Press Release

May 2017

Free Fishing Day events for Southwest Idaho

Saturday, June 10th 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 10, 2017
Note: pay special attention to event times. Check the Fish and Game website ( for schedule additions and or changes.

Council (Ol’ McDonald) Pond – 9:00am – 1:00pm
Hosted by Idaho Fish and Game and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office

Fischer Pond (Cascade) – 10:00am – 2:00pm
Hosted by Lake Cascade State Park and Idaho Fish and Game

Kimberland Meadows Pond (New Meadows) – 9:00am – 2:00pm
Hosted by Idaho Fish and Game and the Adams County Sheriff’s Office

New Management/Camping Fees Coming to Horsethief Reservoir

Camping areas at Horsethief Reservoir will soon be under new management, and one of the biggest changes users will see is a new camping fee.

Idaho Fish and Game approached YMCA leadership in the fall of 2016 regarding the possibility of a temporary partnership between the two organizations. After months of negotiation and planning, the agency will hand off campground management responsibilities to the Y beginning July 1.

Creative Commons Licence
Evin Oneale, IDFG

“Our training is in fish and wildlife management; we possess little expertise with, or statutory authority for, campground management,” Fish and Game fisheries supervisor Joe Kozfkay noted. “It’s exciting to have the YMCA as a partner, as they have that expertise.”

“Wild About Kootenai River Native Fish” Workshop Offered

Have you ever seen a fish with ‘pre-historic’ characteristics right here in modern- day Idaho? The Kootenai River White Sturgeon is one such fish, and it is found only in the Kootenai River. The Burbot, an unusual fish that resembles a ling-cod, is another species found in the Kootenai River system of Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia.

Biologists in the US, Canada, and the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho (KTOI) work cooperatively on understanding these fish, their interesting life cycles, and the habitat requirements for the species’ survival.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has scheduled a new "Project Wild" workshop where teachers and youth leaders can learn about these fascinating fish while also earning one credit hour of continuing education credit. The credit is optional. If you don’t need a credit…you can come and just enjoy learning about these amazing fish.

The workshop is scheduled for June 21-22 and will begin at the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge near Bonners Ferry. Participants in the class will learn about the fish through presentations by IDFG and KTOI Fisheries Biologists who work on the Kootenai River, participating in hands-on activities, fisheries field work on the Kootenai River, and touring the Kootenai Tribal fish hatchery where Sturgeon and Burbot are produced for population supplementation.

Space is limited, and pre-registration is required. To register, go to “Education” tab on the Idaho Fish and Game website.

Project Wild is a wildlife oriented, multi‑disciplinary set of activities for use primarily with students. The activities develop awareness, knowledge and skills concerning the relationships between humans, wildlife and the natural world. Wildlife concepts are related to social studies, mathematics, language arts and other subjects and do not take time away from established curricula.

Rainbow Trout Stocking Schedule

June will be a busy month for personnel from Fish and Game's McCall and Nampa Hatcheries as they will be releasing more than 89,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations. Due to continued high runoff, most regularly-stocked rivers and streams will not be stocked during June. With Free Fishing Day around the corner, local ponds will be a focal point of trout stocking efforts this month.


Unfamiliar with a particular stocking location? Use Idaho’s Fish Planner application on the Fish and Game website ( to find that special fishing water.


Bear Pond (Placerville) June 5 200

Boise River, Middle Fork June 19 2,000

Boise River, North Fork June 19 2,000

Boulder Reservoir, Lower (Donnelly) June 26 1,200

Browns (Airport) Pond (McCall) June 12 1,000

Bull Trout Lake (Grandjean) June 26 900

Bull Trout Lake #1, Little (Grandjean) June 26 750

Bull Trout Lake #2, Little (Grandjean) June 26 200

Caldwell Pond #2 June 5 500

Ol’ McDonald (Council Park) Pond June 5 500

Duff Lane Pond (Middleton) June 5 225

Eagle Island Park Pond June 5 450

Eds Pond (Emmett) June 5 200

Esthers Pond (Boise) June 5 1,300

Fischer Pond (Cascade) June 5 750

Goose Lake (McCall) June 26 4,000

Granite Lake (McCall) June 26 4,000

Grimes Creek (Idaho City) June 12 1,000

Hazard Lake, Middle (McCall) June 26 2,500

Herrick Reservoir (Cascade) June 19 1,500

Heros Pond (Meridian) June 5 150

Horsethief Reservoir (Cascade) June 12 3,500

Indian Creek (Caldwell) June 12 200

Indian Creek (Kuna) June 12 300

Kimberland Meadows Pond (New Meadows) June 5 750

Kleiner Pond (Meridian) June 5 1,800

Legacy Park Pond (Mt. Home) June 5 300

Boise Hunter Recovering from Bear Encounter

A Boise-area hunter will recover from bite wounds he received after being attacked by a wounded black bear near Grimes Creek in Boise County. Marvin Jennings (43) of Boise and his uncle from Lynnwood, WA were hunting over a bear bait site on Clear Creek Sunday evening, May 28 when the incident occurred.

