Draft Fisheries Management Plan 2019-2024 Comment Opportunity

Overview

Idaho Fish and Game is collecting public input on the newly updated draft of the Fisheries Management Plan. This planning document describes the policy direction for the state’s fisheries program for the next six years from 2019 to 2024. The document outlines fisheries management program priorities as well as sport fishing and conservation goals across the state.

The Department is asking for public comment on draft proposed changes to the 2019-2024 Fisheries Management Plan. The final proposed changes will be presented for the Commission's approval at the November meeting.

Fisheries Management Plan Overview

The plan is divided into two parts:

1. Part one of this plan provides an overview of the Department’s fisheries programs, goals, objectives, and desired outcomes.

Department policies and fisheries management programs are described. Results of the 2017 Angler Opinion Survey are summarized, statewide issues and programs are discussed, and strategies are identified to attain the goals.

2. Part two of this plan is organized by major drainages within the state.

A narrative overview describes the location, gives pertinent statistics on use, land management activities, demographics, and describes the habitat and important fisheries in each drainage. Also included is the most recent information on fisheries management issues, challenges and opportunities, and general objectives for each major water body in the state. Objectives for smaller water bodies (e.g. alpine lakes, community ponds) are typically described at a programmatic level for each drainage. This section is intentionally broad and focused on fishery or conservation outcomes rather than specific angling regulations, and is intended to be adaptive to respond to changing biological, temporal, and social climates.

draft-fmp-2019-2024

DOWNLOAD DRAFT PLAN

[PDF 8.9 MB, 406 pages]

Public Comment Instructions

We welcome comments for any part or all of the fisheries management plan. This feedback form is divided into sections related to significant changes from the 2013-2018 fisheries management plan. There are more changes than outlined here, which you may address in "general comments."

The categories of significant changes presented to the Idaho Fish and Game Commission on July 26, 2018 are:

Referrals to specific line numbers, as they appear in the left margin of the draft, are very helpful.

Thank you for your participation!

Public comment period closes at end of day on October 7, 2018
Comments by Significant Changes
Statewide Programmatic Changes
  • Rules - Remove language that identifies specific fishing rules in the draft Fisheries Management Plan and focus on describing intended management outcomes with reference to rules as an option to achieve those outcomes when needed.
  • Fish Habitat Program – New section guiding the prioritization, development and implementation of habitat restoration projects.
  • Access – Include section describing the challenges of managing camping under our Fishing/Boating Access program. The Plan will set the expectation to develop strategies for managing camping during this next plan cycle.
  • Hatchery Sturgeon – the sturgeon section has been updated to reflect the increased role of stocking sturgeon in the Snake River from Swan Falls to Idaho Falls. This follows the implementation of Idaho Power’s recently published Conservation Aquaculture Plan and Sturgeon Genetics Management Plan.
Resident Fish Hatcheries
  • Production Increases – Describe production increases being implemented as a result of fee increase (revenue) to restore production lost during previous fiscal challenges.
  • Bigger Trout – Identify the larger role of 'magnum' stocking in the resident hatchery program – a shift towards higher production of larger 12” average size (instead of 10”).
  • Infrastructure Repair – Continue to invest funds to renovate aging hatchery infrastructure at resident hatchery facilities.
Anadromous Fisheries Management
  • Escapement Goals – Establish wild and hatchery salmon and steelhead escapement goals
  • Fall Chinook Salmon – Work with our partners to pursue harvest opportunities on unmarked hatchery and natural origin fall Chinook Salmon.
  • Fall Chinook Salmon – Move 1 million fall Chinook smolts from the Snake River to the lower Salmon River (below Riggins) to increase fishery opportunity and further conservation goals.
  • Yankeee Fork / Panther Creek – Work with Shoshone-Bannock Tribe to implement new hatchery operations in the Yankee Fork and Panther Creek associated with Crystal Springs Hatchery, resulting in up to 1.0 Million additional Chinook Salmon smolts released
Panhandle Region
  • Kootenai Sturgeon – Work with USFWS and Kootenai Tribe to assess potential to restore fishing opportunity for white sturgeon in the Kootenai River.
  • Walleye, Lake Pend Oreille – Increase research and monitoring for Walleye in Lake Pend Oreille and adjacent waters.
    • Research will study the feasibility of suppressing Walleye abundance to protect the kokanee and trout fishery.
    • If feasible, IDFG will implement suppression measures if needed.
  • Clark Fork River access – Emphasize fishing and boating access development to improve on limited access to the Clark Fork River to increased fishing opportunity.
  • Priest Lake / Upper Priest Lake – Maintain the existing management direction for Priest and Upper Priest lakes. This is based on results of the multi-year public process completed during the previous planning period.
    • Priest Lake – manage as a high yield lake trout fishery.
    • Upper Priest Lake – manage for native species conservation and fishing opportunity.
  • Hayden Lake kokanee – Change kokanee stocking in Hayden Lake from an experimental program to a routine program. Evaluate stocking density to provide a quality kokanee fishery. Discontinue stocking of rainbow trout in Hayden Lake.
Clearwater Region
  • Steelhead Regulations – Convene a tri-state (ID, OR, and WA) working group to help develop regulation proposals for steelhead and fall Chinook Salmon in the Snake and Clearwater rivers.
  • Pursue flow augmentation to improve steelhead rearing habitat.
Southwest Region
  • Payette Lake – Manage Lake Trout for general fishing instead of trophy fishing, while working to improve the kokanee population. Reduce the Lake Trout population via anglers and netting as part of the efforts to improve kokanee numbers.
  • Investigate potential/public support for establishing tiger muskie in Lake Lowell and Black Canyon Reservoir.
Magic Valley Region
  • Evaluate the potential to establish a crappie fishery in Lake Walcott. If feasible, transplant crappie to start a self-sustaining population to produce a panfish harvest fishery. (Coordinated with American Falls Reservoir).
Southeast Region
  • Evaluate the potential to establish crappie fishery in American Falls Reservoir. If feasible, transplant crappie to start a self-sustaining population to produce a panfish harvest fishery.
  • Improve fish habitat in the Blackfoot River drainage to increase Yellowstone Cutthroat populations.
    • Initiate large-scale habitat restoration project on Blackfoot WMA section to increase the Yellowstone Cutthroat population.
    • Initiate cooperative agreements with the Bear Lake Grazing Company to exchange WMA grazing for tributary restoration work.
Upper Snake Region
  • Implement management actions on Island Park Reservoir to limit avian predation concerns (on the trout fishery). After 2020, evaluate cost/benefits of that program.
  • Begin a research project on Henry’s Lake to study factors affecting growth and survival of trout and the impacts of the Utah chubs.
Salmon Region
  • Undertake extensive habitat restoration in the NF Salmon River to increase spawning and rearing habitat for Chinook Salmon and steelhead.
  • Increase monitoring of resident trout populations and promote resident trout fishing in the Upper Salmon River.
  • Implement the long-term Stanley Lake Management Plan that maintains Lake Trout fishing options using sterile fish, while reducing risk to other species.
General Comments

For comments that do not address the "Significant Changes" sections outlined above, please leave those here.

It would be very helpful to us to identify the line number(s) to which your comment(s) are directed. The line numbers are found on the left margin throughout the document.

Thank you for your consideration of the draft Fisheries Management Plan!

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