Press Release

September 2017

Fish & Game Commission to meet via conference call October 2

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission will meet by conference call Monday, October 2 to discuss a proposal to re-open steelhead fishing to harvest with a length limit in place to protect steelhead stocks returning to Clearwater Hatchery facilities.

Steelhead returns were late this year prompting Fish and Game managers to close the steelhead fishery to harvest. Steelhead returns to the Columbia River have improved and are now tracking the preseason forecast with over 113,000 expected to cross Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.

In addition, Coho salmon returns to the Clearwater River are low but sufficient to allow a limited harvest opportunity. A proposal to open a Coho salmon harvest fishery in the Clearwater River will also be discussed, as well as a tag raincheck request.

The call will begin at 8:30 a.m. (MST) at Fish and Game Headquarters, 600 S. Walnut in Boise.  A complete agenda is available on Fish and Game's website at https://idfg.idaho.gov/agenda-oct-2.

There will be no public testimony taken during the call, but the public is welcome to attend. Those living outside of Boise can listen to the call by traveling to their nearest Fish and Game regional office.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting the Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s Director’s office directly at 208-334-5159 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-377-2529 (TDD).

Lost Valley Reservoir Trout Improvement Project Planned

Lost Valley Reservoir, located 16 miles north of Council Idaho, is nearly dry and Fish and Game plans to take advantage of that condition to improve trout populations at the popular fishing hole.

The Lost Valley Reservoir Company has lowered the reservoir to the lowest pool possible for outlet valve repairs and is cooperating to keep the pool down until later in October.

A large population of yellow perch now occupies the reservoir, effectively limiting the growth of rainbow trout stocked by Fish and Game. “Lost Valley is simply too small to support a quality yellow perch population,” Fish and Game fisheries biologist Paul Janssen noted. “The perch can never grow to acceptable size for anglers and by consuming nearly all of the available food supply in the reservoir, perch also limit trout growth.” Trout fishing is also made more difficult by perch that quickly consume baits intended for trout.

The reservoir drawdown is the first part of the remedy for this situation. “Most of the perch left the reservoir as it was drained,” Janssen said. “However, a significant number remain in the small storage pool above the dam and in Lost Creek and its tributaries.”

A fish salvage operation will be a second part of the remedy. Lost Valley Reservoir will open to salvage fishing on September 30, a declaration that allows fish to be harvested by anglers using any method except firearms, explosives, chemicals or electric current. All size and limit restrictions are suspended during the salvage, but no live fish may be transported from the reservoir. The salvage order closes on October 22.

First Convictions Generated in Conspiracy Wildlife Poaching Case

The first four of eleven defendants named in an Adams County wildlife poaching conspiracy case have recently been found guilty or pleaded guilty to charges against them.

Tyler Dutton (23) of Caldwell was convicted by a jury of his peers in July and sentenced in August. Misdemeanor charges against Dutton included hunting while revoked, closed season take of a big game animal, illegal possession of a big game animal, wasteful destruction of a big game animal, and using another person’s big game tag.

On August 17, Dutton stood before Magistrate Judge John Meienhofer to receive his sentence. In addition to more than $3,300 in fines and court costs, Dutton lost his hunting and fishing privileges for ten years, and may not accompany others engaged in hunting and fishing activities for the same ten-year period. A probationary period of ten years and 30 days in jail were additional punishments imposed by the Judge. Immediately following sentencing, Dutton was removed from the courtroom to serve four days in the Adams County jail. The remaining 26 days of jail time will be served beginning October 1.

Chukar hunters get off to good start in the Clearwater and Southwest regions

Upland bird hunting has started in many areas of the state and reports are trickling in about fair to good hunting for chukars in a couple of popular areas: Lower Hells Canyon and the Owyhee Desert. 

Chukar season opened Sept. 16, and upland game currently available for hunters include forest grouse, California and bobwhite quail, chukar and gray partridge.

Sharptail grouse opens in Oct. 1, and youth pheasant hunting opens Oct. 7. 

For open areas and full upland bird hunting regulations, see the upland bird hunting rules.

From the Clearwater Region

Two conservation officers working the Snake River on the opening weekend reported seeing, and hunters finding, good numbers of chukar and good production. Their impressions were they saw more birds this year than last.  

Hunters on Craig Mountain also found good numbers of chukar and gray partridge. Chukar were well distributed and  found from the Snake River to the ridgetops.

With the recent rain and cool temperatures, birds will likely stay well scattered for the foreseeable future. Good numbers of gray partridge were found at lower elevations as usual.  

From the Southwest Region

Although some areas had lower than normal over-winter survival - it seems to be offset by better than average chick production due to favorable spring weather. Chukars appeared to have survived the winter better in lower elevation sites with exposed south facing slopes.

Also, decent groups of huns have been observed in the Owyhees, mainly along the front and within the area burned in the Soda fire.

