Press Release

November 2020

Here are the top reasons to go ice fishing this winter

If you haven't tried ice fishing in Idaho yet, you're missing out on a winter activity that is not only fun and inexpensive, it's a great way to catch lots of tasty fish.

Ice fishing starts in the fall in some of Idaho's chilliest locations, but it's usually not until December or January that the ice is thick enough to fish in most parts of the state. Three to four inches of solid ice is the minimum to support a person, and thicker ice is needed for groups. Here's more information about ice fishing safety.

Because Idaho is so diverse geographically, when ice fishing starts, as well as how long it lasts, varies by location. Conditions can also change quickly, so use good judgment before heading out on the ice, and remember you’re responsible for your own safety. 

Here are the top reasons why you should go ice fishing: 

Ice fishing is a good reason to get outside during winter

Winter can give us all a nasty case of cabin fever, and that might be particularly true for 2020. Unlike many other activities that make you wait until spring, you can keep fishing during winter. A day on the ice is not just another fishing trip, it’s a whole different fishing experience, and it's a great way to get out, recreate responsibly and enjoy some socially distanced fun.

Bringing big game carcasses and heads into Idaho creates potential for spreading CWD

During the last several weeks, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game became aware of several separate incidents of hunters illegally transporting whole deer carcasses or deer heads into Idaho from states with Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).  It’s important for hunters traveling to states where CWD  is present to know that it is illegal to bring whole carcasses or heads back to Idaho, and presents substantial risks to Idaho's wildlife.

Trapper education course scheduled Dec. 5 in Salmon

Idaho Fish and Game will host a trapper education course in Salmon on Saturday, December 5 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fish and Game Office, 99 Highway 93 North.

The interactive course provides students with hands-on training from experienced trapping instructors. Basic trapping techniques with safety, ethical trapper behavior and responsible trap set location are emphasized throughout. Other topics covered include furbearer behavior and management, trapping regulations, equipment selection and maintenance, avoiding non-target catches, and pelt preparation.

Due to COVID-19 concerns, class size will be limited to allow for appropriate social distancing at all times. Masks and other PPE are required by state mandate. Students are asked not to attend a course if they exhibit COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19.

Registration is required. Participants must be at least 9 years of age and can register at the Fish and Game office in Salmon or online at

All trappers that have not purchased an Idaho trapping license prior to July 1, 2011 are required to attend and pass a trapper education course before they can purchase a trapping license. However, the trapper education course does not qualify people for the purchase of wolf trapping tags. To trap wolves in Idaho, completion of a wolf trapper course is also required. When registering, please be certain to sign up for the course you actually want to complete.

For more information, contact the Idaho Fish and Game office in Salmon at 208-756-2271.

Southwest Region Rainbow Trout Stocking Schedule for December

Personnel from Fish and Game's Nampa Hatchery will be releasing more than 9,500 catchable-sized rainbow trout at the following locations during December.

LOCATION                                                            WEEK STOCKED            NUMBER OF TROUT

Boise River – Barber Park to Glenwood Bridge            December 7                           1,440

Boise River – Eagle Bridge to Middleton                       December 7                              720

Eagle Island Park Pond                                                    November 30                            450

Esthers Pond (Boise)                                                       November 30                         1,300

Marsing Pond                                                                   November 30                             450

Parkcenter Pond (Boise)                                                 December 7                               750

Riverside Pond (Garden City)                                         December 7                                900

Rotary Pond (Caldwell)                                                   November 30                              500

Sawyers Pond (Emmett)                                                November 30                              450

Williams Pond (Boise)                                                     December 7                                450

Wilson Springs (Nampa)                                                Nov. 30, Dec. 14                     250/250

Wilson Springs Ponds (Nampa)                       Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14, 21      400/400/400/400

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 -

Look no further for the perfect gift for that special hunter or angler on your list- an IDFG gift certificate!

