Frequently Asked Questions

We get a lot of questions. We post here answers to questions we're being asked frequently. If you have a question not answered here, please contact us. Urgent questions should be directed to your nearest office. Some answers change over time; please take note of the "answered" date.

Displaying 451 - 475 of 3501 questions

Q: Clarification on bass size regulations in Lake Lowell

I would like some clarification on the Bass rules in Lake Lowell. SW Idaho regulations state "None under 12 inches" in regards to both species of bass but Lake Lowell special regulations state " none between 12 and 16 inches". My understanding is this should be taken as "None under 16 inches" as there seems to be no specific exemptions in the lowell regulations to indicate one can keep bass under 12-in. Some have said to me that Lowell's rule of "none between 12 and 16 inches" means you can keep bass under 12in. You Might see why there is a bit of confusion. Any clarification would be helpful

A: 

Thanks for your question on Lake Lowell!  The "General" bass rules for the Southwest Region do in fact state 6 bass per day, 12-inch minimum. However, Lake Lowell falls under the "special rule waters" which are listed separately (page 23 of the rules book). These waters have their own rules that are separate from the general rules. Lake Lowell: January 1 – June 30, bass limit is 0, catch/release only. July 1 – December 31 – bass limit is 2, none between 12-16 inches. This means that you can keep only 2 bass per day, and they must be either below 12” or over 16”. There is no harvest before the July 1 to December 31 period. These rules are intended to manage for higher numbers of 12-16” bass to maintain good catch rates of medium sized bass, and still allow some harvest of smaller fish and occasional large bass, while protecting spawning bass before July 1.    Good luck fishing! Martin Koenig Sportfishing Program Coordinator
answered 5/7/2015

Q: Landlocked chinook salmon catch limit

What are the rules for chinook salmon in Anderson ranch resevoir

A: 

In Idaho Code, landlocked salmon are considered "trout" unless otherwise denoted.  In the case of Anderson Ranch Reservoir, Fall Chinook salmon are included in your daily trout bag limit.  Therefore, you can keep 6 "trout/Fall Chinook" per day.
answered 5/7/2015

Q: Can you own an otter in Idaho? if so, what permits would you need but if not, why?

Can you own otters here if you have the area and if you can't is there any way at all to get one?

A: 

The short answer is no. Otters are classified as furbearers and are protected willdlife that can be trapped in limited numbers, but may not be kept alive. Non native otters might be allowed to be imported into Idaho with an import permit if they were shown not to be a genetic, competitive or disease threat to native wildlife in Idaho.
answered 5/6/2015

Q: 2015 fishing status of Paddock Reservoir?

What is the fishing status of Paddock in 2015? Obviously the last few years have been bad for a variety of reasons

A: 

Unfortunately, this will be another bleak year for Paddock Reservoir. With little to no snowpack remaining in the Paddock drainage and the unusually warm and dry spring; there is no chance of the reservoir filling.  We just hope enough water will remain in the deepest part of the reservoir for a few crappie, bass and bluegill to survive. I fished Paddock Reservoir back in the late 1980's when it produced numerous, large crappie.  The key is water.  If we can get back to consecutive years of average or above average precipitation, Paddock will again produce some of the best fishing in Idaho.  
answered 5/5/2015

Q: 0.015 inches thick

How is anyone supposed to know if their broad head has "a primary cutting edge less than 0.015 inches thick"? Aren't most broad heads made to be larger than this, thus meeting the criteria of Idaho in this aspect, or is it common to have ones thinner than 0.015 inches (which is equal to about 0.381 mm)?

