Press Release

May 2016

Try northern pike fishing in northern Idaho’s lakes

By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist

The Panhandle offers a unique fishing opportunity for northern pike not found elsewhere in Idaho, which anglers can enjoy while at the same time keeping the fish’s population in check which is a good thing for other species.

There are about 23 bodies of water in northern Idaho that have pike. The fish are commonly found in Coeur d’Alene Lake and the “chain” lakes along the Coeur d’Alene River.  Coeur d’Alene Lake has opportunities for shore and boat fishing, and the chain lakes range from about 200 to 700 acres, which makes them suitable for smaller motor boats and craft like canoes, kayaks and float tubes. They also offer a variety of game fish and easy access, along with boating, picnicking and campsites.

For other waters that have northern pike, check Idaho Fish and Game’s Fishing Planner at Scroll to the bottom the home page to the Fishing Planner logo.

Northern pike are a large predatory fish (the state record is 40 pounds), that can be taken on a variety of tackle. Many anglers target them, but pike are also taken incidentally when angers are pursuing other types of fish.

Spring is the best time to fish for pike because the fish are often found in shallow water, and weeds have not grown that can make fishing for them more challenging.

Lots of choices for anglers

Pike fishing can be a simple or as complicated as you want to make it. For anglers who prefer the basics, dangling a hook baited with smelt or other bait beneath a bobber will catch these fish. But considering their aggressive nature, many anglers prefer to tempt them out of their lairs to chase and strike a fleeing lure.

Wildlife workshop for educators to focus on elk

Teachers - don’t let your summer pass you by - Get WILD.

Idaho Fish and Game will host a WILD about Elk workshop designed to help 4th-12th grade teachers learn fun and exciting ways to teach wildlife conservation in the classroom.

The workshop will be held June 13 and 14 at Red River Wildlife Management Area near Elk City, Idaho.

Participants will receive an Idaho WILD about elk guide which is full of fun, educational activities.  In the specialized guide, teachers will find fun, hands-on activities, resource lists, home connections and much more.  Workshop participants will also receive the activity-filled Project WILD guide.

Cost is $70, which includes all guides, supplemental materials, lodging and meals.  Transportation can be arranged. College credit is available for an additional $60. 

To register or for more information, contact Lori Adams, Project WILD Coordinator, at (208) 287-2889 or by email,; or contact Jen Bruns, Regional Conservation Educator, at (208) 791-5726 or

Additional information can be found on the education link of Fish and Game’s website at

Application period for big game controlled hunts ends June 5

Hunters have until midnight Sunday, June 5 to apply for this fall's deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear and turkey controlled hunts.

Hunters with a valid 2016 Idaho hunting license may apply for controlled hunts at any hunting and fishing license vendor, Fish and Game office; with a credit card by calling 1-800-55HUNT5; online at, or by mail to Fish and Game's License Section, P.O. Box 25, Boise, ID 83707.  Mailed applications must be postmarked no later than June 5.  An additional fee is charged for telephone and Internet applications.

All Idaho Fish and Game regional offices will be closed on Sunday, June 5.

Hunters can make informed decisions about what controlled hunts to apply for by using a feature on Fish and Game's website that lists the 2015 drawing odds and statistics for all controlled hunts. The search tool is available at

First Super Hunt drawing deadline is May 31

Hunters hoping to enter Idaho’s first Super Hunt drawing have through May 31 to apply.

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.

The first drawing will be for eight elk, eight deer, and eight pronghorn, and one moose hunt. One Super Hunt Combo entry also will be drawn that will entitle the winner to hunt for all four species - elk, deer, pronghorn and moose. Winners will be notified by June 10.

A second drawing will be for two elk, two deer, two pronghorn, and one moose hunt. Another Super Hunt Combo entry will also be drawn. The entry period for the second drawing is June 1 through August 10, with winners notified by August 20.

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

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.

Hunters may enter the drawings at license vendors, Fish and Game offices, online at, or by calling 1-800-554-8685.

For more information, including frequently asked questions and photos of previous winners, visit the Super Hunt page on Fish and Game's website at

Plague Suspected in Treasure Valley Ground Squirrel Deaths

Joint News Release—For Immediate Release Idaho Department of Fish and Game Central District Health Department

Preliminary tests of ground squirrels (whistle pigs) found dead in desert areas of Ada and Elmore counties have come back positive for plague.  Idaho public health and Idaho Fish and Game officials are asking people to take precautions as outdoor summer activities shift into high gear over the long Memorial Day weekend.

Last year, plague was confirmed in ground squirrels in the same general areas of southern Idaho (see map below). Plague can circulate in wild animal populations every year. Confirmatory laboratory tests are being conducted, with results expected next week.

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


“Just like last year, our investigation began in May after hearing reports from people finding dead ground squirrels in the desert southeast of Boise,” State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Mark Drew said. “We hope to have confirmation of these results soon and will keep the public up to date as we learn more.”


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. Health officials recommend:

Chinook salmon seasons to end in lower Clearwater and North Fork Clearwater rivers

The lower Clearwater River from the Cherrylane Bridge upstream to the Orofino Bridge will close to fishing for all Chinook salmon at the end of fishing hours (9 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time) on Friday, May 27.  In addition, the North Fork Clearwater River will close to fishing for all Chinook salmon effective the end of fishing hours (9 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time) on Monday, May 30, 2016. Due to this year’s low jack return, a “Jack Only” harvest season will not be provided.