Gift certificates can be purchased in any dollar amount to cover the cost of any license/tag and can be purchased at a IDFG regional office any time during the year. Remember, nonresidents will pay higher fees in 2021, which will also take effect Dec. 1. A nonresident adult hunting license will be $185, a deer tag will cost $351.75 and an elk tag will cost $651.75. 

Anglers will get new ice fishing access at Lake Cascade this winter

Anglers looking for access to Lake Cascade for ice fishing will get a new option this winter with the addition of the Boulder Creek walk-in access and parking lot. Lake Cascade State Park staff developed the area so it can be plowed, and Fish and Game hired a contractor to keep it clear of snow during the ice fishing season. 

High trout numbers continue in the South Fork Snake River

The South Fork Snake River in eastern Idaho supports the largest river population of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout in Idaho as well as other popular game fish including Rainbow trout and Brown trout. Idaho anglers have repeatedly asked Fish and Game managers to focus management efforts on protecting native trout species when possible. This public sentiment is reflected in our state fish management plan where the goals for the South Fork Snake River include: protecting the genetic integrity and population viability of cutthroat, and reducing rainbow trout abundance to less than 10% of the trout in the upper river near Conant, as was the case in the mid-1980’s. These goals are also reflected by the Yellowstone cutthroat trout management plan. Each fall, IDFG employees use boat electrofishing techniques to estimate trout numbers in order to gauge management efforts relative to goals stated in the management plan. Results from 2020 surveys suggest two things; trout numbers are at a record high and Rainbow trout still comprise more of the population in the upper South Fork than called for in the management plan.

MK Nature Center bird seed sale fundraiser is Dec. 4-5

The MK Nature Center will host its 14th annual bird seed sale on December 4 and 5.  Come and stock up on food for your favorite backyard birds. Proceeds from this event benefit educational programs at the Nature Center. 

High quality bird seed, including black-oil sunflower, dove and quail mix, nyger thistle, and other varieties are provided through partnership with Wild Birds Unlimited of Boise.  Wild Birds Unlimited is a long-time supporter of this event, helping make sure that the bird seed sale is one of the nature center’s most successful and popular fundraisers.

The MK Nature Center Gift Shop will have many nature-themed holiday items for purchase.  Come check out these items for the nature lover on your holiday gift list.

Covid Procedures:  There will be a 10 person limit in the building at one time, with a one way traffic pattern to follow. Consistent with the City of Boise's Public Health Emergency Order No. 20-13, masks are required in the building.

For more information, please contact Sue Dudley at or call 208-287-2900.

General-season nonresident deer and elk tags go on sale Dec. 1, including Sawtooth Capped Elk Zone tags 

Nonresident hunters should be aware of numerous changes to nonresident deer and elk tags for 2021 before tags go on sale at 10 a.m. Mountain Standard Time on Dec. 1, and many tags could sell out quickly.

F&G Commission extends reduced steelhead bag limits into spring 2021 season

During their meeting on Friday, Nov. 20 Idaho Fish and Game Commission extended the reduced bag and possession limits adopted last fall for steelhead into the 2021 spring steelhead season.

The spring steelhead season begins on Jan. 1. Statewide, the daily bag limits for spring 2021 seasons are two steelhead daily and six in possession.

Continuing the bag limit reduction in the Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers will allow hatcheries to meet their broodstock needs, while still allowing a sport fishery in the spring. In the Clearwater River, where steelhead return is closer to the 10-year average, the two fish daily bag limit is designed to ensure the sport fishery does not exceed its share of hatchery fish.

Idaho's WMAs provide a bounty of waterfowl hunting opportunities

The Snake River has received much acclaim as the go-to public land duck hunting destination in Idaho, but it’s certainly not the only place where hunters have an accessible place to hunt waterfowl. Fish and Game has Wildlife Management Areas spread throughout the state, about two-thirds of are managed with waterfowl in mind, providing food and resting areas for migrating waterfowl, and opportunities for hunters.