Stringer of unlawfully caught bass from Lake Lowell.
During the spring of 2013, the bass fishing on Lake Lowell was tremendous, and with an increase in angler numbers and fishing success, Senior Conservation Officer Craig Mickelson observed and documented multiple violations. Regardless of several signs explaining the fishing regulations, and the multiple officers assisting with patrol, violations continued through the spring fishing. It is important to note that Lake Lowell is managed as a "special rules water" to preserve the trophy fishery. The regulations prohibit the harvest of any bass between January 1 and June 30 of each year. The remainder of the year anglers can harvest two fish that are either under 12 inches in length or over 16 inches in length.
Spring of 2014 started the same as 2013. Fishing was again fantastic, with reports of 5 pound fish caught from the shore and boat anglers experiencing high catch rates and large fish. But, the violations continued. It became clear that we needed to do more, so we implemented a plan using public outreach and multiple investigative techniques. Federal, state, and local county law enforcement assisted and calls to Citizen’s Against Poaching increased as public outreach escalated. The plan was initiated on April 15, 2014 and ended on June 30, 2014.
Through these efforts Idaho Fish and Game checked over 500 anglers resulting in 63 violations detected and documented by citation or warning. Violations ranged from fishing without a license, possess or transport bass during a closed season, possession of one fish over the limit, and using two-poles without a permit.
Measuring unlawfully taken bass.
Once case of particular note occurred while officers were on boat patrol and they checked a boat that had ten largemouth bass in two live wells. The bass in one live well had culling tags on them, indicating the likelihood of an unpermitted illegal tournament in progress. The two anglers were assessed a $300 fine each.
Over the past six weeks officers have continued their efforts with patrols and public outreach. With the bass season now open for harvest, officers have issued 6 citations for unlawful sized fish and multiple license violations. To address these continued violations staff are working on a business card sized Lake Lowell regulation synopsis that can be provided to anglers on Lake Lowell.
Keep in mind it is the responsibility for all anglers and hunters to know the regulations for the body of water, or area, they are fishing or hunting. So grab some regulations from your local sporting goods store, read all signs at your chosen destination and go enjoy Idaho’s great outdoors!
The success of our wildlife law enforcement program is directly related to the willingness of the public to report violations. We need to protect our fishing heritage. Show your commitment to our wildlife resources, report wildlife violators and be a champion for lawful and ethical hunting behavior.
The vast majority of wildlife crimes go undetected. Make a difference; make the call to Citizen’s Against Poaching at 1-800-632-5999.
Idaho is a member of the Wildlife Violator Compact, which means that if an individual’s hunting, fishing or trapping license is revoked by any of the 42 member states; all the remaining states will revoke the same license or privilege for the same time period. Anyone with information about a wildlife violation are encouraged to “Make the Call” and contact the Citizens Against Poaching (CAP) hotline at 1-800-632-5999. Callers may remain anonymous, and they may be eligible for a reward.
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