A: 

The reason for the regulation is to avoid thin broadhead blades from collapsing causing the broadhead to be rendered ineffective in the event it hits hard objects like bone.  Today most broadhead manufacturers produce blades in excess of the 0.015 inch minimum, but it is still possible to purchase these “thin” blade broadheads or find old broadheads that do not meet the standards.  The best way to find out the specifications on your broadhead is to check the internet which should give you the blade thickness.  You can also contact the manufacturer.  If you have access to a micrometer, you can check the thickness yourself or take your broadhead to your nearest IDFG Region Office or your local archery pro-shop.
answered 5/4/2015

Q: Alabama rig

I was wondering how many hooks you can use for a Alabama rig on Lake pend Oreille. I was wondering if there's any lures you couldn't use on Lake Pend Oreille or any of Idaho

A: 

When fishing in Idaho, it doesn't matter if you have an "Alabama rig" or gear names after any other state - you can only have 5 hooks per line under your direct control. I will say a "qualifying yes" to your question on lures.  Provided the lure isn't scented, they would be legal.  Scented lures would be considered "bait" and illegal in "no bait" waters.  The only other way a lure would be illegal is if the hook gap was greater than 5/8" and you were fishing for anadromous Chinook Salmon or Steelhead. All of those lighted, vibrating, battery operated lures are legal for use in Idaho.
answered 5/2/2015

Q: Reloaded shotgun shells with non-lead alloys

Hello, I reload my own shotgun shells. Can I cast non-lead alloys, say bismuth-tin, and load them to hunt ducks? What proof shall I carry with me to prove this? Is it legal to reload shells that previously held lead shot with non-lead shot to hunt ducks?

A: 

As long as you reload your shotshells with a USFWS approved shot, you may shoot waterfowl with reloaded ammunition.
answered 5/2/2015

Q: Buoys at no wake zone

Can a waterfront homeowner anchor a buoy to mark the 200-ft no wake zone?

A: 

Fish & Game isn't the agency that regulates this activity. We suggest contacting the Idaho Department of Lands local office (www.idl.idaho.gov/areas/index.html), and the city or county involved regarding permits and requirements for placing buoys.
answered 4/30/2015

Q: South Fork of the Salmon

I don't see any mention of Chinook fishing in the South Fork of the Salmon for 2015. Do you anticipate this will be opened?

A: 

We are anticipating a very successful Chinook Salmon season on the South Fork Salmon River in 2015.  Actual dates of the season and bag limits will be set at the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game Commission meeting that will be held in Lewiston on May 19th and 20th, 2015. With the low flow conditions I would anticipate late June/early July to be prime fishing on the South Fork.  What a way to spend the 4th of July weekend!
answered 4/30/2015

Q: bear

Does anyone in the Region 1 office know how to access Packer Meadow in the priest lake area? Have heard it is very good bear hunting, but that it is also ground zero for Grizzly bears?

A: 

Yes, that's very likely. Please call the Panhandle Regional office to learn more. 
answered 4/30/2015

Q: Boat tags

Where do I go online to get invasive species boat tags?

A: 

Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation administers the Invasive Species stickers. You can purchase invasive species stickers online here. The Idaho Department of Agriculture has an FAQ of why we have these required stickers in Idaho.
answered 4/30/2015

Q: When do crawfish start becoming active in Idaho?

Hi. I started crawfishing last year. I started around June and I caught over 150. I'm waiting for the temperature to warm up so they become active. I put the traps in about a month ago and caught nothing. Then I tried again on the 21st of April and did catch only one. I tried today and caught nothing. I'm using the same tactics that I was using last year. I have 3 traps that I use. Also, there's a lot of algae on the rocks and I'm not positive if that would affect the crawfish's activity. So to summarize everything, when do crawfish become active? It's in the 70s so I would think they would be active. Thanks.

A: 

Crayfish, just like other species of coldwater fish, become more active as water temperatures increase.  As afternoon water temperatures begin to climb into the high 50 degree/low 60's crayfish become more active.  Typically, crayfish activity is high by mid-May.   Just because air temperatures are warm doesn't necessarily mean water temperatures are warm.  This time of the year, many reservoirs are fed by snowmelt yielding water temperatures in the high 40's/low 50's.  River systems like the Boise River, also have bottom releases of water from their dams which tends to promote cooler downstream water conditions which in-turn, slows crayfish activity.  The best places to start looking for crayfish are shallow, early filling reservoirs and then transition to main river reservoirs as we get into June and July.
answered 4/29/2015

Q: Is it legal to shoot ground squirrels north of the Payette river?

