Press Release

July 2014

Governor Otter Appoints Clezie, Fischer To Idaho Fish and Game Commission

(BOISE) - Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter announced the appointment today of Pocatello real estate agent Lane Clezie and Meridian irrigation equipment wholesaler Blake Fischer to the seven-member Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

Clezie succeeds Randy Budge of Pocatello representing the Idaho Department of Fish and Game's Southeast Region, and Fischer succeeds Bob Barowsky of Fruitland representing Fish and Game's Southwest Region. The terms of both Budge and Barowsky expired June 30. Clezie and Fischer both will serve terms through June 2018.

"Lane and Blake are experienced, passionate sportsmen who bring great understanding of the Fish and Game Commission's responsibilities to hunters, anglers, fish and wildlife, and everyone who loves the outdoors," Governor Otter said. "I appreciate their willingness to take on the challenge of preserving, protecting and managing the people's resources for the enjoyment of future generations of Idahoans."

Lane Clezie, who designs and builds custom firearms stocks, is very active in the National Rifle Association (NRA), Safari Club International, the Wild Sheep Foundation, the Mule Deer Foundation and many other sportsmen's organizations. He became well known to members of Idaho's congressional delegation while lobbying them on hunting and firearms issues. Governor Otter received letters of endorsement for Clezie's appointment from Congressman Mike Simpson, Senator Mike Crapo, the chief executive officer of Safari Club International and NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre.

"I've had a lot of experience in conservation activities around the world, and I look forward to contributing my knowledge and experience toward protecting, perpetuating and enhancing Idaho's wildlife," Clezie said.

Bass Rules, Bad Behavior and Lake Lowell

Ask any bass fisherman in the know and they will tell you - largemouth bass fishing has never been better at Lake Lowell. Larger bass are numerous, and both bank and boat anglers are regularly catching four- and five-pound fish. Smaller, two- and three-pound fish are even more plentiful.

But all is not rosy at Lake Lowell. Rules that have helped produce the reservoir's robust fishery are being ignored by too many anglers. In response, Fish and Game staff have stepped up efforts to minimize this behavior.

Unlike most water bodies in Idaho where general six bass limits apply, Lake Lowell's bass population is managed under special rules. While bass fishing is allowed year-round, a catch and release provision is in place from January 1 through June 30. The second half of the year, a "slot limit" allows for a daily harvest of two bass, but none between 12 and 16 inches. The slot limit rule allows the reservoir's slow-growing bass to reach maturity and reproduce, and so perpetuate Lake Lowell's bass population into the future.

In 2013, Lake Lowell's bass fishing was nearly as good as it is this year, and too many anglers either didn't know the rules or simply chose not to abide by them. Fish and Game officers stayed busy contacting and educating anglers about the special rules. Both warnings and citations were issued to offenders.

Waterfowl Open House Slated

Waterfowl hunters have a chance to comment on proposed 2014-2015 southwest Idaho seasons at an upcoming open house hosted by Idaho Fish and Game. Statewide waterfowl proposals and an opportunity to comment will soon be available on the Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

On Tuesday, August 5 from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, Fish and Game personnel will be on hand to visit with the public at the Fish and Game Nampa office (3101 S. Powerline Road). The open house format allows visitors to attend anytime during the session. Call 465-8465 for information.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees waterfowl management at the national level, authorized Fish and Game to hold a waterfowl season similar to the 2013-2014 season. Using that authorization as a framework, Fish and Game has proposed a 105-day season, identical in length to last year's. Seven bird bag limits and 14 bird possession limits are part of the new season proposal.

Information collected at public open houses across the state will be summarized and presented to the Fish and Game Commission, which will set final waterfowl seasons later in August.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting Kim Cox at the Fish and Game Nampa office (465-8465) or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-3529 (TDD).

Record Number of Sockeye Counted at Lower Granite Dam

On Thursday July 24, the number of sockeye salmon passing Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River set a new record at 2,270. This is the most sockeye salmon counted at Lower Granite since the dam was built in 1975. As of Sunday July 27, that number had risen to 2,456, and with dozens of sockeye coming through each day, it will continue to rise. At the same time, the first adult sockeye of 2014 are arriving in the upper reaches of the Salmon River in the Sawtooth Valley of Idaho. As of Monday July 28, Fish and Game has trapped 25 sockeye, 24 in the trap on Redfish Lake Creek, and one in the Sawtooth Hatchery.

