Press Release

January 2019

New Sportsman Access area opens near Letha on the Payette River

Sheep Camp Landing, a new Lower Payette River access site near Letha, is open to the public and two familiar Lower Payette River sites have undergone site improvements during fall and winter. 

Bass and catfish anglers, and waterfowl hunters will be some of the beneficiaries of these access improvements.

Visitors to Sheep Camp Landing will find a small boat ramp, parking area and a temporary restroom. Its location just east of Letha is five river miles below Sevenmile Slough access area, making it a great takeout point for river users.

The local landowner made this access area possible, leasing the land to Fish and Game for the benefit of outdoor enthusiasts. Site users need to be good neighbors.

Fish and Game wants to hear from hunters on big game seasons for 2019-20

Idaho Fish and Game wants to hear from hunters on proposed changes to deer, elk, pronghorn, black bear, mountain lion and wolf seasons for 2019-2020.  Hunters are encouraged to attend open house meetings in Salmon and Challis to provide their comments.

Open houses will be held at the following:

  • Salmon - Feb. 19, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Salmon Regional Office, 99 Hwy. 93 North
  • Challis - Feb. 20, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Challis Community Event Center, 411 Clinic Road

Interested individuals can visit with local wildlife biologists and review informative displays concerning the proposed seasons and provide their written comments.

"Public comments to the proposed changes are needed to address concerns and improve management of wildlife in Lemhi and Custer counties," said Greg Painter, Salmon Region Wildlife Manager.

Individuals with disabilities may request meeting accommodations by contacting the Salmon Region Fish and Game office at 208-756-2271 or through the Idaho Relay Service at 1-800-368-6185 (TDD).

Season proposals will also be available for review and comment on Fish and Game’s website at in early February. The website provides a convenient way for people to review the proposals and provide their comments without having to travel to an open house.

All comments received will be summarized and presented to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission prior to their March 13 meeting in Boise when seasons will be set.

Controlled hunt application periods for spring black bear opens Jan. 15, spring turkey Feb. 1

Hunters who are looking to apply for controlled bear or turkey hunts during spring can apply in January and February. The application period for spring controlled black bear hunts kicks off on Jan. 15 and runs through Feb. 15. Applications for the spring turkey controlled hunts will be accepted from Feb. 1 through March 1.

Under new rules, Fish and Game will not be accepting mail-in applications for the controlled hunts. Hunters may apply at any hunting and fishing license vendor or Fish and Game office; with a credit card by calling (800) 554-8685; or online. A 2019 Idaho hunting license is required to apply. There is a nonrefundable application fee of $6.25 for residents and $14.75 for nonresidents.

Junior hunters must be between the ages of 10 and 17 to participate in controlled youth hunts, but a 9-year-old may buy a junior license to apply for a controlled hunt, provided the hunter is 10 years old at the time of the hunt they are applying for. 

The two spring controlled hunts for black bear begin on April 1. Each area has 75 tags available. The earliest spring controlled turkey hunts begin on April 8. Here's more information about spring black bear hunts. 

There are 16 controlled hunts across the state for spring turkey, including seven youth-only hunts. Here's more information about spring turkey hunts. 

Successful spring black bear applicants will be notified by mail no later than March 10, and successful applicants for the spring controlled turkey hunts will be notified by March 20. Hunters are responsible for finding out whether they were successful in drawing a controlled hunt tag. The results will also be available on the Fish and Game website. 

Fish and Game Commission to meet Jan. 23-24 in Boise

The Fish and Game Commission will hold its annual meeting Jan. 23-24 with the public hearing starting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23 in the Main Auditorium of the Washington Group Building at 720 E. Park Blvd. in Boise. Members of the public can address the commission on any matters related to Fish and Game at that time.

The meeting will continue at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24, at the Idaho Fish and Game Headquarters at 600 S. Walnut St. in Boise. Public comments will not be taken during this portion of the meeting. 

Agenda items include moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat season setting; updates on the management plans for mountain goat, white-tailed deer and mule deer, and upland game, and more. See the full agenda.  

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).

Tiger Trout, an exciting new fishery at Deer Creek Reservoir

Tiger trout are stocked at Deer Creek Reservoir as a predator fish to help manage non-native golden shiners populations. Tiger trout has become at popular fishery at Deer Creek Reservoir in most recent years. Try your hand at this new fishery and remember to check the new rules set to help protect and manage these unique fish!

