Press Release

May 2015

Herbicide Treatment Scheduled for Crystal Springs Pond

Aquatic vegetation including Nitella and filamentous algae, is causing issues for anglers at Crystal Springs Pond, a popular Bingham County fishery located approximately 22 miles west of Blackfoot near Springfield. Problems with excessive plant growth in this pond began last summer, and if left unchecked, will quickly reduce fishing opportunity to zero.

Idaho Fish and Game staff began treating Crystal Springs Pond on Thursday, May 28, with a granular herbicide that will kill the nuisance plants and make the ponds fishable once again. Two additional treatments will occur biweekly with the entire treatment process being completed by June 25.

The treatment process will be conducted according to manufacturer guidelines by Fish and Game staff licensed as aquatic herbicide applicators. Signs have been placed at Crystal Springs Pond notifying the public of the treatment effort underway.

Anglers are able to fish the pond through the application process.

For more information about the weed treatment effort, please contact the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in Pocatello at 208-232-4703

June 13 is Free Fishing Day

Saturday, June 13th is Free Fishing Day, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game invites veteran and novice anglers of all ages, residents and nonresidents alike, to celebrate the day by fishing anywhere in Idaho without a license. Though fishing license requirements are suspended for this special day, all other rules, such as limits or tackle restrictions, remain in effect.

"Free fishing day provides a great opportunity for novices to give fishing a try and perhaps develop it into a life-long pursuit," Fish and Game regional fish manager Joe Kozfkay said. "Parents are encouraged to bring their children out for a day of fun fishing excitement."

Lack of fishing experience is no excuse. At special locations around the southwest region, equipment will be available for use and fishing experts will be on hand to help novice anglers learn the ins and outs of fishing. In addition, all these locations will be stocked with hatchery rainbow trout prior to the special day. Look for the event nearest you and Take a Kid Fishing.

For more information regarding Free Fishing Day, contact the Fish and Game McCall office (634-8137) or the Nampa office (465-8465).

Free Fishing Day Events in the Southwest Region - Saturday, June 13, 2015 Note: pay special attention to event times. Check the Fish and Game website (http://fishandgame.idaho.gov) for schedule additions and or changes.

Fishing Trailer Schedule for June

June will be a busy month for Fish and Game's fishing trailer, with ten fishing events - including Free Fishing Day on June 13th - scheduled around the Treasure Valley and beyond.

To learn more about the fishing trailer, contact the Fish and Game Nampa office at 465-8465. A complete statewide fishing trailer schedule is available on the Fish and Game website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

A fishing license is not needed by any participant that registers at the trailer for the duration of the event, regardless of age or residency. "Everyone is welcome at these events, but we want to make a point of inviting kids and their parents who have an interest in fishing but lack the equipment and perhaps the knowledge to get started," regional conservation educator Evin Oneale noted. "The only cost is a bit of time, and the idea is to help people gain enough fishing experience and confidence to strike out on their own and enjoy fishing as a fun, family activity."

Southwest Region Fishing Trailer Schedule for June

June 3 - Williams Pond (Boise) - 4:00pm-8:00pm

June 4 - Mill Pond (Horseshoe Bend) - 10:00am-2:00pm

June 6 - Settlers Pond (Meridian) - 10:00am-2:00pm (Fishin' With the Commission)

June 13 - McDevitt Pond (Boise) - 9:00am-2:00pm (Free Fishing Day)

June 17 - Settlers Pond (Meridian) - 10:00am-2:00pm

June 18 - Kleiner Pond (Meridian) - 10:00am-2:00pm

June 20 - Wilson Ponds (Nampa) - 10:00am-2:00pm

June 24 - McDevitt Pond (Boise) - 10:00am-2:00pm

June 25 - Williams Pond (Boise) - 10:00am-2:00pm

June 27 - Sawyers Ponds (Emmett) - 9:00am-1:00pm (4-H Fishing Event)

Trap Education Effort Partners with Rattlesnake Avoidance Training for Dogs

Hunters and other dog enthusiasts now have another reason to attend the 20th annual Premier Rattlesnake Avoidance Training for Dogs event. Idaho Fish and Game officers will be holding a trap awareness seminar as part of the day's events.