Is it legal to shoot ground squirrels north of the Payette river?    

A: 

Most of the ground squirrels north of the Payette River are protected ground Squirrels which can not be hunted.  Idaho has two species of ground squirrel that are only found in Southwest Idaho.  The Northern Idaho Ground Squirrel lives in Washington and Adams counties, they are a federally protected Threatened Species.  The Southern Idaho Ground Squirrel lives in Washington, Payette and Gem counties and are a state protected ground squirrel.  Northern and Southern Idaho Ground Squirrels are small squirrels. The unprotected Columbian Ground Squirrel is a larger ground squirrel and can be hunted if the shooter has a valid hunting license and can identify the squirrel as the unprotected species.
answered 4/29/2015

Q: restocking Black Canyon Reservoir

When is black canyon reservoir going to be restocked. Most of the fish in the reservoir were killed or sent down stream when the reservoir was completely drained in the winter of 2012, and what species are to be restocked. .

A: 

Unfortunately, we will not re-stock Black Canyon Reservoir for at least a couple of more years. It is very likely that the reservoir will be drawdown substantially during at least two more of the coming winters. This is part of a project, led by the Bureau of Reclamation, that will add a thrid hydro-electric turbine to Black Canyon Dam. The third turbine will increase hydro-electirc gnerating capacity. After all construction has been completed, IDFG, utilizing assistance from the Bureau of the Reclamation, will re-stock the reservoir with several species of fish. At a minimum, smallmouth bass and crappie will be transferred to the reservoir .   
answered 4/29/2015

Q: Elk concentration in Unit 10A

Where are the greatest concentrations of elk in Unit 10A during October? Do the animals migrate much in the area or are they mostly resident herds? I have previously hunted around the Butte Creek area and numbers seem to be dwindling in this area. Does the area around Dent Bridge and Camp Y seem to be holding more animals during October? Wondering if this area would be a viable place to try to find greater numbers/concentrations during the General season?? What other advice can you give?? I am a non-resident and would like to get an idea of other areas in this unit that I should consider for this Fall..

A: 

Unfortunately, we do not have much of information on elk locations and/or abundance in specific areas during October.  Most of our elk observations are made during aerial population surveys that are conducted while animals are on winter range.  These observations don't provide alot of specific insight as to where these animals will be during the summer or the fall hunting seasons.  That being said, I can tell you that elk were last surveyed in Unit 10A during the winter of 2011.  The total estimate from this survey was just under 5,800 elk.  This total represented an increase of over 1,200 elk from the previous survey which was completed in 2007.  So elk appear to be doing quite well in the unit as a whole.  Generally speaking, elk in Unit 10A tend to migrate to lower elevations to winter.  Most animals end up on the breaks around Dworshak Reservoir (especially on the north and west side) and elk from the southern and western portion of the unit migrate to the Clearwater River breaks between Orofino and Syringa.  Based on where we see elk in the winter, I would think that the Dent Bridge and Camp Y areas that you asked about would be good places look in October.  You may even want to extend your search the rest of the way up the reservoir in that portion of Unit 10A west of Dworshak.  There should also be good numbers of elk on the east side of the reservoir (between the reservoir and USFS Road 247).  As always, if you hunt an area and are not seeing as many elk or as much elk sign as you think you should, don't be hesitant to move to a new area - they are out there somewhere!  Good luck on your hunt.  If you have additional questions, don't hesitate to contact the Clearwater Region wildlife staff.
answered 4/29/2015

Q: What dimesion is a deer's vision?

I have a question about a deer's vision. I have read articles that state they see 2 dimension and claims that they see 3 dimension, could you possible clear this up for me?

