Press Release

July 2017

Fish and Game encourages people visiting for the eclipse to try Idaho's fishing

Many visitors will travel to Idaho to catch the solar eclipse on Aug. 21, but there’s more for them to catch in Idaho. 

Idaho Fish and Game has prepared a special guide for visitors so they can go fishing during their visit. A special webpage shows a map of the path of the eclipse, and nearly 100 fishing opportunities along that same path. 

You can see it here at “Fish the Eclipse.” 

The goal is provide a way for people to find cool places to fish before or after the eclipse. The online map is divided into four regions of the state that will be in its path. 

Each region has different character, from the canyons, plains and peaks in Southwest Idaho to the mountain meadows in Eastern Idaho. 

Within each region, there are four types of fishing waters highlighted: family fishing waters that are easily accessible and have simple fishing rules, destination lakes and reservoirs, backcountry hike-in lakes, and “gateway” waters that are destinations, as well as trailheads to nearby backcountry lakes. 

The interactive maps provide details on each fishing spot, including ease of access, nearby services, and more. Fishing the eclipse is an economical activity for visitors. Daily fishing licenses start at $11.50 for residents and $12.75 for nonresidents. Nonresident youth ages 13 and under can fish for free if accompanied by an adult with a fishing license. 

While the eclipse is the focal point of this special map and webpage, all anglers and travelers can use it to find great fishing destinations in Idaho for day trips, weekends or vacations.

With fire contained, Craig Mountain WMA now open

With the Idaho Department of Lands announcing the Craig Mountain Complex Fire 100 percent contained, Fish and Game's Craig Mountain Wildlife Management area south of Lewiston is now open to the public.  

Almost two weeks ago, an isolated thunderstorm raced across northcentral Idaho, igniting many fires in the area. Two fires where located on the Craig Mountain Wildlife Management Area which included the Corral Creek Fire on Bureau of Land Management lands and Nature Conservancy property and the Powerline Fire on Idaho Department of Fish and Game property.

The two fires converged and impacted approximately 50,400 acres along the most remote parts of the WMA. The area impacted by these fires is critical big game winter range for mule deer, elk and bighorn sheep, all of which are managed as controlled hunts for Big Game Management Unit 11. The affected area is also home to excellent chukar and grouse hunting.

After assessment of the burned area, Fish and Game determined that wildlife habitat for big game and upland game will not be adversely affected. Due to the moist conditions of north facing timber pockets and wet drainages, the burn was not continuous within the fire perimeter and resulted in a patchy burn.

California man wins bighorn sheep tag in lottery

John M. Taylor of Arroyo Grande, California was the lucky winner of a hunting tag from the 25th Annual Bighorn Sheep tag lottery drawing July 26 at Idaho Fish and Game Headquarters. The tag is offered under a partnership between Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF) and Idaho Fish and Game.

The Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation has been hosting the bighorn lottery since 1992 with the proceeds going back to Fish and Game to solve problems between bighorn sheep and domestic sheep, to solve problems between wildlife and domestic animals, or to improve relationships between sportsmen and private landowners.

This year’s lottery raised $83,135. Over the past 25 years, more than $1.6 million dollars has been raised through the lottery.

The winning ticket was drawn from the pool by Nicole Bilodeau. Nicole is a graduate student doing her thesis on bighorn sheep and has been working with Idaho Fish and Game on sheep counts in Idaho.

Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation is a non-profit organization formed to enhance wild sheep populations in Idaho, and with partners in adjacent states, for public enjoyment, education, fair-chase hunting, and to promote professional wildlife management and protect sportsmen's rights.

Idaho Wild Sheep Foundation was founded in 1982 by two dozen concerned sportsmen who wanted to “put more bighorns on Idaho’s mountains.” From that core group, many of which are still very active, the organization has grown to a thriving group with over 300 committed members.

For more information, contact Terri Ottens at the Idaho WSF office, (208) 345-6171 or visit their website at www.idahowildsheep.org.

Last chance for Super Hunt drawing

Thursday, August 10 is the last day to enter this year's Super Hunt drawing and a chance at winning the hunt of a lifetime.

Tags for two elk, two deer, two pronghorn hunts and 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.

