Press Release

March 2020

Snare diverters no longer required for wolf trapping

Under a rule adopted by the Fish and Game Commission that is now in effect, there is no longer a statewide requirement for using diverters on snares for trapping gray wolves. However, snares must be equipped with either a break-away device or cable stop incorporated within the top loop of the snare.

As a provision of the rule, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission can still require diverters in local areas to reduce bycatch of non-target species if deemed necessary, but at this time, no such local requirements have been established.

The rule was publicly scoped on Fish and Game’s website on two separate occasions, in addition to a negotiated rulemaking meeting during 2019.

The changes to wolf trapping requirements can be found in the 2nd Edition Idaho Big Game 2020 Seasons & Rules, which will be posted on the Fish and Game website in early April and available in print by the latter part of April.

Southern Idaho waters closed to fishing by regulation on April 1 to protect spawning rainbow trout

Sections of three Southern Idaho rivers will be closed to fishing from April 1 through the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. None of the closures are due to Covid-19 concerns. They are regular annual closures in place to protect spawning rainbow trout.

Spring turkey hunting outlook good to very good for 2020

Based on regional reports from Fish and Game biologists, growing turkey populations and expanded hunting opportunities should make for a good to very good spring turkey season in 2020.

Youth turkey season opens April 8, and the general turkey season and many controlled hunts open April 15. Hunters can see which units have general hunts in Fish and Game's turkey hunting rules, in addition to details about the seasons.

Hunters will find most general hunting opportunity in the Panhandle, Clearwater, and Southwest and Southeast regions, while most other areas are limited to controlled hunts. In each of the regions with general hunting opportunity, turkey populations are faring well, and the hunting outlook is as good or better than recent years.

Attention anglers: Delays expected in "Tag, You're It" reward processsing, but please continue to report tags

Due to challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, anglers who report reward tags as part of Fish and Game’s “Tag, You’re It” program should expect some delays in receiving their rewards.

Jeff Dillon, fisheries research manager at Idaho Fish and Game said, “Under the current conditions, we are not going to be able to process reward tags as quickly as we normally would.

“We want to take this opportunity to urge anglers to please continue to report tags, because they are a crucial component of our research, aimed at making fishing better for Idaho’s anglers. We also want to ensure them that while they can expect some delays, we will work to process reward tags as quickly as possible.”

Anglers who catch any tagged fish should report it at tag.idaho.gov, or report it by calling the telephone number listed on the front or back of the tag.

Hayspur Hatchery and campground in Blaine County closed to the public

Officials with Idaho Fish and Game have announced that effective immediately, the campground area at the Hayspur Fish Hatchery in Blaine County is closed to the public until further notice. This closure extends the previously announced closure of all Fish and Game hatcheries to the public to now include the Hayspur Hatchery campground.

Fish and Game had recently announced the closures of the state’s hatcheries to the public in response to the risk of transmittal of the COVID-19 virus to hatchery staff who live and work at the hatcheries, as well as local residents. 

For more information, please contact the Magic Valley Regional Office at (208) 324-4359.

F&G offices closed except by appointment

Consistent with the Governor’s statewide, stay-at-home order to aid in reducing the spread of Covid-19 in our community, Fish and Game public offices will close starting March 27 through May 15 (unless extended). Some services will remain available by appointment by calling the office Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Services will include sale of items that cannot be bought online, or by telephone, such as bear bait permits and outfitter tags. Checking in harvested black bears, mountain lions and wolves per big game regulations also will require an appointment. Here’s a list of F&G offices and phone numbers

Fish and Game offices do not accept cash payments until further notice. Only debit cards and checks will be accepted at offices. For more information see this related media release. 

Fish and Game officials are encouraging people to buy licenses, tags and permits online as well as apply for controlled hunts online. Online buying allows people the option of using a credit card or debit card, and offers 24/7 access from the convenience of a computer. People can also buy licenses and tags by phone with a credit or debit card by calling (800) 554-8685.

The office closure will be effective through May 15, but may be adjusted in response to updates to the state-wide stay at home order. For more information and updates regarding Covid-19 and Idaho Fish and Game, go to the department's Covid-19 information page.

Pend Oreille State of the Lake meeting cancelled

The Lake Pend Oreille State of the Lake meeting previously scheduled for April 9 in Ponderay has been cancelled due to COVID-19.

State of the Lake is an annual public meeting hosted by Panhandle fisheries staff to share updates on Pend Oreille research, monitoring, angler incentive program and more.

In lieu of the meeting, biologists will release a series of articles covering updates from the 2019 season along with forecasts for Pend Oreille fisheries in 2020. Anglers can expect information on this year's netting plan, patterns in walleye movement, and a recap of the first year of the walleye lottery program.

Follow the IDFG Panhandle Region Facebook page, subscribe to the Panhandle e-newsletter, or check back at idfg.idaho.gov/region/panhandle to stay up-to-date on the latest news and information from Pend Oreille and around the region.

To contact biologists or managers by phone, please call the Panhandle Regional Office at (208) 769-1414.

Idaho Fish and Game HAS NOT closed any hunting or fishing seasons due to COVID-19. Information on F&G response can be found at idfg.idaho.gov/covid19.

F&G offices will only take debit cards and checks starting March 30

As part of an effort to reduce the spread of Covid-19 in our community while also continuing license, tag and permit sales, Fish and Game offices will no longer accept cash payments starting March 30. Only debit cards and checks will be accepted at offices. 

F&G will not give away spawned steelhead at hatcheries during spring

Fish and Game will be spawning adult steelhead during spring at the Pahsimeroi and Sawtooth hatcheries, but those fish will not be given away at the hatcheries. Instead, the Pahsimeroi and Sawtooth hatcheries will contact local food pantries to help distribute steelhead carcasses for public consumption.