Press Release

July 2015

Fish and Game Seeks Comments on Waterfowl Seasons

Idaho Department of Fish and Game is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the 2015-2016 waterfowl seasons.

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 2014-2015 season. Using that authorization as a framework, Idaho Fish and Game has proposed a 105-day season and a 2-day youth hunt, identical in length to last year's season.

For ducks and Canada geese, the 107 days can only occur between September 26, 2015 and January 31, 2016. For white-fronted geese and light geese (Snow and Ross's), the 107 days can only occur between September 26, 2015 and March 10, 2016.

To view and comment on the season proposals, visit Fish and Game's public involvement page at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/public-involvement.

Waterfowl hunters may also provide their comments by attending one of several open house meetings throughout the state where they can speak directly with local biologists.

Open house meetings currently scheduled include:

- Lewiston - Tuesday, August 4 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Clearwater Region Fish and Game Office, 3316 16th Street.

- Jerome - Tuesday, August 4 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Magic Valley Region Fish and Game Office, 324 S 417 E, Suite 1.

- Pocatello - Monday, August 3 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Southeast Region Fish and Game Office, 1345 Barton Road.

If a meeting is not listed in your area, visit your nearest Fish and Game office where copies of the proposed seasons and comment forms are available. Written comments may be mailed to: 2015-16 Waterfowl Seasons, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707. Comments will be collected through August 7.

Commission Releases Bighorn Tags for Auction and Lottery

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission released two 2016 bighorn sheep tags, one for lottery and one for auction, at its regular meeting in Pocatello Thursday, July 30.

The lottery tag was awarded to the Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation and the auction tag was awarded to the Wild Sheep Foundation. Both organizations have a long track record of conservation projects and contributions to benefit bighorn sheep in Idaho. The two groups will market the 2016 tags as fund raisers with proceeds going to benefit Idaho Department of Fish and Game's bighorn sheep research and management.

Information on ticket sales for the 2016 bighorn lottery tag will be available at idahowildsheep.org.

This year, a hunter paid $100,000 in January for the Idaho 2015 auction tag at the national Wild Sheep show in Reno. The 2015 lottery tag was also drawn on Wednesday, and it raised $62,000 for sheep research and management.

Idaho's bighorn auction tag has sold for $100,000 or more five times since 1988, including a record $180,000 in 2005.

Since releasing the first auction tag in 1988, Fish and Game has received $1.8 million for bighorn research, a field of research in which Idaho has been a leader. The lottery tag, first released in 1992, has raised over $1.1 million to support solving problems between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep, and funding research to speed recovery of bighorn sheep populations limited by pneumonia. The groups auction the tag and selling lottery tickets keep only enough of the proceeds to cover their expenses - or no more than 5 percent of the money raised by the auction and no more than 25 percent raised by the lottery.

Commission Sets Bird Seasons, Adjusts Mountain Lion Season

Idaho bird hunters will get a liberal mourning dove season, more sandhill crane tags, and an early Canada goose season in southeastern Idaho this year. Hound hunters will also be allowed to use dogs to pursue mountain lions and black bears during November in some northern Idaho units.

On Thursday July 30, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved the earliest and most liberal Mourning dove season allowed. The dove season will last 60 days, from September 1 through October 30. The daily bag limit will be 15 birds and the possession limit will be 45.

To stay at or below the Pacific Flyway harvest allocation of 166 Sandhill cranes, the commission approved increasing tags numbers to 290. Since 2009, when tags were made available on a first-come first-served basis, the harvest per tag purchased has averaged 48 percent.

The sandhill crane season will run September 1-15, with a daily and season limit of two birds. Tags go on sale August 1 at 10 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time and cost $15. Season information is available at Fish and Game offices and website at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/hunt/rules/?getPage=67, and will be available at license vendors in the Southeast and Upper Snake regions by early to mid-August.

