Press Release

April 2018

Fish and Game Commission to meet May 9-10 in McCall

Idaho Fish and Game Commission will hold its quarterly meeting May 9-10 with the public hearing starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, May 9 at the Northfork Lodge, 200 Scott St. in McCall. During the public hearing, people can address the commission on any matters pertaining to Fish and Game. 

The meeting will continue at 8 a.m. Thursday, May 10 at the Super 8 Motel at 303 S. 3rd St. in McCall. 

Agenda items include commission direction for expending wolf depredation funds, summer chinook season setting, land easement donation, proposed grizzly bear hunt, and more. Here is the full agenda. The commission will not take public comments during the Thursday meeting. 

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting the Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director's Office at 208-334-5159 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-368-6185 (TDD).

Spring bear hunters reminded of baiting rules

With Idaho’s spring black bear hunting season underway, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game reminds hunters that there are specialized regulations that they have the responsibility to follow.

Hunters are encouraged to carefully review a copy of the 2017-2018 Big Game Seasons and Rules brochure. Black bear information can be found on pages 67-72. Rule brochures are available at license vendors, online, as well as your local Fish and Game office. Don’t hesitate to contact your local Fish and Game office if you have any questions.

Hunters are reminded that certain units are open to use of bait and dogs, while others are not. In fact, Idaho is one of only 12 states that allow hunters to bait for black bear, resulting in high interest from resident and non-resident hunters alike.

Ethical behavior is especially important when placing bear baits. Anyone placing bait for the purpose of hunting is required to obtain a baiting permit.  Placing baiting at least one-half mile away from any campground, picnic area or dwelling is required to reduce conflict with the general public.  In addition, Idaho has many rules governing what kind of bait can be used, what it’s contained in and where it may be placed.

For example, no parts of animals or fish that are classified as game animals can be used as bait. The skin must be removed from any mammal parts or carcasses. Salt in any form cannot be used. Hunters also need to remember that all bait containers, materials and any structure constructed at bait sites must be removed within seven days after the close of the season.

Blue Mountain and Kids Creek ponds stocked with steelhead

Personnel from Fish and Game's Pahsimeroi Hatchery released 100 steelhead each in Blue Mountain Pond and Kids Creek Pond Monday, April 23.

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Creative Commons Licence
Mike Demick, IDFG

Blue Mountain Pond is adjacent to the golf course in Challis. Kids will enjoy fishing from the banks and having a family picnic in the pond's two gazebos. Kids Creek Pond is a small fishing pond in downtown Salmon, also with good trout fishing.

The trout limit is 6, all species combined. Steelhead stocked in ponds are considered in the trout bag limit.

Hayden Creek Pond will receive 600 catchable rainbow trout before April 28.

For more information on fishing spots close to home that are geared toward families and the likelihood of catching fish, visit https://idfg.idaho.gov/fish/family-fishing-waters.

Elk poaching spree ends with jail, fines and penalties

Multiple seasons of elk poaching have ended poorly for two men who now face jail time, hunting license revocations and thousands of dollars in fines and restitution to the citizens of Idaho for their crimes.

An anonymous call to the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline started it all.

In September 2016, Jonathan Blaschka (36) of Mountain Home and his companion, Charles McCall (41) also of Mountain Home, gunned down two bull elk during an archery only season near Yellow Pine, Idaho. This, despite the fact that both men held valid archery elk tags for the area. Blaschka returned to the Yellow Pine area in September of 2017 and used a rifle to poach a large bull elk and a cow elk, again during the archery only season.

Using information obtained via the CAP hotline, Fish and Game conservation officer Jon Hunter and a team of other officers launched an investigation that involved multiple interviews with several individuals. The investigation led to the seizure of a firearm, cell phone, elk antlers and elk meat stored at Blaschka’s Mountain Home residence. In one text message found on Blaschka’s cell phone, he bragged about shooting multiple elk, wounding another and shooting until he ran out of bullets. This and other similar evidence contributed to the formidable sentencing he experienced this spring.

Spring Chinook season opens April 28

Chinook fishing on the Clearwater, Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers opens April 28 and will run until closed by the Fish and Game director. 

Fisheries managers are forecasting a run of 66,000 spring Chinook, roughly double last year’s return and slightly above the 10-year average of 62,000, but so far, few fish have started crossing the dams and only six had crossed Lower Granite Dam near Lewiston as of April 21. 

Fisheries managers are watching the timing of the run and numbers of fish crossing the dams. With so few in Idaho, there's no reason to postpone the opener, and "if the fish don't materialize, we have options," F&G Anadromous Fish Manager Lance Hebdon said. 

