Press Release

April 2014

Ask Fish and Game: Bridge Closure Below C.J. Strike

Q: I am planning a trip to fish for Sturgeon below C.J. Strike Dam. If I decide to change spots, is there a quick way to get from one side of the river to the other?

A: It will be more difficult this summer, as Idaho Power has closed the bridge below the dam until July 31 for renovation. The bridge is on Strike Dam Cutoff Road, which connects Idaho Highway 167 (Grand View Road) to Black Sands Road and River Road. Alternate routes include continuing west on Grand View Road, which crosses the river at Grand View, or Highway 51, which crosses the river several miles north of Bruneau. For more information and a map of the area, check this link: www.idahopower.com/cjstrike.

Wildlife Programs Benefit from Online Giving May 1

You can help "Keep Idaho Wonderfully Wild" by participating on Thursday, May 1st, in Idaho Gives, a statewide day of online giving. Donors can learn about and designate funds to benefit wildlife management and conservation programs, as well as other nonprofit projects.

"Idaho's wildlife populations are increasingly threatened by habitat loss, disease and climate change. They need our help to survive and thrive," said Ann Dehner, Executive Director of the Idaho Fish & Wildlife Foundation. Support from Idahoans is vital to ensuring that healthy wildlife species continue to be a part of Idaho's natural resources.

The Idaho Fish & Wildlife Foundation will participate in Idaho Gives for the second year of this statewide fundraising event. Projects can be found online at http://idahogives.razoo.com/Idaho-Fish-And-Wildlife-Foundation.

Idaho has over 10,000 species of wildlife that include those that are endangered or threatened, game and nongame, as well as native plants. They continue to be a valued part of Idaho's natural world that contributes significantly to the state's quality of life. Idaho holds some of nature's most beautiful landscapes and vital habitats that sustain the state's fish and wildlife resources for each generation.

The Foundation's work focuses on habitat restoration and preservation projects, public access, conservation education and legacy gifts from donors. Through statewide project funding, the Foundation promotes a greater understanding of the value of Idaho's fish and wildlife resources, appreciation of the complexities of wildlife management, and habitat preservation. For more information, contact the Foundation at IFWF.org.

IDFG Considering an Increase to Lake Pend Oreille Kokanee Limits

Continued improvement of the Lake Pend Oreille kokanee population has the Idaho Department of Fish and Game considering an increase to the harvest limit.

As hoped, the kokanee population has responded well to intensive efforts to reduce predators. Lake trout have been dramatically reduced thanks to angler harvest and lake trout netting efforts, and as a result, survival of juvenile kokanee has increased and the population has significantly increased.

Jim Fredericks, Regional Fishery Manager said the IDFG is considering an increase from the current limit of 6 to the general regional limit of 15 per day. The current fishing rules, which took effect in January, 2013 would be in effect through 2015 unless the IDFG Commission approves a mid-cycle change.

"We shifted from to a two-year to a three-year rule cycle in 2010, and we recognized there would be times we wouldn't want to wait until a new rule cycle to make a change." Fredericks said. "When we opened the kokanee fishery in 2013, we took a very cautious approach with the six-fish limit, anticipating if the population continued to grow we could consider changing the rules mid-cycle."

Last fall, an estimated 1.2 million mature kokanee survived to spawn, which made it one of the highest spawner returns seen in the past 40 years and was about a four-fold increase from 2012. All indications are that there should be even more mature fish in 2014.

Kokanee, or landlocked sockeye salmon, are not only a popular sportfish, but are the foundation for the trophy rainbow fishery and the bull trout population. For these reasons, maintaining a healthy kokanee population is a top priority.

Spring Bear Seasons Are Open

Idaho offers black bear hunting opportunities in both the Spring and the Fall. Spring hunting seasons for black bear opened on April 15 throughout the Idaho Panhandle Region.

Season ending dates vary by unit. In units 2, 3 and 5 the season closes May 15. Units 1, 4, and 4A close May 31. The higher elevation units close later with unit 6 open through June 30. Units 7 and 9 close July 31. Hunters may use a second bear tag and electronic calls in units 4, 6, 7 and 9 where bear numbers are higher than population objectives and predation is depressing deer and elk numbers.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game would like to remind hunters to carefully identify their target before shooting. Only black bears may be hunted, however grizzly bears could be encountered throughout much of the Panhandle. Grizzlies are protected by state and federal law.

While grizzlies are most commonly found in big game unit 1, they may be found in any of the Panhandle hunting units. Several years ago, a grizzly showed up near Rose Lake in unit 4. To get there it crossed through several big game units where grizzlies are very uncommon.

Last fall, a female grizzly collared in NW Montana crossed into Idaho big game unit 4. This 16-18 year old bear then spent several weeks in the Coeur d'Alene Mountains. Apparently the area was not where she wanted to settle down for the winter, so she traveled toward the Silver Valley, crossed I-90 somewhere near Kingston or Pinehurst and made her way into the upper St Joe. She denned somewhere in the St. Joe drainage.