An early Canada goose hunting season was also approved to address goose depredation issues in agricultural areas in Bear Lake, Caribou, and a portion of Bingham counties. The season will run September 1-15, with a daily bag limit of 5 and a possession limit of 15. Season information will be available at Fish and Game offices, website, and license vendors in the Southeast and Upper Snake regions by mid-August.

Discounted Second Tags Go On Sale Aug. 1

Idaho Fish and Game is offering a discount for big game hunters who want more hunting opportunity. Through August only, resident and nonresident hunters can buy remaining nonresident tags as second tags for discounted prices of $199 for deer and $350 for elk. The price does not include the $1.75 vendor fees.

After August, sale of nonresident tags used as second tags will increase to $300 and $415, excluding vendor fees.

Any hunter who has purchased a hunting license and a 2015 deer or elk tag at the regular resident or nonresident prices can buy a discounted second tag for the same species. Tags are sold on a first come, first served basis and supplies are limited to the available nonresident tag quota.

Tags are available at Fish and Game offices and license and tag vendors, online at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov, or by calling 1-800-554-8685.

Fish and Game sold discounted deer and elk tags last year as an incentive for hunters to buy the remaining quota of nonresident tags, but commissioners decided this year to limit the discount sale to August. The nonresident quota is 12,815 elk tags and 15,500 deer tags, and since 2008, a portion of the nonresident quota has gone unsold.

But Fish and Game has seen increased tag sales due in part to improved deer and elk hunting in Idaho and a better economy. Through July, sale of nonresident elk tags is up 25 percent over the same period last year, and up 14 percent for deer tags.

Fish and Game is forecasting better deer and elk hunting this year because of mild winters and excellent survival of deer and elk.

For the first time last year, Fish and Game commissioners allowed residents and nonresidents to buy at a discount the remaining nonresident tags as second tags, and it was popular.

Hagerman WMA Ponds Placed on Fish Salvage

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game Commission has issued a salvage order on Hagerman Wildlife Management Area's, Anderson Pond #3, Anderson Pond #4, and Riley Pond.

Anglers can keep all the fish they wish in these three ponds, with the exception of White Sturgeon. Fish may be taken by any method except firearms, explosives, chemicals, or electric current effective July 31 through September 30, 2015. A valid fishing license is required to salvage fish.

White Sturgeon may not be harvested during the salvage effort. There is no legal way to be in possession of a White Sturgeon in Idaho unless legally purchased from a commercial fish production facility. The IDFG will make every effort to capture and transplant sturgeon prior to the treatment.

These ponds are scheduled for chemical treatment to remove common carp from the ponds to eliminate competition with largemouth bass, bluegill, and hatchery stocked rainbow trout.

The Ponds area being drawn down now to minimize the amount of water that needs to be chemically treated, and to assure a complete treatment.

The treatment, scheduled for early September, is part of a 5-year effort to restore the fisheries to what they were before being overrun by common carp. Idaho Fish and Game will restock the ponds with Largemouth Bass and Bluegill in late 2015 or early 2016.

For more information, call 324-4359.

Fish and Game to Host Angler Meeting to Discuss Management of Henrys Fork

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game will host an informal open meeting to discuss how they manage the Henrys Fork.

The meeting will be held at Harriman State Park on August 13 at 6:30 p.m.

This is the final meeting of the summer dedicated to providing information on the management direction, the current status of fish populations and challenges Fish and Game faces in managing the exceptional fishery resources found in the Henrys Fork.

Fish and Game has held three other meetings over the summer, focusing on other popular fisheries such as Salmon fishing on the Salmon River, Henrys Lake and the South Fork Snake River.

The intent of these meetings is to share information and to answer questions from the public. The department believes that a well-informed and engaged public is critical to ensure management direction aligns with public expectation, and these meetings have proven to be a good avenue to meet this intent.

Please join Fish and Game at Harriman on August 13 at 6:30 p.m. for an enjoyable and educational evening.