While these numbers pale in comparison to the tens of thousands of sockeye that lead to the name of Redfish Lake, they demonstrate a remarkable improvement from 1990, when not one single Sockeye was observed passing Lower Granite Dam. In 1991 Snake River Sockeye Salmon were listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. From 1988 to 1999 the number of sockeye returning to the Sawtooth Valley was in the single digits. During nine of those eleven years, the number was zero or one, including 1992, when then Governor Cecil Andrus named "Lonesome Larry" a single male sockeye that was trapped on Redfish Lake Creek.

It was during this time that Idaho Fish and Game joined a multi-agency and tribal effort to save Snake River Sockeye from extinction. This year's record return is due in large part to a captive brood stock program begun in 1991 that is managed by Idaho Fish and Game and largely financed by Bonneville Power Administration. The program has kept the fish's genetics intact while numbers of returning sockeye have slowly increased.

Sawtooth Hatchery Provides Education and Entertainment

Families traveling in the Sawtooth Mountains have the opportunity to get a first hand lesson in nature, and a bit of free entertainment at the Sawtooth Fish Hatchery.

Every summer, Chinook salmon return to the hatchery after a 900 mile journey from the Pacific Ocean to the Salmon River near Stanley. The fish are returning to the place they were born after a remarkable journey through the Columbia, Snake and Salmon Rivers.

For the past several years, enough Chinook salmon have returned to the Sawtooth Hatchery to provide limited fishing opportunity. The Chinook season is closed on the Salmon River, but the hatchery remains open to visitors. Those visitors can watch salmon jumping through several stages of the weir and into a trap. The large fish are easy to see in the holding tanks where they will stay until hatchery workers process them for spawning to ensure future generations of Chinook will make the same round-trip journey from the Salmon River to the Pacific Ocean and back again.

Chinook salmon begin showing up at the hatchery in June, and continue to arrive through mid September. The Sawtooth Hatchery Visitor Center is open year round from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

To learn more about Chinook salmon returning to the Sawtooth Hatchery watch this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X3m0QKg72fw

Commission Committed to Reducing Accidental Trapping of Pets

-By Fred Trevey, IDFG Commission Chairman

Trapping has long been part of Idaho's outdoor heritage, providing income, recreation, and a connection to wildlife for many citizens through harvest of a renewable natural resource.

Unfortunately, we have had some had some instances where domestic dogs have been accidently caught, and in a couple of cases killed in conibear (body-gripping) traps, which are designed to quickly kill target species.

Trappers, the Fish and Game Commission and department are committed to finding ways to reduce the accidental catch of dogs. That's why Fish and Game recently convened a series of meetings of regional working groups consisting of trappers and dog owners - including hunting dog owners, to gather points of view and brainstorm ideas.

When the Commission met earlier this month, staff presented summaries of the meetings and recommendations suggesting a three prong approach to reduce instances of accidental trapping including: 1) developing some restrictions to the use of body gripping traps; 2) increase access to trapper education, and 3) increase public education on trapping and releasing pets from traps.

The Commission directed staff to work on specific proposals for consideration at the Commission's January meeting. Should the Commission select alternatives, they would then go through a formal input process before being considered for adoption by the Commission.

Accidental trappings of pets are rare but some recent incidents have made news in some parts of Idaho. Some have used these instances to denounce all trapping. One Idaho newspaper recently called it a "disgusting, barbaric and cruel practice." As chairman of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission, I take issue with that.

Ask Fish & Game: Three Year License for 17 Year Olds

Q: My daughter is 17 years old. Can she buy a three year hunting license and pay the youth price for the years when she will be 18 and 19?

A: Yes. The whole idea behind the three year license is to provide a price break to those who are willing to commit to more than one year. While anyone can potentially save money by avoiding increases for two years, some people can save a more substantial amount. 17 year olds receive excellent value from the program by paying the youth price for two years when they would otherwise have to pay the higher adult price.

Hunters Must Purchase Controlled Hunt Tags by August 1

Big game hunters who were drawn in controlled hunt drawings for deer, elk, antelope and bear have only until August 1 to purchase their tags. Any tags not purchased by that date will be forfeited.

Controlled hunt tags are allocated by a random drawing from a pool of hunters who have submitted applications. Moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat hunts in Idaho are all controlled hunts. Both general and controlled hunts are available for other big game species.