Her collar was programmed to automatically turn off for the winter to save battery power, so her exact den location is unknown.

The collar is programmed to be back on now, but no signals have been detected. The lack of a signal indicates she is likely still in her den.

Moose, Sheep and Goat Hunt Applications Due

The deadline for moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat controlled hunt applications is fast approaching.

April 30 is the last day to apply for these hunts. Apply at any Idaho license vendor, over the internet or telephone, through the mail, or at Fish and Game offices. Telephone applications may be made at 1-800-554-8685; Internet users may apply through Fish and Game's website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/.

Each applicant must possess a current valid 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 appropriate tag fee must be paid with the application. All but the application fee will be refunded to those who do not draw. The resident application, including tag fee, costs $173; nonresidents pay $2,116.50.

Mailed applications must be postmarked no later than April 30.

Hunters who apply for moose, goat or sheep may not apply deer, elk or pronghorn controlled hunts in the first application period in the same year except: they may apply for unlimited controlled hunts, unclaimed or leftover tags, extra hunts, controlled bear hunts or depredation hunts. Those who draw a moose, goat or sheep tag may not apply to hunt the same species for two years, even if they don't harvest an animal.

For additional information, see the 2013-2014 Moose, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Goat Seasons and Rules, available at license vendors, Fish and Game offices and online at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/rules/?getPage=64.

New Link Provides First-hand Fishing Information

What is the best way to find out where fishing is hot in Idaho? Ask the people who are on the water. That's the idea behind a new feature on Fish and Game's website called "Fish Talk."

The new link provides anglers the opportunity to share their experiences with others; from where the fish are biting and what species are being caught; to what bait, lures or flies the fish are taking. Anglers can share their stories and even photographs of the "big one" that didn't get away.

Fisheries manager Dave Parrish will manage "Fish Talk." An avid angler himself, Dave will likely be providing his own expertise and experience to help users decide when and where to plan their fishing trips.

If you are an angler who is concerned that too much information will lead to overcrowding, Parrish says he plans to take measures to ensure that your "honey hole" won't be revealed. Anglers will be asked to share general information about locations, identifying certain lakes, rivers, streams or ponds; without being specific about exact locations.

"As I screen the incoming information, I'll try to guard against Ôhot-spotting' with too much specific information." Parrish said.

If you have a story to share, pictures to show, or a heads-up about water conditions, go to the fishing page on our website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish. Under the title "Fish Talk," click the tab that says "Tell other anglers" and share what you have learned on your fishing adventure.

Fish and Game Commission to Meet in Lewiston in May

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet May 14 and 15 in Lewiston.

A public hearing will begin at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 14 at Fish and Game's Clearwater Regional office at 3316 16th Street.

Members of the public who want to address the commission on any topic related to Fish and Game business may do so at the public hearing. All testimony will be taken into consideration when the commission makes decisions on agenda items at the meeting.

Regular commission business will begin at 8 a.m. Thursday, May 15. Agenda items include setting seasons for Chinook salmon on the upper Salmon and South Fork Salmon rivers; budget direction for fiscal 2016, a nonbiological rules update; and election of commission chairman and vice-chairman.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting the Idaho Department of Fish and Game director's office at 208-334-5159 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-368-6185 (TDD).

Earth Fest Planned April 26 at MK Nature Center

Come join the MK Nature Center for Earth Fest, a celebration for the entire family to get outside and enjoy the outdoors, Saturday, April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The family friendly event includes activities, games, arts and crafts, movies, and a kite-making workshop. Guided nature hikes and streamwalk tours will also take place every hour with kids' nature journal activities. Gardeners can shop for native plants and receive advice on native plant gardening. There is an Idaho Native Plant Society "Members-Only Sale" on Friday, April 25, from 5 to7 pm. If you are not already an INPS member, you may join at the Friday sale. On Saturday, April 26th, the sale is open to all from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm.

All activities are free and open to the public.

A 3-minute video that explains Earth Fest can be viewed by visiting Idaho Fish and Game's YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=edG_7BeKx8w.

Earth Fest is sponsored by Boise National Forest, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Idaho Native Plant Society.

"We're trying to get people out into the environment so they can develop an understanding, an awareness and an appreciation of Idaho's natural resources," said Edna Vizgirdas, Boise National Forest spokesperson.

Earth Fest is just one of several events planned during Idaho's Unplug and Be Outside Week. Events in the Treasure Valley will be offered through April 26, while events in Idaho Falls will be held May 3-10. Fish and Game's "Take-Me-Fishing" trailer will be on-hand at various locations to help introduce anglers of all ages to the joys of fishing.

