Press Release

October 2016

Hunters: Call toll-free number for hunter reports, online reporting unavailable

Big game hunters are reminded that the online hunter report form is still unavailable.

Currently, the only way to file a hunter report for deer, elk and pronghorn is to call the toll-free number at 877-268-9365 and speak to a live operator 24-hour a day, 7 days a week.  Please have your hunting license number or tag number available when you call.

Fish and Game's online hunter report system was a casualty of the August data breach of their online vendor's database. The department’s online sales and hunter report system will not resume until a third-party cybersecurity firm completes an investigation and certifies that the system is secure. 

“We want to thank all hunters for their patience, but we still do not have a timetable for when the online reporting will be available,” said Michael Pearson, Fish and Game Administration Chief.

Reporting by phone is quick and easy, and when you’re completed, you give critical hunt and harvest information, which directly affects decisions about next year’s hunting seasons. Every person who purchased big game tag this year is asked to file a report, even if they did not go hunting. 

Youth pheasant hunting opportunity available near Potlatch

Idaho Department of Fish and Game is working with an area landowner and the Game Bird Foundation to provide youth pheasant hunting opportunities on a 975 acre Access Yes! parcel on the Palouse River, north of Potlatch, Idaho. 

Eligible youth must be 17 years or younger, possess a valid hunting license or passport, and be accompanied by a mentor (an adult 18 years or older who possesses a valid hunting license).  The mentor may also hunt. The number of youth hunters is limited to 5 per day. 

The Gamebird Foundation recently released approximately 200 rooster pheasants on the property.

To get there, go 2.75 miles west of Potlatch Idaho on Highway 6 to Wellesley Road. Take a left and go another 1.75 miles to South River Road. Turn left and cross the Railroad tracks and the Palouse River bridge. The parking lot and sign-in kiosk is on your left. Please report your harvest at the end of your hunt on the mandatory report form at the kiosk. 

For more information about this youth pheasant hunting opportunity, contact the Idaho Fish and Game office in Lewiston at 208-799-5010 or the Gamebird Foundation at 208-883-3423. 

Winchester Lake Dam Set for Repairs

Idaho Department of Fish and Game is currently dropping water levels in Winchester Lake in order to make repairs to the dam. The reservoir will be down around 8’ below the high water mark during this project. Work is scheduled to begin on October 31st and will take several weeks to complete. Boaters should be aware that boat ramp access may be affected during this drawdown. Once the work is completed, Winchester Lake will be allowed to refill naturally through the winter and spring. Contact Joe DuPont or Robert Hand at the regional office (208) 799-5010 for more information.



Steelhead catch picks up

Steelhead catch rates are picking up and there is plenty of exciting fishing left.

Catch rates in mid-October were 11 hours per fish on the Snake below the Salmon River, 3 hours per fish on the Clearwater from the mouth upstream to the Orofino Bridge, 3 hours per fish on the North Fork Clearwater, and 20 hours per fish on the Salmon River from North Fork to the Lemhi River. 

Steelhead closeup
Creative Commons Licence

Steelhead fishing is unique, considering it is very good anytime catch rates are lower than 10 hours per fish caught.

The fall limits on the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon is three per day and nine in possession. The fall limit on the Clearwater is two fish per day and six in possession. Anglers may keep 20 steelhead for the fall season which ends December 31.

Cold water dangers to waterfowl hunters, anglers

With the onset of autumn and resulting cold air and water temperatures, waterfowl hunters and anglers are urged to take precautions and wear life jackets while on the water this fall.

Photo of Duck hunter in boat in cold conditions
Creative Commons Licence
Idaho Fish and Game

Overloaded boats and failure to wear life jackets are leading reasons Idaho typically loses a couple of hunters or anglers every year.

In the past ten years nearly 67 percent of the fatal boating accidents in Idaho were the result of victims involuntarily entering the water from small boats. The average water temperature of Idaho’s water is 52 degrees, even during the summer.  Wearing a life jacket can greatly increase your chance of surviving a cold water immersion situation.

Idaho's boating laws and simple safety guidelines include:

Newest Boise Urban Pond Set to Open

Esthers Pond is located just off Whitewater Park Boulevard, west of downtown Boise and immediately north of Quinns Pond.
Creative Commons Licence
Evin Oneale, IDFG

Partnering with the City of Boise, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will regularly stock Esthers Pond with hatchery rainbow trout. The first stocking will occur the week of the grand opening of the park.

Fish and Game staff stocked the pond with bluegill earlier this summer to “jump start” the pond’s fish community. Largemouth bass will be stocked next summer.

General fish rules will apply at Esthers Pond, including six-fish limits on trout. Pond depths appear to be adequate to promote overwinter survival of rainbow trout which should bode well for fishing in the years ahead.

Learn more about the pond and the park on the City of Boise website:

From field to freezer: tips for processing your big game animal

You successfully shot a deer, elk or other big game animal. Now the work begins. You want to properly process the animal so you get many healthy, enjoyable meals from it.

Unit 39 Over the Counter General Mule Deer Hunt
Creative Commons Licence
Austin Legg

Here's the basic cheat sheet: Gut it, skin it, keep it clean and keep it cool.

But you should know more if you want the best quality game meat, and you should. Not only will it be better eating, it will give you the satisfaction knowing you harvested and processed safe, organic and nutritious meat from pulling the trigger to sizzling it in the frying pan.

Here's how to make it happen:

In the field

Pheasant stocking underway at nine Wildlife Management Areas

Pheasant hunting is a popular form of upland game hunting, and hunters can find a place to hunt them at Fish and Game's Wildlife Management Areas. The Department is stocking thousands of rooster pheasants at the following areas during the hunting season:

  • Southwest Region: Fort Boise, Payette, Montour, and C.J. Strike WMAs.
  • Magic Valley: Niagara Springs WMA.
  • Southeast Region: Sterling WMA.
  • Upper Snake: Market Lake, Mud Lake and Cartier Slough WMAs.
Creative Commons Licence
Photo by Glen Oakley