Towards dusk, the two men observed a large black bear approaching their bait site. The uncle shot and wounded the animal which ran some distance away. After a short period of time, Jennings approached. The bear charged, knocking Jennings to the ground and both hunter and bear tumbled down a hill. The bear bit Jennings multiple times on the left arm and leg before Jennings dispatched the animal with a handgun.

Jennings was airlifted to St. Alphonsus Hospital where he remains hospitalized.

Following normal protocol after an animal attack, Fish and Game staff interviewed Jennings and his uncle at the hospital. Other staff conducted interviews near the incident site and examined the bear. Tooth wear revealed that the bear – though otherwise healthy – was very old.

Several local residents, a Boise County Deputy and a Boise National Forest Law Enforcement Officer assisted with this effort.

- IDFG -

Some Horsethief Reservoir campsites remain closed

A popular camping area on the east side of Horsethief Reservoir will remain closed indefinitely, while 85 campsites on the west side of the reservoir opened to camping mid-May.

The 32 campsites located on the east side, known as Horsethief Creek, will be closed due to hazardous tree removal and construction.

“This will mean some folks will need to look for other areas for campsites during the busy Memorial Day weekend,” said Dennis Hardy, Fish and Game recreation site maintenance foreman

Camping on the west side of Horsethief is on a first-come, first-served basis, but campers must register. All camp sites are primitive with no electricity or drinking water.

Fishing opportunities at the popular reservoir remain unaffected by the east side campsite closure. The reservoir is full, been restocked with trout, and ramps and docks are open for anglers.

Located 9 miles east of Cascade, the 270-acre reservoir is situated within a forested area, giving it a high-mountain-lake appearance. Horsethief is managed as a rainbow trout fishery and is a popular summer destination for anglers and other recreationalists.

Visitors are advised that much of the surrounding lands around Horsethief are private, posted, and are closed to the public.

“This area is extremely popular, but we want to encourage everyone to be responsible and respect the private landowner’s wishes, as well as others using the area,” Hardy said.

Chinook run is late, below forecast and fishing could end soon

Anglers should soon know the fate of the 2017 spring Chinook run, and how much longer the spring fishing season will continue. 

Fisheries managers plan to re-evaluate the season after seeing how many chinook cross Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, which is the first dam the fish cross that are bound for Idaho. 

The Chinook run is definitely late and possibly the latest on record, but it’s also now expected to be about half of the original projection of 45,000 spring Chinook at Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River. Through May 18, only 472 Chinook had crossed Lower Granite Dam. The 10-year average is 30,789 for that date. 

“This is uncharted territory; we’ve never seen anything quite like this,” Fish and Game’s fisheries Bureau Chief Jim Fredericks said. “The question has been is it late or is it low? And now it's looking like it's very late and very low.”

Through May 18, 39,133 Chinook had crossed Bonneville Dam. The 10-year average for that date is 131,707. However, rivers have been flowing high and cold, which typically slows migration, so there’s still hope more fish are heading to Idaho. 

But Fredericks pointed out that “late runs usually don’t turn out to be strong runs.” 

Fisheries managers will look at the fish counts over Bonneville Dam and get a better idea whether more fish are heading upstream. There was a glimmer of hope when the count at Bonneville jumped to 4,087 on Saturday, which is the third-largest day of the run so far. 

So far, few fish have been caught in the Snake or Clearwater rivers. Fish and Game counted the first known Chinook caught from the Clearwater on Friday, then 25 more over the weekend. 

Fredericks said there’s concern fishing may have to be closed to ensure enough Chinook are available to replenish hatcheries. 

“That’s our first priority before we try to provide harvest,” he said. 

Trap Education Effort Partners with Rattlesnake Avoidance Training for Dogs

Hunters and other dog enthusiasts now have another reason to attend the 22nd 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 11th 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.

- IDFG -