Press Release

August 2014

Kokanee Salmon add Color to Idaho Streams

As autumn approaches many outdoor adventurers enjoy watching a natural transformation that changes the look of Idaho's high country; while the autumn sky is filled with the colors of changing leaves, so are many small Idaho streams filled with the color of spawning kokanee salmon.

Kokanee are a land-locked version of the anadromous sockeye salmon which spend most of their adult lives in the ocean then return to places like the Stanley Basin to spawn. The domesticated kokanee planted in Idaho reservoirs and lakes originated in Washington state in the 1930's and 40's. Fish and Game has successfully introduced them into many lakes and reservoirs around Idaho including: Lake Pend Oreille, Lake Coeur d'Alene, Priest Lake, Dworshak Reservoir, Payette Lake, Warm Lake, Lucky Peak, Arrowrock Reservoir, Anderson Ranch Reservoir, Deadwood Reservoir, Island Park Reservoir and Ririe Reservoir - just to name a few.

Kokanee can grow to 18 inches but the "typical" Idaho kokanee is 10 to 14 inches long. Many would argue they are the most flavorful freshwater fish found anywhere. However, that flavor is not nearly as pleasing when they start changing colors.

Kokanee spend much of their lives eating plankton and aquatic insects, following food sources in the water column. In spring and early summer they can be found in as little as five feet of water, but as temperatures warm in the summer, kokanee go as deep as 20 to 30 feet. Immature kokanee are silver to blue (hence the north Idaho name "blueback") with a "football" shaped body. Like their salt water cousins the sockeye, their meat is pink to red and is highly prized for its rich flavor.

Dog Recovering From Mountain Lion Encounter

A German shorthaired pointer is recovering from injuries following an early morning confrontation with a suspected mountain lion in a west Boise neighborhood. The incident took place the morning of Wednesday August 27, in a subdivision near the corner of West Hill Road and North Collister Drive.

According to the homeowner, the dog went to the backyard early in the morning before daylight. Shortly thereafter, the dog yelped and ran back into the house through the dog door. The witness glanced outside and saw the lion crouched on the back porch. Moments later, the lion ran around the corner of the house and disappeared.

Fish and Game conservation officer Bill London responded, interviewed the witness and found evidence at the scene that confirmed the report. "It's likely a yearling lion, on its own for the first time in its life," London noted. "Finding sufficient food can be difficult, and young lions often view domestic pets as easy meals."

The cat's whereabouts are unknown at this time. Area pet owners are advised to keep a close watch on their pets in the coming days and turn lawn flood lights on when putting pets outside during early morning hours.

Mountain lion sightings should be reported immediately to the Fish and Game Southwest Region Office in Nampa at 208-465-8465. After normal business hours, report mountain lion sightings by calling the Ada County Sheriff's non-emergency dispatch line at 208-377-6790.

Mourning Dove Season Longer; Limits Raised

Many hunters are gearing up for a longer mourning dove season in Idaho. The season begins Monday September 1, and will continue through October 30. The bag limits are increased from 10 mourning doves per day and 30 in possession; to 15 per day, and 45 in possession. There is no season limit on doves.

Idaho Fish and Game has adopted the season recommendation approved by the Pacific Flyway Council and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The new season structure allows more opportunity, while conserving mourning dove populations and minimizing annual regulatory change.

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved the new season structure in Idaho during a July 2014 meeting; six months after the Upland Game Hunting Regulations were 1.

For more information on the 2014 dove season in Idaho, click here: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/doves

Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area Open Again

Over the last few weeks, Craig Mountain enthusiasts have experienced road closures on the main Zaza road due to the 67,200 acre Big Cougar Fire. Starting this Saturday August 23rd, access and roadways on Craig Mountain will be re-opened to pre-fire status. Idaho Fish and Game and firefighter staff will be traveling around the Wildlife Management Area to address issues associated with the fire, so please drive carefully.

In addition, there are many potential hazards associated with post-wildfire areas such as the following:

Trees and snags Obviously burned or compromised trees have a high potential of falling but also unburned trees may be more susceptible to falling if they've lost the shelter and support from neighboring trees. Be very cautious during windy conditions.

Rocks The dislodging and falling of rocks is another significant risk, especially in steep sloped areas such as the breaks and grasslands of Craig Mountain.

Unstable ground Soils will be more unstable after a wildfire when they've lost the stability from plants and trees. This may result in less stable hiking conditions or even may lead to landslides, especially during or after a heavy rain event.

Root wells After a wildfire has burned through a forested or shrubby area, sometimes the root system of shrubs and trees are also burned out leaving a void that may still be covered by ash and debris.

All the county, state, and federal agencies sincerely appreciate your patience through this fire and the associated closure period.

Contact the regional office (208) 799-5010 or visit us on Facebook at Idaho Fish and Game Clearwater Region for a more information concerning the Big Cougar Fire.

Steelhead Clinic for Youth Coming to Lewiston

Young anglers ages 8-14 are invited to participate in the annual Steelhead Clinic held on Thursday, October 30th from 7:00-9:00pm and Saturday, November 1st from 8:00am - 3:00pm. Both events will be held at the Idaho Fish and Game regional office on 16th street in Lewiston.

On Thursday, October 30th information will be presented on life history of a steelhead, fishing gear, and various fishing techniques. Saturday, November 1st will feature an on the water fishing experience. Students will be paired with a mentor and will be able to go out for a day on a drift or jet boat to practice their new skills!

"Every anadromous (ocean-going) fish that comes into Idaho, has to pass through our valley," says fisheries biologist Scott Putnam. This clinic has been a tradition for many years and we are happy to share our skills with area youth."