If you have questions about this event or require assistance to attend, contact Dan Garren, Regional Fisheries Manager at 208-525-7290, dan.garren@idfg.idaho.gov, or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-3529 (TDD)

Please consider purchasing a State Park pass before entering the park.

Sockeye arrives at Stanley, IDFG has safeguards to ensure survival

By Roger Phillips, Idaho Department of Fish and Game

The first sockeye salmon reached the Sawtooth Basin near Stanley on Monday, July 27 despite hot weather and warm water that prompted Idaho Fish and Game biologists to capture fish downstream to ensure survival of one of Idaho's most endangered species.

Tens of thousands of sockeye have died in the Columbia River. Most were likely headed to Central Washington, but during July, Fish and Game personnel trapped and trucked 37 sockeye from the Snake River at Lower Granite Dam to the Eagle Hatchery near Boise. High river temperatures were dangerous to the migrating fish, and the captured sockeye will be held in Eagle until they are ready to spawn in the fall. Many other sockeye remaining in the rivers face an uncertain future.

"It's a tough year for all anadromous fish, including sockeye," Fish and Game's Senior Sockeye Research Biologist Mike Peterson said.

Biologists are concerned high water temperatures in rivers will stall, and kill, some sockeye before they arrive to their spawning grounds in the Sawtooth Basin.

Through July 27, 368 sockeye were counted at Lower Granite Dam about 30 miles from Lewiston. Biologists fear only a fraction of those will make it to the Sawtooth Basin, where some are trapped and taken to hatcheries while others are allowed to spawn in their namesake - Redfish Lake.

Trapping and transporting sockeye is one of many safeguards Fish and Game implemented to restore the most southern sockeye population in the world and a unique fish that swims 900 miles from the Pacific Ocean and 6,500-feet elevation to Central Idaho's mountains.

Summer Chinook fishing to close on most rivers

Most of Idaho's summer Chinook salmon fishing seasons are coming to a close Sunday, August 2.

Idaho Fish and Game will close fishing for spring/summer Chinook salmon on the mainstem Clearwater, Middle Fork Clearwater, South Fork Clearwater, Lochsa, Snake, and a section of the upper Salmon River from the Copper Mine to a posted boundary upstream of the mouth of Valley Creek near Stanley at the end of fishing hours on August 2 (9 p.m. Pacific Time and 10 p.m. Mountain Time).

Harvest of jack Chinook salmon (those under 24 inches) will continue on the upper Salmon River from the posted boundary upstream of Valley Creek upstream to the posted boundary about 100 yards downstream of the weir at Sawtooth Hatchery. This section will close to salmon fishing at 10 p.m. Mountain Time on Sunday, August 9.

The Chinook salmon fishing season continues on the Boise River through September 30. The daily limit is two salmon, regardless of size. Fishing is permitted 24 hours a day and barbless hooks are not required.

Second Super Hunt Drawing Approaching

There's still time to enter the drawing for the hunt of a lifetime.

The deadline to enter the second Super Hunt drawing is August 10.

Entries for two elk, two deer, and two pronghorn hunts along with one moose hunt will be drawn, as well as a "Super Hunt Combo" that will entitle the winner to hunt for all four species - elk, deer, pronghorn and moose.

With every entry in Fish and Game's Super Hunt drawings, hunters get a chance at winning the hunt of a lifetime, and their entry fee helps support hunter and angler access to and across private lands.

Winners can participate in any open hunt in the state for deer, elk, pronghorn or moose, including general hunts and controlled hunts, in addition to any general season or controlled hunt tags they also hold. All other rules of individual hunts apply.

Super Hunt entries are $6 each and Super Hunt Combo entries are $20 each. No license is needed to enter either drawing and there is no limit to the number of entries.