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 on the number of times a person can apply. Hunters may enter the drawings at Fish and Game license vendors, website at https://idfg.idaho.gov, or by calling 800-554-8685.

Winners can participate in any open hunt in the state for deer, elk, pronghorn or moose with a tag for that species, including general hunts and controlled hunts. Super Hunt tags are in addition to other tags, meaning if you draw a controlled hunt tag or purchase a general season tag, you can still participate in these hunts as well as the Super Hunt.

Money raised by the Super Hunt drawings supports hunters and anglers access to private lands through the Access Yes! program. This program is designed to improve access to or across private land to public land by compensating willing landowners.

For more information, including frequently asked questions and photos of previous winners, visit the Super Hunt page on Fish and Game's website at https://idfg.idaho.gov/superhunt.

Fall Chinook fishing to open August 18

Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted a fall Chinook salmon fishing season to open August 18 on parts of the Snake, Clearwater and Salmon rivers.

Commissioners approved the 2017 fall Chinook fishing seasons during their meeting in Bonners Ferry on Thursday, July 27.

The 2017 fall Chinook forecast is 27,190 hatchery and naturally-produced fall Chinook returning to the Snake River basin. Last year's actual return was 37,400 fall Chinook.

Areas opening for fall Chinook fishing on August 18, 2017 are as follows;

  • The Snake River from the Washington/Idaho border upstream to Cliff Mountain Rapids (about a mile downstream of Hells Canyon Dam). Scheduled to remain open until notice or October 31, whichever comes first.
  • The Snake River from Hells Canyon Dam downstream to Cliff Mountain Rapids. Scheduled to remain open until notice or November 17, whichever comes first.
  • Clearwater River, from its mouth upstream to Memorial Bridge. Scheduled to remain open until notice or October 31, whichever comes first.
  • Salmon River, from its mouth upstream about three-fourths of a mile to Eye of the Needle Rapids. Scheduled to remain open until notice or October 31, whichever comes first.

A valid fishing license and salmon permit are required to fish for fall Chinook. Adipose-clipped adult salmon (24-inches and longer) may be kept, as well as any jack fall Chinook (those less than 24 inches), adipose-clipped or unclipped.

The daily bag limit is six adult fall Chinook salmon, and the possession limit is 18. There is no season limit on adult fall Chinook. Only adult fall Chinook must be recorded on the angler's salmon permit. There are no daily, possession or season limits on jack fall Chinook salmon. Anglers who harvested 20 chinook during spring and summer seasons are allowed to fish for fall chinook. 

Don’t forget to buy controlled hunt tags by August 1

Big game hunters who were successful in drawing controlled hunt tags for deer, elk, pronghorn, and black bear have until midnight MDT, Tuesday, August 1 to buy their tags.

Applicants can find out if they drew a tag by checking the controlled hunt drawing results on the Idaho Fish and Game web site at http://idfg.idaho.gov/CH.

Postcards will be mailed to successful applicants by July 10. It is the responsibility of hunters to determine whether they were drawn. Unsuccessful applicants will not be notified.

Hunters can buy their controlled hunt tags at any Fish and Game office, license vendor, by telephone at 800-554-8685, or online at https://idfg.idaho.gov.

All hunt tags not purchased by August 1, except unlimited tags, will be forfeited and combined with controlled hunt tags no one applied for and made available in a second drawing. A list of available tags by hunt number will be available before August 5 at Fish and Game offices and website, as well as license vendors.

The application period of the second drawing runs from August 5 to 15, with the drawing to be held around August 23. Any tags not drawn will go on sale first-come, first-served August 25 at 10 a.m. MDT. 

Sandhill crane tags available August 1

Hunters are reminded that Sandhill crane will be available first-come, first-served starting at 10 am MDT, August 1 at Fish and Game license vendors, online at https://idfg.idaho.gov, or by calling 800-554-8685.

Seasons begin September 1-15 or September 16-30, depending on tag type. Tag numbers were increased in all hunt areas to a total of 550 tags. The daily limit is two birds for all hunts, and the season limit is two birds for each hunter.

Hunting occurs in eastern Idaho, with one of the purposes to help reduce crop damage.