Included in the forecast are 53,000 hatchery Chinook and 13,000 wild Chinook. The 2017 return was 30,000 and 4,000. 

Rules will include open fishing four days per week, Thursdays through Sundays, in the Clearwater drainage and seven days per week in the Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake rivers. 

Daily bag limits will be four per day with no more than one being an adult (24-inches or longer) in the Clearwater River system and four per day with no more than two being adults in the Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake rivers. 

Sections of the Clearwater River open for fishing will include: 

F&G commission sets 2018-19 seasons and rules for migratory birds

Idaho Fish and Game Commission recently set rules for the 2018 migratory bird season, which includes ducks, geese, mourning doves, American crow, snipe and coots, and sandhill cranes. 

Most seasons will be very similar to last year with adjustments of opening dates so they remain on Saturdays. 

Duck and Canada goose seasons will run Oct. 13 through Jan. 25 in Area 1 and Oct. 6 through Jan. 18 in Area 2. Duck hunters will also have a shorter season for scaup, and will get an increase to two pintails daily in the bag limit for 2018-19. 

Canada goose season in Area 3 in the southeast corner of the state will run Oct. 6 though Jan. 3, but will also include a two-week season in September. 

Sandhill crane hunters will get a new hunt in the Malad area with 25 tags available. All sandhill crane tags are available on a first-come, first-served basis starting Aug. 1 at 10 a.m. Mountain Daylight Savings Time. 

2018-19 migratory bird rules booklet will be available in print in July and online prior to that.

Rainbow Trout Stocking Schedule

Personnel from Fish and Game's McCall and Nampa Hatcheries will be releasing
more than 63,000 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations during May.

LOCATION      WEEK STOCKED      NUMBER OF TROUT

Browns Pond (McCall)      May 21      500

Caldwell Pond #2      April 30      500

Duff Lane Pond (Middleton)      April 30      225

Eagle Island Park Pond      May 21      450

East Mountain Reservoir (Cascade)      May 21      500

Eds Pond (Emmett)      May 14      200

Esthers Pond (Boise)      April 30      1,300

Fischer Pond (Cascade)      May 21      750

Grimes Creek (Idaho City)      May 21      1,000

Heros Park Pond (Meridian)      May 7      150

Herrick Reservoir (Cascade)      May 21      3,000

Horsethief Reservoir (Cascade)      May 14, 21      8,000/13,500

Indian Creek (Caldwell)      April 30      200

Indian Creek (Kuna)      May 14      300

Kimberland Meadows Pond (N. Meadows)      May 21      500

Kleiner Pond (Meridian)      May 7, 21      450/450

Lowman Nature Ponds      May 14      600

Lucky Peak Reservoir      May 7, 14     5,700/4,320

Mann Creek Reservoir      May 7      2,400

Marsing Pond      May 14      450

McDevitt Pond (Boise)      May 14, 28      450/450

Merrill Pond (Eagle)      May 14      250

Mill Pond (Horseshoe Bend)      May 14     900

Mores Creek (Idaho City)      May 21      600

Ol' McDonald Pond (Council)      May 21      500

Parkcenter Pond (Boise)      May 7      750

Payette Pond (Payette)      April 30      450

Payette River, Middle Fork      May 21      1,000

Poormans Pond (McCall)      May 21      250

Riverside Pond (Boise)      May 14, 28      360/360

Rotary Pond (Caldwell)      April 30      1,100

Rowlands Pond (McCall)      May 21      1,500

People can help scientists track bumble bees throughout the Northwest

A new project launched to harness the volunteer power of citizen scientists and help map bumble bees in the Pacific Northwest, and anyone with a camera and computer can contribute. This region is home to nearly 30 species of these charismatic and easily recognizable bees, and many of them face an uncertain future. 

People can learn more about the project and how to contribute at the Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas Project website. 

The Pacific Northwest Bumble Bee Atlas is spearheaded by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon State University, and the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. The partners are collaborating with citizen scientists to collect information on bumble bees, including Species of Greatest Conservation Need, in Oregon, Washington and Idaho.

“While it is important to understand how well human-influenced landscapes affect bumble bee populations, we also need to know what is happening outside of towns and cities,” said Ross Winton, Fish and Game Regional Wildlife Biologist. “These larger patterns will help us to understand how bumble bees are faring under larger landscape pressures like climate change and drought.”

In recent years, the importance of pollinators and their essential role in keeping our environment healthy by pollinating flowers in natural areas and contributing to successful harvests on farms has been recognized, as has their vulnerability, in large part because of widespread losses of bees.

Declines of pollinator populations are alarming. Much attention has been given to the plight of the introduced European honey bee. Less publicized, but no less important, is the parallel decline of native, wild bee populations, particularly bumble bees.