These closures are being implemented because the harvest quota for adult Chinook salmon are anticipated to be met in these river sections by those dates. Harvest quotas in different reaches within the Clearwater drainage were developed using input from the public to help ensure all communities in the watershed have opportunities to harvest salmon.

Chinook salmon seasons will continue on the Clearwater River upstream of the Orofino Bridge, South Fork Clearwater, Middle Fork Clearwater, Little Salmon, Lochsa, and Snake rivers. The upper Salmon River and the South Fork Salmon River open June 18th.

Anglers are reminded that changes to seasons or limits may be implemented on short notice.  For more on salmon fishing in Idaho, visit Fish and Game's website at, or call the Salmon Hotline at (855) 287-2702 for updates.

Information Sought On Menan Area Bald Eagle Killer

Creative Commons Licence
Dan Kelsey / IDFG


MENAN - The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is investigating the shooting of an adult bald eagle along the Snake River a short distance upstream from the Menan boat ramp. A conservation officer was called to private property along the river in May and found the dead eagle and several empty shotgun shells nearby. The deteriorated condition of the eagle and presence of empty steel shot shotgun shells would suggest that the bird may have been killed sometime during the waterfowl season which ended in January, but was only recently discovered by the landowner.

Millions of hatchery smolts get clipped before leaving for the ocean

By Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game public information specialist

It’s no secret that Idaho steelhead and salmon anglers rely on hatcheries for fish that they can take home and eat, and anglers can identify “keepers” because a small fin on their back is removed when the fish are young. The clipped adipose fin does not grow back – letting anglers identify hatchery fish for harvest. What’s less known is how the fins get clipped.

Idaho hatcheries produce about 20 million young salmon and steelhead annually that are released in the spring to migrate to the ocean. Clipping millions of tiny adipose fins is a huge undertaking that used to take thousands of hours of manual labor.

Now it’s largely automated with specialized trailers traveling to hatcheries throughout the state to safely, effectively and efficiently prepare hatchery smolts for release so they can be identified by anglers, biologists and conservation officers when the salmon and steelhead return from the ocean as adults.

Machinery housed in the trailers clips fins and also implants tiny wire tags into the fish without the need for anesthetic, removal from the water, or handling by a human. The machinery has a system that holds fish immobile so coded wire tags can be inserted. Almost simultaneously, an imaging system determines the location of the adipose fin then sends an electronic message to an automated clipping device that removes the fin.

Idaho’s salmon and steelhead marking program costs about $1 million a year, but anglers do not pay for it through their fishing license dollars or salmon and steelhead permits. The program is funded by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Idaho Power Company, and the Bonneville Power Administration.

Trap education effort partners with Rattlesnake avoidance training for dogs

By Evin Oneale, Conservation Educator, Idaho Fish and Game

Hunters and other dog enthusiasts now have another reason to attend the 21st 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, or contact event organizer Heidi Funke at 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 12th from 10:00am to 2:00pm. 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.

Summer Chinook seasons set on Upper Salmon and South Fork

The Fish and Game Commission has approved fisheries for 2016 on the Upper Salmon River and South Fork Salmon River.  Seasons will open on June 18 in both rivers and 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.  An adult Chinook salmon is 24 inches or more in length.

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 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/ East Fork South Fork Road) where it crosses the mainstem South Fork Salmon River just upstream of the confluence with the East Fork South Fork Salmon River, upstream approximately 32 river miles to a posted boundary approximately 100 yards downstream from the Idaho Fish and Game South Fork Salmon River weir and trap.  Fishing hours will be 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Mountain Daylight time.       

The season limit for Chinook salmon in Idaho is 20 adult salmon statewide during the 2016 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  Anglers can also call Fish and Game hotline at (855) 287-2702 for updates on Chinook fishing seasons.

Time to take the family fishing

Looking for a fun family-friendly activity close to home? Try fishing.

June will be a busy month for Idaho Fish and Game as they will be releasing thousands of catchable-sized rainbow trout at fishing waters throughout the state.  With Free Fishing Day around the corner, local ponds will be great places to take the family fishing. 

“There’s plenty of great fishing action close to home,” says Doug Megargle, fisheries manager with Fish and Game in Jerome. “Several area waters are full of fish, so now’s a perfect time to get out and enjoy it.”       

For specific information about trout stockings near you, visit

Anglers can also use the Fishing Planner on Idaho Fish and Game’s website to find that special fishing water.  Available at, the useful feature provides one-stop shopping for searching places to go fishing, with maps of how to get there and what you’re likely to catch.  You can also search for places to catch a specific species of fish, recent and historic stocking reports, fishing waters within a certain distance of selected cities, and what kind of facilities you’ll find when you get there.  

Before heading out for a day of fishing, be sure to review the seasons and rules brochure for the water you have chosen for the day. Seasons and rules brochures are available free at license vendors, online, and at Fish and Game offices.

Big game controlled hunt deadline approaching

The application period for this fall’s deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, and turkey controlled hunts goes through Sunday, June 5.

Hunters may apply for controlled hunts at any hunting and fishing license vendor, Fish and Game office; with a credit card by calling 1-800-55HUNT5; or online at An additional fee is charged for telephone and Internet applications. Hunters must have a 2016 Idaho hunting license to apply.

Hunters can make informed decisions about what controlled hunts to apply for by using a feature on Fish and Game’s website that lists the 2015 drawing odds and statistics for all controlled hunts.  The search tool is available at

Harvest statistics and drawing odds from the past 10 years are also available on Fish and Game’s Hunt Planner at