For some, winter is a time to hibernate in the comfort of a warm home, enjoying a hot drink by the fireplace. For others, winter offers a unique opportunity to try their hand at landing the native and once rare burbot from the Kootenai River.
Referred to by some as the Kootenai leopard or ling cod, burbot in the Kootenai River are once again being pursued by anglers. This is in large part due to extensive restoration efforts by the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, Idaho Fish and Game and other partners. Check out the short video below to learn more about burbot in the Kootenai River, or check out this link.
Fishing for burbot in the Kootenai River closed in 1992 because of a declining population. The population has since increased and the fishery reopened in Jan. 2019. As the fishery is relatively new, Fish and Game staff are closely monitoring how the fishery and the burbot population are doing. Although we run an extensive annual monitoring program on the river from Dec. through March, we need your help to collect additional information on the fishery!
Fish and Game is inviting burbot fishermen to participate in the new Kootenai River Angler Science Program to gather valuable information that will help us manage the burbot fishery. Need a little more enticement? How about free swag simply for participating? Need more? How about the opportunity to win great prizes in a free raffle? Now we’re talking!
What you can win
By simply participating in the program, you will receive a customized hat and sticker. In addition, you will be entered into a free raffle for the following prizes:
- 1 Yeti Tundra 45 cooler
- 1 Burbot fishing setup (~$250 worth of gear)
How you can participate
Complete and return a creel packet – Anglers must pick-up, complete and return a creel packet by May 1, 2022 to receive free swag and be entered into the raffle. Whether you catch any burbot or not, you are eligible for the swag and raffle prizes, so make sure to turn in your creel packet by the deadline. Check out this flyer for full details, including where you can pick-up and return creel packets.
Report tagged burbot – whether you participate in the angler science program or not, please keep your eye out for tags located in the backs of burbot.
By reporting tags, you are helping us better understand burbot catch rates, harvest rates and survival rates, which helps us manage the fishery.
Select tags carry a reward value of $100, so maybe this winter will be your lucky year! If you see a tag, please report the tag number and location of where you caught the fish to Fish and Game. Reporting can be done over the phone (1-866-258-0338), online or as part of the of the Angler Science Program creel packet.
Please contact the Panhandle Regional office at (208) 769-1414 if you have any questions or would like to learn more about the Kootenai River Angler Science Program.
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