To register or just learn more about the training day, visit www.snakeavoidance.org, or contact event organizer Heidi Funke at hfunke3dk@gmail.com or by phone at 208-463-2304.

The combined event will be held at Veterans' Memorial Park - State Street and Veterans' Parkway in Boise - on Sunday, June 14th from 11:00am to 3:00pm. While the cost of the rattlesnake avoidance training is $50 for pre-registered dogs, the trap awareness seminar is free, with no appointment required.

The trap awareness seminar is designed for anyone who regularly takes their dogs to the Boise foothills, other outlying areas and even the greenbelt. "Most dog owners are unfamiliar with traps of any kind," Fish and Game conservation officer Kurt Stieglitz noted. "This seminar will provide them with some very practical tools related to trapping, including the steps to take if a pet dog ever ends up in a trap."

Fish and Game staff will discuss the different types of traps that might be encountered including foot-hold traps, body-gripping traps, and snares, how each trap type works and how to safely release a pet from a trap. Other topics to be covered include trapping seasons, areas to avoid while walking your pet, trapping rules, and what to do if a trap is encountered.

For more information regarding the trap awareness seminar, contact the Idaho Fish and Game Nampa office at 208-465-8465.

Fish and Game Seeks Comments on Draft Sharp-tailed Grouse Plan

Idaho Fish and Game is seeking public comments on its draft management plan for the conservation of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse.

The Columbian sharp-tailed grouse is one of six subspecies of sharp-tailed grouse in North America. They were once considered the most abundant and well-known upland game bird in the Pacific Northwest but now occupy less than 5 percent of their historic range in the United States. Idaho supports approximately 60 to 65 percent of the remaining Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in the United States.

The intent of the draft management plan is to provide guidance to Fish and Game for implementing conservation measures that will enhance habitat and populations, and to prevent the need for ESA protection of Columbian sharp-tailed grouse in the future.

During their May 20 meeting in Lewiston, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved Fish and Game's request to solicit public comments on the draft plan.

The draft plan is available on the Fish and Game website at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/draft-columbian-sharp-tailed-grouse.

Comments may be submitted on the website or by e-mail to idfg-staff@idfg.idaho.gov; or by mail to Sharp-tailed Grouse Plan Comments, c/o Idaho Fish and Game, P.O. Box 25, Boise ID 83707.

The 30-day comment period will conclude on June 24. Fish and Game will evaluate all comments and revise the draft plan. A final plan will be submitted for commission review and approval in July.

Rainbow Trout Stocking Schedule

Personnel from Fish and Game's McCall and Nampa Hatcheries will be releasing more than 87,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations during June. With Free Fishing Day around the corner, local ponds will be a focal point of trout stocking efforts this month.

LOCATION - WEEK STOCKED - NUMBER OF TROUT

Bear Pond (Placerville) - June 8 - 200

Boise River - above Glenwood Bridge - June 22, 29 - 1,440/1,440

Boise River - below Glenwood Bridge - June 22, 29 - 720/720

Boise River, Middle Fork - June 22 - 2,000

Boise River, North Fork - June 22 - 2,000

Bull Trout Lake (Grandjean) - June 15 - 900

Bull Trout Lake #1, Little (Grandjean) - June 15 - 750

Bull Trout Lake #2, Little (Grandjean) - June 15 - 1,200

Caldwell Pond #2 - June 1 - 500

Council Park (Ol' McDonald) Pond - June 8 - 500

Crooked River (Idaho City) - June 15 - 1,000

Eagle Island Park Pond - June 8 - 450

Ed's Pond (Emmett) - June 8 - 300

Fischer Pond (Cascade) - June 8 - 750

Gold Fork River (Donnelly) - June 15 - 1,150

Grimes Creek (Idaho City) - June 8 - 1,000

Herrick Reservoir (Cascade) - June 8 - 2,000

Hero's Pond (Meridian) - June 8 - 150

Horsethief Reservoir (Cascade) - June 8 - 3,000

Indian Creek (Caldwell) - June 1 - 200

Indian Creek (Kuna) - June 1 - 300

Kimberland Meadows Pond (New Meadows) - June 8 - 1,000

Kleiner Pond (Meridian) - June 8 - 1,800

Legacy Park Pond (Mt. Home) - June 8 - 300

Lost Valley Reservoir (New Meadows) - June 1, 8 - 4,500/4,500

Lowman (10-mile) Ponds - June 1 - 600

Marsing Pond - June 1 - 450

Martin Lake (Grandjean) - June 15 - 1,000

McDevitt Pond (Boise) - June 8 - 900

Merrill Pond (Eagle) - June 8 - 500

Mill Pond (Horseshoe Bend) - June 8 - 900

Mores Creek (Idaho City) - June 8 - 1,000

Celebrate Idaho Free Fishing Day June 13

No fishing gear or experience? No problem! Saturday, June 13th is Idaho's annual Free Fishing Day.