The big game controlled hunt drawings have been completed and hunters can find out if they drew a tag by checking the controlled hunt drawing results on the IDFG web site: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/licenses/controlledHunts/results/. It is the responsibility of controlled hunt applicants to see if they were drawn for these limited entry hunting opportunities. Big game general hunt tags are available in most big game units for those who do not draw.

Between August 2 and August 4, IDFG will compile a list of forfeited tags. A second drawing will award the forfeited tags. The application period for this second drawing runs from August 5 to 15. The drawing will be held around August 20. Any remaining tags will be available over the counter on August 25.

Hunters hoping to hunt on private land should contact landowners on whose property they hope to hunt. According to a survey of rural Idaho landowners, 88% will allow some level of hunting on their property if hunters ask for permission. Most landowners are more likely to grant access to their land to people who ask well in advance.

Tags for general hunts and controlled hunts may be purchased at any Fish and Game office, any license vendor, by telephone at 800-554-8685 or online at https://id.outdoorcentral.us/.

Second Tags Available This Week

Beginning August 1, hunters will be able to purchase unsold nonresident tags for deer and elk as second tags. The tags are available to resident and nonresident hunters.

This year the Fish and Game Commission has decided to make the unsold tags available at a discount. Normally they are sold at the full nonresident price, but the Commission wants to provide additional opportunity for hunters who are interested in a second hunt for deer or elk in Idaho by making second tags more affordable. The tags will be sold on a first come, first served basis starting Friday August 1.

For more information on the discounted second tags go to: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/tagdiscount

Super Hunt Second Draw Deadline Approaching

Hunters interested in the second Super Hunt drawing have until August 10 to enter.

Super Hunt tags allow winners to pursue a deer, elk, pronghorn or moose in any open hunt. The Super Hunt Combo winner is able to hunt all four species - deer, elk, pronghorn and moose in any open hunt.

Two elk, two deer, two pronghorn and one moose hunt will be drawn. One Super Hunt Combo will also be drawn. Winners will be notified by August 15.

Money raised by the drawings provides hunters and anglers access to private lands through the Access Yes! program.

Something's Itchy at Horsethief Reservoir

It's a head scratcher. Some visitors to Horsethief Reservoir - located eight miles east of Cascade, Idaho - have reported breaking out in rashes soon after swimming in the reservoir.

While it has not been confirmed, the most likely culprit is cercarial dermatitis, commonly known as swimmer's itch. The itch is caused by a small parasitic worm, seeking an appropriate host - usually waterfowl. If these larvae, swimming freely in the water column, come in contact with human skin, they may penetrate it. Dying almost immediately, the parasite can cause a raised, mildly itchy spot to develop on the skin. More larvae in one general location can lead to an itchy rash which intensifies with time, but generally lasts only a week or so.

While aggravating, the larvae and the itch they cause have no lasting effects on humans.

More information regarding swimmer's itch can be found at this web location:

http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/water/documents/swimmers_itch_faq.pdf

Bull Elk Relocated After Touring Garden City

Idaho Fish and Game officers have returned a bull elk to the wild after it paid a visit to Garden City.

Around 9:15 Thursday night a Garden City resident called the Garden City Police Department to report an elk in a vacant lot at 42nd and Adams Street. The officer verified the elk was foraging in the vacant lot, and called Fish and Game Conservation Officer Bill London. Officer London responded to find a bull elk that appeared to be stressed. London observed spectators who were getting too close to the elk; some even trying to take "selfies" with it. This interaction caused the stress which led to the young bull running through the Garden City neighborhood, including Veteran's Parkway, a main thoroughfare.

"When people get this close to a wild animal, the stress not only creates potential harm to the animal and to the public," London said "the increased adrenaline can also make it difficult to tranquilize an animal."

Garden City Police agreed this situation created a risk to the elk and to people living and driving in the area. It was clear the best solution would be to relocate the elk, which eventually returned to the vacant lot to feed.

Garden City Police were able to keep people, their dogs and cars at a distance, and the elk eventually bedded down. Fish and Game veterinarian Mark Drew took this opportunity to dart the elk with tranquilizers.

With the help of Garden City Police and Fish and Game employees, Conservation Officer Rob Brazie loaded the elk into a horse trailer and drove it to a location north of Horseshoe Bend where it was released unharmed.