileges.

More than $16,000 in bond money was also forfeited.