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Looking Back at 2011

The New Year started off with new fishing rules and a new look to the fishing rule book.

The new brochure was redesigned with an easier-to-read format and 16 pages shorter. All the rules now are presented by region, eliminating the need for statewide rules and regional exceptions. Thus the number of exceptions was reduced by a third overall while maintaining all existing protections.

The new rules made year-round seasons on rivers and streams the general rule instead of the exception.

For years, fishing on rivers and streams was open Saturday of the Memorial Day weekend through November 30. A winter stream season opened December 1 and ran through March 31 on trout, whitefish and brook trout on selected streams.

Through the years, more and more stream segments have been opened through the winter by exception - so many in fact that the exceptions outnumbered the streams open under the general rule.

Most streams already are open through the winter, but the new rules brought some opportunities by opening streams from April through the Friday before Memorial Day.

Other major changes added a month of ice fishing on Henrys Lake and opened the Snake River below American Falls Dam to winter fishing.

New Director

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission on Thursday, March 31, appointed Virgil Moore as the new director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.

"Virgil is best equipped to maintain the positive momentum that is currently present at Idaho Fish and Game," Commission Chairman Wayne Wright said. "He is a highly capable leader who is best able to implement the commission's vision for the future."

Moore, 59, is the current deputy director for field operations at Fish and Game and will replace Director Cal Groen, who is retiring.

Groen was appointed director on January 17, 2007. Groen was a 21-year veteran of Fish and Game, including nine years as supervisor of the Clearwater Region.

Moore has 34 years of experience in wildlife management. Before taking his current position in 2007, he worked as the director of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. He was hired by Oregon Fish and Wildlife in 2006 but returned to Idaho after less than a year for family reasons. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and education from Northwest Missouri State University and a Master of Science degree in zoology from Idaho State University.

New Commissioner

Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter Wednesday, July 6, announced the appointment of Kenny Anderson of Rigby to the Upper Snake Region position on the seven-member Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

Anderson succeeds Cameron Wheeler of Ririe, whose term expired June 30.

Anderson, 60, is the founder and owner of Anderson Cabinet and Millwork. The 1971 graduate of what then was Ricks College in Rexburg - now BYU-Idaho - is an avid sportsman and member of the National Rifle Association. A lifelong eastern Idaho resident, Anderson and his wife Karen have four children and three grandchildren.

New Website

After a lengthy redevelopment effort, a new Fish and Game website was launched in July. The new site has been reorganized and has a different look, but more important it is linked through a database, which means changes are easier to make, pages are easier to find and the entire site is searchable.

Wolf Hunt

Idaho launched a second wolf hunt on August 30 in 13 wolf management zones, and the first wolf trapping season in five zones opened November 15.

Wolf seasons end December 31 in Island Park and Beaverhead wolf management zones, and run through March 31 in nine wolf management zones and through June 30 in the Lolo and Selway zones.

Licensed hunters may buy two tags per calendar year.

Harvest limits were set in five zones - 40 in the Salmon, 60 in the Sawtooth, 25 in the Southern Mountains, 10 in the Beaverhead and 30 in the Island Park zones. There are no harvest limits in the rest of the zones.

The wolf trapping seasons runs through March 31 in the Panhandle zone, except for units 2 and 3; in the Lolo zone; in the Dworshak-Elk City zone, except Unit 10A; in the Selway zone; and the Middle Fork zone. All other zones are closed to trapping with the option of opening a trapping season in other zones upon commission review in January.

As of December 30, Fish and Game had sold 28,631 resident wolf tags; 3,638 nonresident wolf tags; 300 resident trapping tags; and 17 nonresident wolf tapping tags.

As of December 30, hunters had killed 173 wolves and trappers had killed 24.