Helicopter crews take flight for Panhandle elk study

Helicopter crews will fly the Silver Valley, North Fork Coeur d’Alene River and St. Joe River drainages to capture and collar elk for the sixth year of an ongoing elk survival study. This data helps inform big game seasons and address factors limiting to herd health and hunting opportunity.

Over the winter, crews will capture up to 60 calves and fit them with a GPS collar. Collars are made to expand as the animal grows and will eventually drop off male calves as they mature, but will remain on cows. Collars track where and when an animal moves. From this, biologists learn about elk habitat use, seasonal movements, and perhaps most importantly, determine how many die and what caused their deaths.

A unique signal is produced if a collared elk is stationary for more than four hours, alerting biologists that the animal may be dead. In that event, crews head to the field to investigate the stationary collar, usually arriving in less than 48 hours.

If an elk is dead, biologists collect clues such as age, body condition, bite marks, and paw prints to determine how the elk died. Wolves, mountain lions and bears have different prey capture and feeding patterns. A sick elk may have parasites or low fat stores. The key is getting to the scene as early as possible, reducing the chance of scavengers and mixed clues.

Since 2014 when the study began, annual cow elk survival has been very high and steady at 94 percent. Survival has been lower and more variable for calves, between 40 to 80 percent.

“The long duration of snow in low elevations the last two winters caused some calves to burn entirely through their fat reserves, which also increased their vulnerability to predators” regional wildlife biologist Barb Moore said.

If you see a helicopter circling in the skies at a low elevation in the Panhandle over the next few weeks, it may be a part of this study.

Mountain Lion Take Season Closed in Units 70, 73, and 73A in Southeast Idaho

The take season for mountain lion has closed in Game Management Units 70, 73, and 73A in southeast Idaho effective January 7, 2019. 2017-2018 Big Game Seasons and Rules states that the mountain lion take season is to be closed when 8 female mountain lions have been harvested. This harvest limit has been met. dog training season will remain open in these units through March 31, 2019.

Hunters will be allowed to keep mountain lions taken in Units 70, 73, and 73A prior to January 7, 2019, and must report them within 5 days of harvest.

The mountain lion take season in these units was originally closed on December 28, 2018, but quickly reinstated by December 31 when it was discovered that Idaho Fish and Game mistakenly recorded a male mountain lion as a female. Based on lion harvest data collected since the first of the year, Idaho Fish and Game has confirmed that the female quota has now been met in Units 70, 73, and 73A, and closure of the take season is warranted.

Up to date information on whether a quota has been met or the season has been closed for a particular game management unit anywhere in the state can be obtained by visiting the Fish and Game webpage at or by calling 1-800-323-4334.


Kid’s Ice Fishing Derby planned Feb 2 at Jimmy Smith Lake

Bundle up the kids, grab the fishing gear and head to Jimmy Smith Lake Saturday, Feb. 2 for the 4th Annual Kid’s Ice Fishing Derby.

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The free event is for youth ages 16 and under and will run from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Registration is from 9:30 to noon. All kids who register before noon and are present at 2 p.m. will receive a prize, which may include fishing tackle, rod/reel combo package, rod holder, t-shirt, hat or sticker. Prizes for the largest catch in four age groups will be awarded at 2 p.m.

Volunteers will be on hand to help drill holes and teach children how to fish, if needed.

Fish and Game Dispatches Mountain Lion in Lava Hot Springs

A mountain lion was dispatched by Idaho Department Fish and Game in the town of Lava Hot Springs just before midnight on January 4.

Bannock County Sheriff’s Office notified Idaho Fish and Game at 6:47 pm Friday night that a mountain lion had been observed walking through Lava Hot Springs, even coming within several feet of people according to multiple reports.

Tara Potter of Lava Hot Springs and her family were driving up Main Street around 6:40 pm after spending some time at the public hot pools located in the middle of town. Tara’s 12-year old son said, “Mom, there is a mountain lion!”

Tara responded to her son, “No. There wouldn’t be a mountain lion right in town.”

However, both she and her husband, Nick, quickly saw that their son was right. They observed a mountain lion crossing the street, headed toward the public hot pools. Nick used his vehicle to block the pathway to the pools. The lion stopped and turned to look at them.

“We could see one of its eyes was messed up,” Tara said.

According to Tara, the lion made its way to the Lava Spa Motel parking lot before disappearing.

By 6:43 pm, Tara had called 911.