You need a new hunting and fishing license before your first outing of 2019. You might procrastinate, and then run around looking for an open store to buy a hunting or fishing license because you’re leaving early for your first trip, or buy it right away and have peace of mind, as well as a full year of hunting and fishing.
If you buy immediately, you can also take advantage of some great hunting and opportunities right now, such as:
It’s cool, baby. No, really, it’s cool because you’re standing on a thick sheet of ice. But ice fishing is fun, and a great way to get out of the house and catch some fish during winter. Here’s more information about Idaho’s ice fishing.
You can stay Price Locked
Under Price Lock, you can keep buying licenses and tags at 2017 prices so long as you keep buying an annual hunting, fishing or trapping license. If you’re not Price Locked, you can still get 2017 prices by buying a 3-year license.
You can catch a burbot
What’s a burbot? That’s a fair question because it’s a unique fish with a fishing season that opens in the Kootenai River, its tributaries and Bonner Lake on Jan. 1. Burbot are the only freshwater member of the cod family. They are a popular fish for ice anglers, known for their tasty eating, grow up to 35 inches, and occasionally larger. Learn more about them and the new fishing season in the 2019-21 fishing rules booklet.
Steelhead fishing continues
Idaho’s “spring” season opens Jan. 1, and steelhead fishing can be good throughout winter and well into spring. Remember the daily bag limit is one steelhead for the 2019 spring season. See the current steelhead fishing rules.
You can still catch trout in rivers and streams
Winter stream fishing is often an overlooked opportunity, but trout fishing can be good, especially in “tailwater” fisheries where rivers are fed by dam releases, or in parts of the state with mild climates, such as along the Snake River.
One of the best times to catch whitefish
Another winter fishery that fly anglers enjoy, and many other anglers. These fish feed in riffles and aren’t fazed by the cold water, and they’re often schooled up before the spawning season. Many anglers consider smoked whitefish an Idaho delicacy.
Hunt game animals that you may have overlooked
The hunting season for cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hares and red squirrels last through March 31, so if you want to keep hunting, you have those options, and you probably won’t have a lot of competition.
Late season upland bird hunting continues
Hunting season remains open for chukar, Hungarian partridge, California quail, and forest grouse during January in most areas, and late-season hunting can be good for those birds. See the upland game bird rules booklet for season dates.
It’s only midway through the waterfowl season
Most duck and Canada geese seasons are open during at least part of January, into February for white-fronted geese, and as late as March (light geese) in parts of the state. See the migratory bird hunting rules booklet seasons because closure dates vary depending on species and location.
Hunt for large predators
Mountain lion and wolf hunting seasons are open during winter depending on location. See big game hunting rules for specific seasons.
Get it all (almost) with a Sportsman's Package
If you want the full-meal deal, go for the resident Sportsman’s Package for 2019. It costs $124.25 if you’re Price Locked, or $144.60 if you’re not, and you get the nearly all the hunting and fishing opportunities Idaho has to offer. The Sportsman's Package includes a resident adult hunting and fishing license, plus tags for deer, elk, bear, mountain lion, wolf, turkey, salmon and steelhead. Archery and muzzleloader are validated on the license. (You still need a federal migratory bird permit and waterfowl stamp for those species). Buy your licenses or Sportsman's Package. Buy your licenses or Sportsman's Package.