Press Release

October 2019

Anglers: don't overlook catching whitefish in Idaho's rivers and streams

Anglers may be overlooking one of Idaho’s abundant and fun-to-catch stream fish –  mountain whitefish – and late fall and winter are some of the best times to catch them. 

Before talking about catching whitefish, let’s clear up a few misconceptions. Whitefish are not a so-called “trash fish,” they’re a native Idaho gamefish found in many rivers and streams, as well as some lakes. Some anglers might mistake them for suckers because of their slightly down-turned mouths, but whitefish are in the Salmonid family along with salmon, trout, char and grayling. 

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Ian Malepeai/Idaho Fish and Game

Whitefish are plentiful in many rivers and streams throughout the state. According to Fish and Game’s stream surveys, it’s common for whitefish populations to outnumber trout by five to 10 times where the two coexist.

Public’s Help Sought in Big Game Poaching Cases

Fish and Game is asking the public for information regarding two suspected poaching cases in the Garden Valley/Lowman area. Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) is offering a reward for information in both cases and callers can remain anonymous. Contact CAP at 1-800-632-5999 twenty four hours a day.

Fish and Game conservation officer Corey Taylor reported that sometime during the evening of October 20th, a spike elk was shot and left to waste on the Terrace Lakes Golf Course near Crouch. The following evening around 5:00pm, a mule deer doe was shot and left to waste in the Rock Creek drainage near Lowman, Idaho. A witness to this suspected poaching incident reported seeing a late 90s white Chevrolet pickup with 2C plates leaving the area around the time of the incident.

Evidence was collected at both scenes, but Taylor hopes to learn more about these cases from an eyewitness or others who have knowledge of these incidents. “I am very interested in visiting with anyone who has information regarding these suspected poaching cases,” Taylor noted.

In addition to the CAP hotline, persons with information regarding this case may also contact the Fish and Game Nampa office at 208-465-8465 weekdays and Idaho State Police at 208-846-7550 on weekends.

- IDFG -

Oct 28: Upper Salmon River Steelhead fishing report

Steelhead angler effort on the upper Salmon River noticeably increased over the past week.

Most bank anglers were interviewed downstream of North Fork while boat anglers were more commonly encountered upstream of Deadwater. Angler effort upstream of Salmon in location code 17 remained low. Additionally, effort during the weekdays was higher than the weekend. This was mainly due to cold and windy weather that moved into the area on Saturday.

Catch rates downstream of North Fork improved slightly compared to last week’s report. Anglers interviewed in location code 14 averaged 28 hours per steelhead caught, and anglers interviewed in location code 15 averaged 37 hours per steelhead caught.

The fishing upstream of North Fork in location codes 16 and 17 was more challenging. Anglers interviewed in location code 16 reported releasing one steelhead and averaged 238 hours per steelhead caught. Upstream of the Lemhi River in location code 17, only three angler interviews were obtained. These anglers reported releasing one steelhead and averaged 12 hours per steelhead caught. 

River conditions remained great throughout the week. On Sunday, the river’s visibility was clear and water temperatures were in the low 40s. Currently the Salmon River near Owl Creek is flowing at 1,920 cfs which is 96 percent of average for today’s date.

Preparation important for waterfowl hunting with a boat

Hunters using a boat to get to their island blind, and hunters shooting from their duck boats are going not only on a hunting trip. They are also going on a boating trip.

It is critically important that they have all of the safety equipment that a boating outing requires. In addition having safety gear, it is critical to consider the weight capacity of the boat being used.

Almost every year, there is a boating accident in northern Idaho involving duck hunters. With water temperatures just above freezing, these accidents can tragically result in a fatality.

The most common mistake waterfowl hunters make in their boating trip is overloading the boat. All vessels under 20 feet in length constructed after Nov 1, 1972 have a capacity plate permanently affixed. The plate will be in a location clearly visible to the operator while the boat is underway. The plate lists the maximum horsepower, maximum number of persons, and maximum weight capacity including all people, dogs and gear.

By the time you put on an outboard motor, add some hunters, a dog and hunting gear, it is very easy to exceed the weight capacity without knowing it.

Exceeding the weight capacity of a boat creates a very dangerous condition. Overloading reduces the amount of freeboard, which is the vertical distance measured on the boat's side from the waterline to the gunwale. Insufficient freeboard can lead to poor handling in rough water and makes it easier for the boat to swamp.

Duck hunters are often out in the worst weather where whitecaps or the wake of a passing boat could quickly send water over the gunwale and into the boat. An excited retriever can unexpectedly move in the boat adding to the danger if a boat is overloaded.