All events are designed to inspire and empower families to get off the couch, get active and enjoy the outdoors. This annual program is hosted by the High Five Children's Health Collaborative, Be Outside-Idaho! Fit One, and more than a dozen partner organizations.

Fish and Game to Get First Insight into Elusive Ring-tailed Cat

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is getting new insights into the presence of the elusive Ring-tailed cat in the state.

Biologists are currently tracking a female Ring-tailed cat that was captured on the south side of Twin Falls on March 21, fitted with a radio collar and released the next day near Rock Creek in the South Hills. Based on information from the radio collar, biologists say the two pound animal traveled eight miles in three days following the release.

Information on the number of ringtails in Idaho is virtually nonexistent. In fact, this marks the first time Idaho biologists have had a live ringtail in their hands. Biologists will track the animal's movements, hoping to gain new insights about the elusive species' range and travel corridors.

To watch a short video of biologists and a veterinarian fitting the ringtail with a radio collar and releasing it into the wild, visit Idaho Fish and Game's YouTube channel at http://youtu.be/mCchVGpy87M

The tiny carnivore with big ears, pointed nose, long tail and striking facial markings isn't a cat at all. A member of the raccoon family, it eats rodents, birds, berries and insects and inhabits the rocky deserts of the Southwest and Mexico. However, the species can persist in an array of habitats, and its range runs north into the forests of southern Oregon.

Fish and Game Biologists have very little information about how many ringtail cats live in Idaho. Few people will ever see a ringtail because of their nocturnal nature. They spend daylight hours in a den, only coming out at night.

Ask Fish and Game: Hunter Education

Q. I want to sign up for a controlled hunt, but to get a license I have to take a hunter education class. How soon can I get in?

A. It depends on where you live. Check the Fish and Game Hunter Education website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/education/?getPage=30 or contact the nearest Fish and Game office for information about local classes. Several options are available; traditional instructor-led classes, a self-study workbook or an online course. All three require attending field days. Parental consent is required for students under 18.

Annual Fur Auction Set For Saturday In Idaho Falls

The fur sale is set for Saturday, April 26 at the Idaho Fish and Game Upper Snake Region office in Idaho Falls.

Items may be viewed beginning at 8:30 a.m., with the live auction beginning at 10 a.m. The sale will be conducted at 4279 Commerce Circle, Idaho Falls, by Prime Time Auctions Inc.

Auction items include furs, whole carcasses, antlers, skulls and other items. All items were either seized as evidence or salvaged. All carcasses are considered unfit for human consumption and are sold for use of the non-edible portions only.

Elk, deer and moose antlers may be sold as small bundles by weight or as single sets attached to skull plates.

A taxidermist-furbuyer license is required in advance to bid on bear parts, mountain lion parts or any furbearer for anyone in the business of buying and selling hides or animal mounts. Resident licenses are $40 for one year, and nonresident licenses are $170. The licenses can be purchased at any Idaho Fish and Game office.

Buyers for personal use are not required to have a taxidermist-furbuyer license.

Fish and Game will accept only cash, cashier's check or personal check. No credit card service will be available.

Nonresident purchasers should be aware that their state may not allow import of the hides or parts of bear, mountain lion, bobcat or otter. Be sure to check state regulations before purchasing these items.

A person who has killed an animal illegally and that animal has been confiscated and put up for sale at the auction, may not buy that animal or any part of it at the auction. Nor may another person buy the animal or any part of it on their behalf. A violation would be considered an illegal purchase of wildlife.

For more information, contact the Upper Snake Region Fish and Game office at 208-525-7290.

75th Celebration: Hatchery to Hook

While casting a line at your favorite fishing hole, whether along the river, in an urban pond or high mountain lake, have you ever wondered how there are enough fish to go around? Where did the fish come from? How did they get there? While not all fish caught around the state are hatchery raised, Idaho hatcheries provide millions of fish for Idaho anglers each year. Idaho's state fish hatchery program is one of Idaho Fish and Game's oldest and continuous programs.

In April of 1900, State Game Warden Charles Arbuckle recommended to the governor that Idaho was in need of a fish hatchery. State funding wasn't available so Arbuckle circulated a petition to Representatives of Congress, for the establishment of a federal hatchery in Idaho. While supported by most, a federal hatchery wouldn't be built and in production in Idaho until 1933. However, with revenue generated from license sales beginning in 1903, Idaho was able to construct its first state fish hatchery in 1907 at Hay Spur in Blaine County. In January 1908, the hatchery received eggs and began raising and distributing fish around the state. The Hay Spur Fish Hatchery is still in operation today.

Two more hatcheries were built the following year, and by 1927 there were 10 hatcheries in operation. Through the years, 37 hatcheries and numerous remote-rearing ponds have come and gone with 20 hatcheries currently in operation. Of the first 10 hatcheries, four are still in operation today.