Clinic participants are required to have a valid 2014 Idaho fishing license. Youth should be dressed for the weather and should bring a life jacket and lunch. Idaho Fish and Game will supply all the needed fishing gear/equipment, boats, fishing instruction and some snacks.

Advance registration is required and space is limited. To learn more or to register for this free clinic, contact the Lewiston Parks & Recreation office at 208-746-2313.

Zan's, Five Mile and Lenore Boat Ramp Closure

Zan's and Five Mile Boat Ramps on the Clearwater River will be closed for repairs from August 20th- September 10th. Lenore ramp will close September 17th-24th.

Idaho Fish and Game is improving these launch sites to allow for better quality river access. River users are reminded to make sure not to block work areas. Signage will also be posted at these locations to notify users of the closure area. Contact the regional office (208) 799-5010 for more information.

A Chance to Hunt Ring-neck Pheasants Await Area Youth

A chance to hunt ring-necked pheasants awaits young hunters who sign up for a youth pheasant clinic scheduled for Saturday, October 4th in Lewiston.

"This clinic is intended to increase the interest young people have in upland game hunting and wildlife conservation," says Jay Roach, North Idaho Chapter President of Pheasants Forever. "This event will be a lot of fun. The kids don't have to compete, and those who have participated in the past have really enjoyed it."

The clinic is free and intended for first-time hunters 10 through 15 years of age who have already completed a hunter education course and hold a valid 2014 Idaho hunting license. Shotgun and shells will be provided. An adult supervisor must accompany each young hunter throughout the clinic.

Along with the pheasant hunt, participants will learn about wildlife conservation, dog handling, and will be able to hone their marksmanship skills shooting sporting clays. There will be special emphasis on safety, ethics, sportsmanship and hunting traditions.

Space is limited and advance registration is required. Youth wishing to participate should contact the Clearwater Region office at 799-5010 no later than 5:00 p.m. on Friday, September 26th. Detailed information will be provided to those who register in advance. No walk-ins will be accepted.

Sponsors include Flying B Ranch, Pheasant Forever, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Snake River Gun Dog & Sportsmen's Association, Genesee Gun Club and Latah Wildlife Association.

Ask Fish & Game: Leftover Tags

Q: Are the leftover tags that just went on sale tags that have been sold but not claimed?

A: No, the leftover tags that went up for grabs on Monday at 10 a.m. are tags that nobody ever applied for.

Boise Man Recognized for Conservation Efforts

Ken Miracle, Boise, Idaho is one of the six finalists selected for the 2014 Heroes of Conservation Awards hosted by Field & Stream. Miracle contributes his photographs, leads tours, and volunteers hard labor on behalf of the Sage Grouse Initiative and overall sage grouse habitat conservation.

More on Miracle and his work is available on the Sage Grouse Initiative website: http://www.sagegrouseinitiative.com/sage-grouse-initiative-volunteer-amo...

The overall winner of the Heroes of Conservation Award will be announced at a gala event in Washington, DC, September 17, 2014.

Many Hunters Plan to Double Their Adventure

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has made it more affordable for hunters to double their outdoor adventure this year. The commission reduced prices for second deer and elk tags, and Idaho hunters are taking advantage of the savings.

More than 500 hunters have purchased second deer tags, and nearly 300 have purchased second elk tags as of Sunday August 25. These numbers are much higher than the past several years. The price reduction coincides with unusually high populations of deer in the Gem State due to a series of mild winters.

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

Fish and Game Seeking Wolf Observations

Scouting for upcoming hunting seasons, huckleberry picking, and general late summer recreating are all good reasons for getting away to Idaho's great outdoors. If during these forays, you see a wolf, Fish and Game staff would like to hear about it.

"We're looking for basic wolf information from folks returning from the field," Fish and Game wildlife manager Craig White said. "Where the wolf or wolves were seen, their behavior, size, coat color and any other details."

The easiest way to report sightings is to use the wolf reporting form on the Fish and Game website. The user-friendly, step-by-step form takes only a few minutes to complete and can be accessed at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/species/observations/add?#speciesid=19117.

Completed forms are relayed to area biologists who, in some cases, may contact the observer for more details. "Many of the reports will be valuable in confirming documented wolf activity," White said. "In other cases, a report might identify a new wolf activity area that needs further investigation."

75th Celebration: 1990 - Fund Your Passion

In 1990, the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation was established to preserve and sustain Idaho's fishing, hunting, and wildlife heritage. It became a vehicle for the outdoor enthusiasts to fund their passion for fish and wildlife.

The Foundation's initial purpose as a nonprofit organization was to facilitate the creation of the Morrison Knudsen Nature Center in Boise. In the past 25 years, its mission has grown. Today it holds gifted funds, properties and conservation easements to preserve their conservation values and leave a lasting legacy for future generations. It also provides funding support for a wide range of programs that focus on habitat preservation, public access, and wildlife management and conservation education.

Projects funded by the Foundation are chosen through an annual competitive grants program. These projects can be found in the seven regional areas of Idaho: the Panhandle, Clearwater, Southwest, Magic Valley, Southeast, Upper Snake and Salmon regions. To explore projects funded in Idaho visit: www.IFWF.org

The Foundation also sponsors the Idaho wildlife specialty license plates. A portion of each plate purchase or renewal helps to support wildlife diversity programs, conservation, habitat improvements, education and wildlife publications. To learn more, visit: www.WildlifeLicensePlates.com

To learn more about this and other 75th Celebration stories, go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/75th