Southwest Region Rainbow Trout Stocking Schedule for the Month of November

Personnel from Fish and Game's Nampa Hatchery will be releasing more than 14,400 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations during November. 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

Boise River – Barber Park to Glenwood Bridge      November 4      1,440

Boise River – Eagle Bridge to Middleton      November 4      720

Eagle Island Park Pond      November 4      450

Eds Pond (Emmett)      November 11      200

Esthers Pond (Boise)      November 4      1,300

Kleiner Pond (Meridian)      November 11, 25      450/450

Legacy Pond (Mountain Home)      November 4      350

Mariposa Pond (Boise)      November 11, 25      125/125

Merrill Pond (Eagle)      November 18      250

McDevitt Pond (Boise)      November 11, 25      450/450

Mill Pond (Horseshoe Bend)      November 4      900

Nicholson Pond (Kuna)      November 4      225

Parkcenter Pond (Boise)      November 18      750

Payette Greenbelt Pond      November 11      450

Riverside Pond (Garden City) November 4, 18      360/360

Rotary Pond (Caldwell)      November 4      1,100

Sawyers Pond (Emmett)      November 11      900

Settlers Park Pond (Meridian)      November 11, 25      125/125

Weiser Community Pond      November 11      500

Williams Pond (Boise)      November 18      450

Wilson Springs (Nampa)      November 18      250

Wilson Springs Ponds (Nampa)      November 4, 11, 18      400/400/400

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.

- IDFG -

Hayden, Hyde and Kid’s Creek ponds to be stocked in early November

Idaho Department of Fish and Game will stock over 1,200 rainbow trout in the 10-12 inch range the first week of November in Hayden, Hyde and Kid's Creek ponds in the Salmon Region. 

Location; Week Stocked; Number of Trout

  • Hayden Pond; Nov 4-8; 600
  • Hyde Pond; Nov 4-8; 400
  • Kids Creek Pond; Nov 4-8; 200

The number of trout actually released may be altered by weather, water conditions, equipment problems or schedule changes. If delays occur, trout will be released when conditions become favorable.

Anglers can find more detailed information on each of these waters, including maps, facilities, species present, stocking records, and fishing rules by visiting the Idaho Fishing Planner.

Tiny tags and antennas help track juvenile Chinook in Lemhi and Salmon rivers

Anglers fishing the upper Salmon River this fall and winter may notice large antennas in various locations near the riverbank.

These antennas are part of a juvenile Chinook Salmon radio telemetry study conducted by Biomark's applied biological services team in collaboration with the Idaho Fish and Game. The study hopes to gain insights into how juvenile Chinook Salmon utilize their habitat in the Lemhi River, as well as their movements and survival in the Salmon River.

fixed_telemetry_site
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Biomark Applied Biological Services

Each fall, a significant proportion of the young salmon from the Lemhi River move into the Salmon River. Until this study, not much was known about their overwinter behavior in the river prior to migrating to the ocean the following spring.

F&G finalizes agreements to allow public access on corporate timberlands in North Idaho

With final agreements now signed, hunters, anglers, trappers and other recreationists have access to 336,630 more acres of private timberland through an agreement between the landowners and Fish and Game. 

You can see locations of the parcels on Fish and Game's Map Center. 

Fish and Game officials announced the agreements in May, but multiple contracts with 12 companies in several states took longer than expected. This latest acreage is in addition to Fish and Game’s agreement with PotlatchDeltic to provide public access to 567,002 acres of that company’s timberland for access. 

The agreements came through Fish and Game’s “large tracts” land lease program that targets multi-year access to parcels 50,000 acres or larger. Fish and Game pays $1 per acre annually for the access, which includes hunting, fishing, trapping, wildlife viewing, hiking and recreational travel limited to motor vehicle travel on roads open to full-sized vehicles.

People using these lands are reminded that there are different rules for use depending on the landowner, such as restrictions on camping and ATV use, and it’s the user’s responsibility to know those rules. To get more details and links to rules for using private timberlands and other private lands, see the Hunting and Fishing Access webpage.

Black bear cub found in Southwest Idaho to be rehabilitated

A young black bear cub, taken from the wild by a well-meaning citizen, was deemed a good candidate for rehabilitation and now resides with a licensed rehabilitator in central Idaho. Like others across Idaho, the rehabilitator operates under a permit issued by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

The young male cub will have a buddy, sharing a paddock with another cub of similar age.

While this story has a happy ending, it serves as a reminder that removing any big game animal from the wild is illegal under Idaho law.

Fish and Game asks pheasant hunters to report banded birds at Sterling WMA

This fall, sportsmen and sportswomen hunting Sterling WMA may find that their harvested rooster pheasants have metal leg bands. Hunters may keep the leg bands, but Idaho Fish and Game is asking hunters to please report the bands by calling 208-236-1254 and providing the information requested.