Fishing seasons and rules for 2011-2012 are now available, but anglers should note the new format and a few significant changes.
New fishing rules take effect January 1.
Anglers will find the new brochure in an easier to read format and 16 pages shorter. All the rules are presented by region, eliminating the need for statewide rules. Thus the number of exceptions was reduced by a third overall while maintaining all necessary protections.
The new rules make 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.
Many streams already are open through the winter, but the new rules bring some opportunities by opening streams from April through the Friday before Memorial Day.
Other major changes add a month of ice fishing on Henrys Lake and opens the Snake River below American Falls Dam to winter catch-and-release fishing.
The new rule keeps Henrys Lake open through January 1, providing another month of ice fishing. Though it is closed in December this year, the lake will be open on January 1, but for that day only.
The winter fishing season on the Snake River below American Falls Dam begins October 16 for catch-and-release using artificial flies and lures. The general harvest season begins Saturday of Memorial Day weekend and ends October 15.
Anglers will need a 2011 fishing license and relevant permits after December 31. The new rules are available on the Fish and Game Web site at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/fish/rules/. And to learn about places to go fishing, visit the online Fish Planner at: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/ifwis/Fishingplanner/.