The fishing is great in Idaho, and people are catching on; more people are fishing now than most years in the past decade.
In 2011, Idaho Fish and Game sold about 450,000 fishing licenses, down about 5 percent from the recent high in 2009. More good news, though, most license and permit sales through March 2012 are above what they were at the same time in 2011.
Resident fishing license sales are up about 9 percent; resident junior licenses are up 14 percent; resident disabled licenses are up 16 percent; two-pole permit sales are up 6 percent; nonresident licenses are up 10 percent; salmon permits are up about 6 percent; and steelhead permits are up about 2 percent.
The increase in fishing license sales is not just an indication of good fishing; it is also proof that fishing represents affordable and popular recreation in spite of the economy.
To fish in Idaho, anglers need a fishing rod and a valid fishing license, unless they're under 14. Licenses and fishing rules are available from any Fish and Game office and from a long list of vendors statewide. Anglers are on their own for the rod, reel and lures.
It's easy to get started, and Idaho Fish and Game can help. Check out the Fishing section of the Fish and Game Web site - http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/ - and click on the section called Learn to Fish. It includes basic information on getting started, how to identify fish and several opportunities for beginning anglers.
In addition Fish and Game's Fishing Planner at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/Fishingplanner/, can help anglers find fishing spots all over the state, how to get there and what kind of fish they'll find when they do. Simply type in the name of a lake or stream or click on the "recommended fishing waters."
For an Idaho resident a season fishing license good for an entire calendar year costs $25.75; a daily license $11.50 plus $5 for each consecutive day; steelhead or salmon permit $12.75; two-pole permit $13.75. A lifetime fishing license for anyone up to one year old costs $601.75; for people 2 to 50 it's 841.75; and for people 51 and older it's $481.75.
For nonresidents a season fishing license costs $98.25; season junior fishing for those 17 and under is $21.75; a two-pole permit is $15.50; a season salmon-steelhead permit is $25.75; a three-day salmon or steelhead license and permit is $37.50; a one day fishing license is $12.75 and each consecutive day $6, but it is not valid for salmon or steelhead.
Nonresident youths under 14 can fish for free if accompanied by a licensed adult. But their catch must be counted on the licensed adult's bag limit.
Licenses, tags and permits can be purchased:
- Online: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/buy_online.
- By phone and credit card: 1-800-554-8685.
- At license vendors.
- At Fish and Game offices.