Hunters can find Sandhill crane hunting information in the 2017-2018 Migratory Game Bird Seasons and Rules brochure, which includes season information for waterfowl, Sandhill crane, dove and crow. The brochure is available at Fish and Game license vendors and online at https://idfg.idaho.gov/hunt/rules/migratory.

Idaho’s Chinook salmon seasons to end July 30

Chinook salmon seasons on the Snake, Little Salmon and Upper Salmon rivers will close at the end of fishing hours on Sunday, July 30. The closures to these fisheries are occurring because harvest objectives are being met and/or because the Chinook run has ended.

Although the spring/summer Chinook season will close, the Fish and Game Commission will consider a fall Chinook season at their July 27 meeting in Bonners Ferry. More information will be available on Fish and Game’s website at https://idfg.idaho.gov/fish/chinook.

Wolf trapper certification courses offered

Trappers are reminded that Idaho rules require trappers to successfully complete a Wolf Trapper Certification course before they can purchase wolf trapping tags.

Courses are offered periodically throughout the year, but few are taught during trapping seasons as the instructors are trappers who are out in the field running their own trap lines.

The course includes 6.5 hours of instruction including both classroom and field experience followed by a written exam.

Upcoming courses include:

  • Salmon - Aug. 12, IDFG Office, 99 Highway 93 North
  • Lewiston - Sept. 8 & Sept. 9 (two courses), IDFG Office, 3316 16th St.
  • Nampa - Sept. 9, IDFG Fisheries Research Building, 1414 East Locust Lane
  • Coeur d’ Alene - Sept. 22 & Sept. 23 (two courses), IDFG Office, 2885 W. Kathleen Avenue

The course costs $8 per student, and advanced registration is required. Individuals interested in completing the class can register online. Online registration by credit card requires an added convenience fee of $1.75. The fee is due at the time of registration. Registrants must be at least 9 years of age to take the course.

The Wolf Trapper Certification course is instructor-led. Instructors are experienced trappers who are trained and certified to provide students with both classroom study and interactive, hands-on training. Course content covers a wide variety of topics related to wolf biology, wolf behavior and management. There are specific rules regarding wolf trapping that are covered in the class.

Instructors and Fish and Game staff leading the class have expertise in furbearer management, trapping laws and ethics, responsible trapping, proper equipment and trapping techniques. Proper care of a hide for maximum value, and harvest reporting requirements are covered as well.

Rainbow Trout Stocking Schedule

Personnel from Fish and Game's McCall and Nampa Hatcheries will be releasing more than 33,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations during August.

 

Location     Week Stocked      Number of Trout

Boise River - above Glenwood Bridge August 7, 21 1,440/1,440

Boise River - below Glenwood Bridge August 7, 21 1,080/1,080

Boise River, Middle Fork August 14 2,000

Boise River, North Fork August 14, 28 2,000/2,000

 

Browns (Airport) Pond (McCall) July 31, Aug 28 750/750

Bull Trout Lake August 7 900

Bull Trout Lake, Little #1 (Grandjean) August 7 750

Bull Trout Lake, Little #2 (Grandjean) August 7 200

 

Council (Ol’ McDonald) Pond August 28 500

Fischer Pond (Cascade) July 31, Aug. 28 750/750

Gold Fork River (Donnelly) August 7, 21 250/250

Lake Fork Creek (Lake Fork) August 7 300

 

Lake Fork Creek, North Fork (Lake Fork) August 7 200

Lowman (10-mile) Ponds August 7 600

Marsing Pond July 31 450

Martin Lake (Grandjean) August 7 1,000

 

Northwest Passage Pond (McCall) August 7, 28 375/375

Payette River, Middle Fork July 31, August 14 750/750

Payette River, North Fork July 31, August 7, 28 2,250/250/250

Payette River, South Fork July 31, August 21 1,500/1,500

 

Rowlands (Scout) Pond (McCall) July 31, August 14, 28 750/750/750

Silver Creek (Crouch) July 31 750

Tripod Reservoir (Smiths Ferry) July 31 1,000

Weiser River, Middle Fork August 14 500

 

Wilson Springs (Nampa) July 31, August 14 250/250

Wilson Springs Ponds (Nampa) July 31, August 14 400/400

 

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.