Idaho Fish and Game invites residents, nonresidents, as well as veteran and novice anglers of all ages to celebrate the day by fishing anywhere in Idaho without a license. Even though a fishing license is not required for this special day, all other rules, such as limits and tackle restrictions, still remain in effect.

Make sure to grab a copy of the fishing regulations before you head out on the water. Free fishing day does include salmon fishing; anglers do not need a license or salmon permit, but they are still subject to all bag and possession limits.

Staff and volunteers will be available at seven locations around the region to help novice anglers learn the basics of fishing. Contests, activities and prizes will be awarded during these events.

All of these locations will be freshly stocked with hungry hatchery rainbow trout. Look for an event near you and take a kid, friend or neighbor fishing.

All events run from 9 a.m. to noon.

- Elk City - Karolyn's Pond

- Grangeville - Wilkin's Pond

- Headquarters - Pierce/Weippe - Deer Creek Reservoir

- Kooskia - Fenn Pond, 5 miles from Lowell on Forest Service Road 223.

- Lewiston - Mann Lake

- Lewiston- Kiwanis Park Pond/Levee Pond

- Moscow/Troy - Spring Valley Reservoir

Contact the Clearwater Regional office for more information (208) 799-5010. Load up the family and come join us for a fun-filled day on water!

Celebrating 10 Years of Steelhead in the Classroom

In 2006, McSorley elementary in Lewiston, Idaho, introduced an aquatic environment study that allowed students to take an active role in preserving and understanding one of the region's most unique environmental assets, the anadromous Steelhead Trout.

Currently in its tenth year, this unit has developed into an essential part of fifth grade instruction at every elementary school within the Lewiston School District, as well as several elementary schools in the surrounding area including Lapwai, Genesee, Troy and Moscow.

The level of understanding and instructional value of this program actually goes beyond fifth grade expectations. Students are taking an active role in understanding and preserving a culturally historic fish. In addition, the program's success has developed into a cooperative effort that allows students to learn and work alongside professionals from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Nez Perce Tribal Fisheries, Dworshak National Fish Hatchery, Bureau of Land Management, Lewis-Clark State College, Dworshak State Parks, Army Corps of Engineers, and the Nez Perce Historical Park.

This learning opportunity begins in March when each elementary school receives 50-100 steelhead eggs. Within a few weeks the eggs hatch and our young biologists begin the exploration process. Every student in the fifth grade maintains a science journal that is used to study the aquatic environment, document and update data, and share their observations on blog site. Within the last two years, many students have started using I pads to record video of fish development.

Fawns, Calves and Chicks - Here, There and Everywhere

Last week I was in Boise where I had the opportunity to see my southwestern Idaho IDFG counterpart, Evin Oneale. He told me about a fawn he had come across in town the day prior, and the sad story that precipitated the event.

A whitetail fawn, only a day or two old, was in the middle of a city street in Boise. Its mother was dead on the double yellow line. The doe had been hit and killed by a vehicle only moments before.

Traffic was relatively light, so he turned on his flashers and picked up the fawn. Knowing for certain that the mother was dead, he wanted to get the fawn to a licensed rehabilitation center in the hopes it could be raised and released.

Feeding the fawn every few hours using a formula recommended over the phone by the rehabilitator, he and his family kept the fawn overnight. He safely delivered it to the wildlife rehabilitation facility the following morning where experts could take care of it.

His two daughters cried because they couldn't raise the fawn. What they did not know is that it is very difficult to raise a wild orphan and the time commitment is significant. Not to mention, without special permission or a rehabilitation license it is illegal in Idaho to keep and raise nearly all species of wildlife. And, if a fawn is raised with too much human contact, it will have a poor chance to ever be released and survive in the wild

I had a different and far more pleasant newborn wildlife experience on Memorial Day weekend. I was out to get a load of firewood, when I saw a hen turkey milling around on the side of the road ahead of me. As I was some distance away, I only noticed the hen.