A: 

I took this directly from the Mule Deer Foundation website.  Because the eyes of mule deer are located on the sides of their heads, they can see a 310 degree view around themselves. They have better nighttime vision than humans, but less accurate daytime and color vision. Mule deer can detect slight predator movement up to 600 meters away, but they are not very good at detecting motionless forms.  With eyes in the front of our heads - we see a lot less than a mule deer sees.  A mule deer absorbs light differently than humans. Deer have much better low light vision, but they do not distinguish between colors as well as a human.  A major study by leading researchers and scientist at the University of Georgia concluded the following: (http://www.texashuntworks.com/resources/articles/255-how-deer-see-you.html) Deer lack the cone that is responsible for red color (long wave lengths). Therefore, it is safe to say that wearing such colors as Red and Orange do not affect a hunters ability to remain hidden from a deer's vision. This does not mean that deer don’t see these colors, they are just perceived differently. A deer’s vision is limited to short blue and middle green wave lengths. “This means that deer can distinguish blue from red, but not green from red or orange from red”. According to this data, it is safe to say that blue colors are the worst to wear for camouflage and that green, red and orange are safe to wear from a camouflage stand point. This study also found that deer are capable of seeing UV dyes and brighteners within fabrics. This study was unable to determine how bright these colors appear to the deer. Keep in mind that the UV factor will only be of concern during low light hours. Unfortunately, this is when deer are most active.
answered 4/29/2015

Q: Land Owner Tag

I was given a Land Owner tag for a bull elk last year. Can I apply for a bull elk controlled hunt this year, not a Land Owner but a regular controlled bull elk tag?

A: 

Yes you can apply. Application rules state that if you draw an antlered hunt in the first application period you cannot apply for an antlered hunt in the first application period the next year. You were designated the landowner tag and did not draw the tag. Therefore you are eligible to submit an application for an antlered hunt this year. 
answered 4/29/2015

Q: Bats.

A dead Bat body fell from a silk flower arrangement that I had just gotten out of storage. Should I throw the arrangement away versus trying to clean it up?

A: 

The bat was likely roosting in your storage unit and got trapped and died. There is no need to throw away your arrangement. You can dispose of the bat carcass and clean up the flower arrangement. Be sure to wash your hands if you handled the bat carcass. If in the future, you encounter a live bat, do not handle the bat with bare hands. Please see the following Web sites for advice on what to do if you find a bat: www.batcon.org and www.batworld.org Thank you, Rita Dixon    
answered 4/28/2015

Q: Backyard Racoon

We evidently have a racoon that visits our backyard near Overland and 5 Mile in Boise. It appears that we might have a racoon "latrine" in the middle of our phlox bed. How do we trap and relocate this critter? We appreciate your help.

A: 

Raccoons have become common in towns and cities around Treasure Valley.  Part of the draw for raccoons to use these urban areas is that, other than cars and the occasional aggressive dog, there is very little threat to raccoons.  Further, the raccoons find ample food in yards where people feed their pets outside and from garbage cans and bins.  We always encourage people to keep a "clean yard".  For example to keep a clean yard don't leave pet bowls full of food outside and if you have a deck that an animal can find shelter under then put a tight woven fence or screen around the bottom.  Otherwise even if you remove a raccoon from the area more will show up. Now let’s get to the main point of your question.  You basically have two options to trap the raccoon.  Get a live trap and catch the raccoon yourself or hire someone who specializes in catching nuisance wildlife.  If you do it yourself you need to either purchase a trapping license or get a permit to remove a nuisance animal.  You also need to be aware that you cannot release the raccoon on public land.  You can humanely euthanize the raccoon or if you have written permission from a private landowner you can release it on their property.  For more specific information on the types of traps available, rules and laws, or other questions please contact the IDFG Southwest Regional Office (465-8465). Thanks. 
answered 4/26/2015

Q: If drawn for anterless elk controlled hunt tag in 2014 can I apply in 2015?

If drawn for anterless elk controlled hunt tag in 2014 can I apply in 2015?