Here's the statewide upland bird outlook. 

Sharp-tailed grouse season opens October 1

The sharp-tailed grouse season opens October 1 and runs through October 31, with a daily bag limit of two birds and a possession limit of six.

The season is open only in eastern Idaho in these areas: Bingham and Clark counties east of Interstate 15, Franklin, Fremont, Jefferson County east of Interstate 15, Madison, and Teton counties, Bonneville County east of Interstate 15, Bannock County east of Interstate 15 and south of Interstate 86, Bear Lake, Caribou, Cassia County east of Interstate 84 and that portion west of Interstate 84 south of the Malta-Sublette Road and east of the Malta-Strevell Road, Franklin, Oneida, and Power County south of Interstate 86.

Sharp-tailed grouse have been introduced into historical range in southern Twin Falls county and southeastern Owyhee County. Twin Falls, Owyhee, and most of Cassia counties are closed to the hunting of sharp-tailed grouse. Sharp-tailed grouse also occur around Split Butte area in Minidoka County. Hunting of sharp-tailed grouse is closed in Minidoka County.

Any person hunting sharp-tailed grouse must have in their possession a valid Idaho hunting license with a $4.74 sage/sharp-tailed grouse permit validation. The permit allows better monitoring of the harvest of these game birds. It is available at Fish and Game license vendors.

Because wings collected from harvested birds provide important biological information, hunters who see a wing barrel are asked to deposit one wing from each bird they harvest. Fish and Game also collects wings at check stations and through a mail-in wing survey.

Decoys to be used to nab poachers

Hunters have long used wildlife decoys in pursuit of game. Wildlife officers also use decoys to detect wildlife violations.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game reminds hunters that in areas where the department receives complaints or reports of suspicious activity, officers may use ‘artificial simulated animals’ during hunting season to detect wildlife law-breakers.

Commonly called ASAs, they are life-like taxidermy replicas of deer, elk and other game species that look like the real thing.

“Officers watch the animal and respond if someone violates the law,” said Fish and Game Chief of Enforcement Greg Wooten. “This tool is extremely important in our effort to curtail illegal activity that is otherwise undetectable.”

The simulated animals are typically used alongside roads in areas where there’s a history of spotlighting, trespassing and road hunting.

“This is similar to other law enforcement agencies watching an intersection based on reports of frequent instances of failing to stop at a stop sign, or monitoring speed compliance using radar,” Wooten said.

The penalties for shooting an artificial animal can include a mandatory hunting and fishing license revocation, fines of up to $1,000 and a possible jail sentence of up to six months. There is also a $50 minimum restitution penalty for shooting an ASA to help maintain the decoys.

Aside from the inherent danger of shooting from a vehicle or road, road hunting can be a very tempting activity for some. Deer become accustomed to protected areas such as private lands and residential areas where habitat is good and disturbance is low. In these areas, deer are visible and vulnerable. But hunters need to remember that it’s illegal to shoot deer on private land without permission, as is shooting from the road and from a motorized vehicle.

Rainbow Trout Stocking Schedule

Personnel from Fish and Game's Nampa Hatchery will be releasing more than 28,500 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations during October. Local ponds are the primary focus of this stocking effort due to milder weather and correspondingly cooler water temperatures.

LOCATION     WEEK STOCKED      NUMBER OF TROUT

Arrowrock Reservoir October 2     8,550

Boise River - above Glenwood Bridge    October 2, 23      1,080/1,080

Boise River - below Glenwood Bridge    October 2, 23      1,080/1,080

Caldwell Pond #2      October 9      500

Duff Lane Pond (Middleton)      October 9      225

Eagle Island Park Pond      October 9      450

Eds Pond (Emmett)      October 16      200

Esthers Pond (Boise)      October 16      1,300

Heroes Park Pond (Meridian)      October 16      150

Kleiner Pond (Meridian)      October 16      900

Lowman (10-mile) Ponds      October 16      600

Mann Creek Reservoir (Midvail)      October 2      1,400

Marsing Pond      October 2      450

McDevitt Pond (Boise)      October 9, 23      450/450

Merrill Pond (Eagle)      October 23      250

Mill Pond (Horseshoe Bend)      October 16      900

Parkcenter Pond (Boise)      October 16      750

Payette Greenbelt Pond      October 16      450

Riverside Pond (Boise)      October 9, 23      360/360

Rotary Pond (Caldwell)      October 9      1,100

Sawyers Pond (Emmett)      October 16      900

Sego Prairie Pond (Kuna)      October 16      225

Settlers Park Pond (Meridian)      October 9, 23      125/125

Weiser Community Pond      October 16      500

Williams Pond (Boise)      October 16      450

Wilson Springs (Nampa)      October 2, 16      250/250

Wilson Springs Ponds (Nampa)      October 2, 9, 16, 23      400/400/400/400