Hunters may enter the drawings at license vendors, Fish and Game offices and website, or by calling 800-554-8685. Entries can also be mailed to Fish and Game License Section, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707. Orders must be received at Fish and Game no later than August 10, with the drawing set for mid-August.

For more information on Idaho's Super Hunts, go to http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/superhunt or go to the Idaho Super Hunt Facebook page.

Ask Fish and Game: Three-year licenses for 17 year olds

Q: My daughter is 17 years old. I heard that if she purchases a three year hunting license, she will continue to pay the youth price on tags when she will be 18 and 19. Sounds like a great deal, but is it true?

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 on tags for two years when they would otherwise have to pay the higher adult price.

Final Reminder: Purchase Controlled Hunt Tags by Saturday August 1

Big game hunters who were successful in drawing controlled hunt tags for deer, elk, pronghorn, and black bear have until 11:00 pm Pacific Daylight Time, Saturday, August 1 to buy their tags.

Hunters were once able to wait to purchase their Idaho controlled hunt tag on the day they planned to hunt. Do not try that this year. If you do, the tag won't be there.

Several years ago, a hunter who did not draw a tag in the annual drawing noticed in a harvest summary report that some tags for great hunts were drawn but never purchased. A few of the lucky individuals whose names had been drawn must have changed their plans, so they never purchased the tag. Others may not have noticed the post card they received in the mail notifying them that they had successfully drawn a tag. Popular tags went unsold even though people had applied for and drawn them.

The hunter suggested that the Idaho Fish and Game Commission set a deadline date for the purchase of controlled hunt tags. He suggested there be a second drawing for tags not purchased by the deadline.

The Commission responded. The date of August 1 was established as a deadline for successful applicants to purchase tags.

Post cards are mailed to the address provided by successful applicants. News release reminders tell people to purchase their tags by August 1. The IDFG website posts articles about the deadline. However, it is the individual applicant's responsibility to check online or watch for a post card to see if they were drawn for a tag.

ParentsÉif your youngster drew a tag, remember to buy it now! Your kids probably didn't check online to see if they drew.

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

Southwest Idaho Rainbow Trout Stocking Schedule

Personnel from Fish and Game's McCall and Nampa Hatcheries will be releasing more than 29,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations during August.

Location - Week Stocked - Number of Trout

Boise River, above Glenwood Bridge - August 3, 17 - 1,440/1,440

Boise River, below Glenwood Bridge - August 3, 17 - 720/720

Boise River, Middle Fork - August 17 - 2,000

Boise River, North Fork - August 10, 24 - 2,000/2,000

Browns (Airport) Pond (McCall) - August 10, 24 - 700/900

Bull Trout Lake (Grandjean) - August 17 - 900

Bull Trout Lake, Little #1 (Grandjean) - August 3 - 750

Bull Trout Lake, Little #2 (Grandjean) - August 3 - 200

Council (Ol' McDonald) Pond - August 24 - 500

Crooked River (Idaho City) - August 17 - 500

Fischer Pond (Cascade) - August 10, 24 - 750/750

Fish Lake (McCall) - August 31 - 1,500

Kimberland Meadows Pond (New Meadows) - August 3/31 - 500/500

Lowman (10-mile) Ponds - August 3 - 600

Marsing Pond - August 3 - 450

Martin Lake (Grandjean) - August 3 - 1,000

Northwest Passage Pond (McCall) - August 10, 24 - 375/375

Payette River, Middle Fork - August 17, 24 - 750/750

Rowlands (Scout) Pond (McCall) - August 3, 17, 31 - 750/750/750

Silver Creek (Crouch) - August 10, 24 - 750/750

Tripod Reservoir (Smiths Ferry) - August 10 - 1,000

Wilson Springs (Nampa) - August 3/10 - 250/250

Wilson Springs Ponds (Nampa) - August 3/10 - 400/400

The number of trout actually released may be altered by weather, water conditions, equipment problems or schedule changes. If delays occur, trout will be stocked when conditions become favorable.