A: 

Yes. The restrictions are:      If you draw an antlered elk in the first drawing, you must wait one year before applying for an antlered elk hunt in the first drawing. For example if you drew an antlered elk in 2014 in the first drawing, you would have to wait until 2016 to submit an application for an antlered elk in the first drawing. You may apply for an antlered elk in the second drawing in 2015.  
answered 4/26/2015

Q: Crawfish in Idaho

Does the Fish & Game have any information on crawfish populations in Idaho? Where are the most crawfish located? I live in the treasure valley and am looking for somewhere close to set traps. Thanks!

A: 

Even though crawfish are a "game fish" in Idaho, the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game does not track population numbers or trends for crawfish.  With that said, we are unaware of any populations of crawfish being over-exploited in Idaho. There are many areas where you can set traps for crayfish in the Boise area.  Let's start with the Boise River in-town.  The Boise River has a robust population of crawfish that can be seen just by rolling rocks in side channels.  Find some deep water at the river's edge and soak a couple of traps overnight.  Lucky Peak Reservoir is also a good place to find crawfish near Boise.  If you don't mind traveling a little further, C.J. Strike and Brownlee reservoirs also have healthy populations. Remember, with a valid Idaho fishing license, you can have a maximum of 5 traps.  Traps can not be more than 2 feet in any direction and can't exceed 8 cubic feet.  They must have a tag or identifying information that includes name, address, telephone number or fishing license number.  They must also be checked, at minimum, every 48 hours.  
answered 4/26/2015

Q: Shooting doves on ur own property

There are many doves on my land and they are eating all the seeds in my garden. I live on a farm and they crap everywhere. Is it legal for me to shoot them with a pellet rifle to dial down the numbers. I have a current license and everything I need. I just would like to dial back the number of doves.

A: 

The answer to your question depends largely on what type of doves you have on your place. Mourning Doves enjoy protection as a migratory bird, and take of them is regulated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. If these are the birds causing your issues, the solution is slightly more complicated. if you are dealing with Eurasian Collared Doves or Rock Doves (pigeons) however, they are classified as unprotected wildlife and may be taken at any time, in any numbers, by any legal means (including pellet gun). A quick Google search will help you identify the culprit. If you discover that the offending birds are Mourning Doves give us a call, we'll see what we can do to help you out. Josh Royse Regional Conservation Officer
answered 4/25/2015

Q: KML Shapefile Availability

Hi, I am a student wondering if I could get the roadkill data for a GIS project, as a KML or other form of data. Thank you very much, ~Timarie

A: 

Yes.  All the road kill data is available on our road kill site at https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/species/roadkill/list The data is available as a CSV (comma separated values) for download on that page.
answered 4/23/2015

Q: Why does this fin look like this?

From Twitter @IdahoPursuit @idfg any idea why this fish's fins look like this? pic.twitter.com/KsRCf74K3J— Kevin Jones (@IdahoPursuit) April 18, 2015

A: 

Looks to me like this is most likely a Largescale Sucker – one of Idaho’s native species of Catostomidae (sucker family!). The small white bumps on this fish are breeding tubercules, which are common on suckers (and many minnow species) during the spawning season. According to Dr. Peter Moyle’s excellent book, Fish: An Enthusiasts Guide, breeding tubercules “function much like antlers on a deer – for defense, real and ritualized, and for attracting females.” -Martin Koenig
answered 4/22/2015

Q: What is the forecast and fishing regulations for 2015 when fishing the Clearwater?

I have been unable to find information for 2015 Salmon fishing on the Clearwater? Any news would be helpful

A: 

The rules that were approved by the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game Commission:  Clearwater River Basin - Daily Limit: 4 fish only 1 of which may be an adult except in the South Fork Clearwater River where 2 adults can be harvested.  Fishing will occur 7 days a week.  No river section closures, except the Big Eddy Hole will be closed to boat fishing.  This area will be marked by signs on the upstream and downstream borders. At the present time fisheries staff are projecting 14,073 hatchery-produced Chinook will cross Lower Granite Dam and head for the Clearwater drainage. When you subtract the Tribal share and hatchery broodstock needs - that will leave roughly 4,500 fish for licensed anglers.      
answered 4/1/2015