Treasure Valley Ground Squirrel Tests Positive for Plague

Ground squirrel deaths near Gowen Field prompt testing for plague bacteria.

A ground squirrel (whistle pig) found south of Boise has tested positive for plague. Idaho public health officials and Idaho Fish and Game are asking people to take precautions as outdoor summer activities shift into high gear over the long Memorial Day weekend.

Plague is a bacterial disease of rodents that can cause serious illness to people and pets if not treated quickly. Plague is generally transmitted to humans and animals through the bites of infected fleas. It also can be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, rabbits and pets. Common rodents that can become infected include ground squirrels, rats and mice. Tree squirrels in Idaho are not known to carry plague.

"We have investigated reported mortalities of ground squirrels in the area southeast of Boise (see map below) during May," State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Mark Drew said. "Dogs and cats can be infected with plague through hunting rodents, playing with or consuming their carcasses, or by exposure to their fleas."

Plague activity can increase in the spring and summer months when rodents are more active. People can be exposed to plague when pets have contact with rodents or fleas outdoors, or bring infected rodents or fleas back into the home. People also can become infected by caring for a sick pet without proper precautions.

People can greatly reduce their risk of becoming infected with plague by taking simple precautions, including avoiding contact with wild rodents, their fleas and rodent carcasses. They should not feed rodents in picnic or campground areas and never handle sick or dead rodents.

Health officials recommend:

Chinook Salmon Seasons Set on Upper Salmon and South Fork

The Fish and Game Commission has approved fisheries for 2015 on the Upper Salmon River and South Fork Salmon River. Seasons will open on June 13 on the Upper Salmon and June 19 on the South Fork Salmon. Once open, seasons will remain open until further notice.

Limits on both rivers will be four fish per day, only two of which may be adults. The possession limit will be 12 fish, only six of which may adults.

The Upper Salmon River will be open from the Copper Mine boat ramp approximately 2.5 miles upstream from the mouth of the Middle Fork Salmon River to a posted boundary 100 yards downstream from the Fish and Game weir at Sawtooth Hatchery south of Stanley. Fishing hours on the Upper Salmon River will be from 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight time.

The South Fork Salmon River will be open from the bridge on Forest Service Road 48 (Lick Creek Road) upstream approximately 32 river miles to a posted boundary 100 yards downstream from the Fish and Game weir. Fishing hours on the South Fork Salmon River will be 5:30 am to 10:00 pm from June 19 through July 16; and from 5:45 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Mountain Daylight time after July 16.

The season limit for Chinook salmon in Idaho is 20 adult salmon statewide during the 2015 seasons occurring before September 1.

For more on salmon fishing in Idaho, including seasons and rules, in-season fish counts, harvest information, hatchery returns, and interactive season maps, visit Fish and Game's website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=140.

New Rules In Effect

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission recently adopted rules that took effect May 20, clarifying the disabled hunter companion and purchase of leftover youth tags rules, as well as reducing the size of the goose hunting closure in the Hagerman Valley.

Disabled Hunter Companion: This revision adds the nonresident disabled American Veteran hunting license as a qualifying license for a hunter to participate in this program. Any disabled hunter possessing a valid disabled combination license, disabled American Veteran hunting license, disabled archery permit, or a disabled hunt motor vehicle permit and who possesses a valid tag or who is a disabled veteran participating in a hunt, may be accompanied, close enough to be within normal conversation or hearing range without shouting or the aid of electronic devices, by a designated companion who may assist the disabled hunter with taking big game.

Purchase of Leftover Youth Tags: This revision clarifies that hunters with a nonresident disabled American Veteran hunting license are eligible to purchase leftover controlled hunt tags for youth hunts. Only hunters ten to seventeen years of age with a valid license may apply for youth only controlled hunts, except hunters sixty-five years of age or older or hunters with a senior combination hunting license, a disabled combination hunting license, or a nonresident disabled American Veteran hunting license may apply for first-come, first-served leftover youth only controlled hunt tags.