Recent Blogs

Tracking Lochsa River Steelhead

New Juvenile Fish Trap in the Lochsa!

We thought folks might be interested in why we have this new piece of equipment floating in the Lochsa at Lowell. The Lochsa River is a potential stronghold for wild steelhead in Idaho, though we have much to learn about this population.

Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) is working to better understand Lochsa River wild steelhead in order to protect and increase the population of this valuable species. The Lochsa River trap will be operated annually, from February to November (as water levels allow), and will be removed and stored offsite during the winter.

Juvenile rotary screw traps are important tools for fisheries managers to capture juvenile steelhead and other fishes. The traps capture juvenile steelhead leaving their natal streams on their journey to the ocean (outmigration). Fish enter the cone of the trap on the upstream side and are held in the live well on the downstream side of the trap. Traps are checked daily and biological data is collected on individual fish before releasing them to continue their migration to the Pacific Oceanjuvenile steelhead

PIT-Tags are widely used to monitor the survival, abundance, and life history of fish populations. PIT-tags are inserted into many of the juvenile steelhead captured which allows us to track individual fishes movements downstream through the dams and back upstream as adults.

IDFG operates the Lochsa River screw trap to collect information on how many wild steelhead are leaving the Lochsa River, when they are leaving, how old they are, and how well they survive on their way to the ocean. These data are extremely useful in providing agencies the information needed to protect and perpetuate this valuable resource. - Brian Knoth, Clearwater Region Fisheries Biologist

 

Screw trap on the Lochsa River for trapping juvenile steelhead

Noxious weeds: a serious habitat threat

I've heard a lot about pesky weeds in Idaho over the years. However, I was surprised to read the statistics in a recent Post Register article picked up by the Spokesman-Review.

Many of Idaho's wildlife management plans have sections dedicated to weeds as a habitat threat. I know that I'll be looking for additional information so that I'm personally not inadvertently spreading noxious weeds. I'll start with Idaho Department of Agriculture's Noxious Weed Program.

Possible Plague found in Canyon County rodents

Initial testing of dead voles (commonly called meadow mice) found in an area near Highway 19 immediately west of Caldwell indicates possible plague. The mortality event appears to be localized and not widespread; however Idaho public health officials and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are urging people to take precautions and report groups of dead rodents.

Read the full news release at the Department of Health and Welfare blog.

 

If you see multiple dead rodents, please fill out a report:

 

 

 

Kaden's Youth Turkey Hunt

A first hunt is a memorable experience for everyone involved. This spring, 11-year-old Kaden Davis’s drew a turkey tag and his first hunt was captured on video by C.C. Films. Jay Stark and Christopher Collins, two Idaho Fish and Game Hunter Education Instructors, hosted Kaden and his dad Toby, along with Kaden’s P.E. teacher.

Chinook Fishing Results - May 24, 2015

IDFG Chinook salmon  Harvest and Effort Report for May 18 to May 24, 2015.

   
                 

Clearwater River drainage

Chinook Salmon Kept

Angler Hours

Hours per fish kept

Unclipped Adults released

Comments

Adults

Jacks

Total

Railroad Bridge to Cherrylane Bridge

Closed to salmon fishing on May 17

Cherrylane Bridge to Orofino Bridge

648

36

684

5,133

7.5

82

Closed to salmon fishing on May 22

North Fork Clearwater River

586

3

589

2,919

5.0

77

 

Orofino Bridge to Kooskia Bridge

157

10

167

2,489

14.9

37

 

Middle Fork Clearwater River

292

2

294

2,649

9.0

90

 

South Fork Clearwater River

249

0

249

3,207

12.9

16

 

Lochsa River

0

0

0

33

NA

0

 

Clearwater River drainage weekly total

1,932

51

1,983

16,430

8.3

302

 

Clearwater River drainage SEASON TOTAL

5,164

58

5,222

76,479

14.6

1,130

 

               

 

Salmon River drainage

Chinook Salmon Kept

Angler Hours

Hours per fish kept

Unclipped Adults released

Comments

Adults

Jacks

Total

Rice Creek Bridge to Hammer Creek Boat Ramp

208

25

233

3,664

15.7

39

 

Hammer Creek Boat Ramp to Time Zone Bridge

579

6

585

10,069

17.2

79

 

Time Zone Bridge to Short's Creek

834

15

849

8,834

10.4

44

 

Short's Creek to Vinegar Creek

47

0

47

1,111

23.6

0

 

Little Salmon River--Mouth to lower Pollock bridge

1,085

3

1,088

16,444

15.1

33

 

Little Salmon River--Upstream of lower Pollock bridge

0

0

0

0

NA

0

No catch or effort was observed

Salmon River drainage weekly total

2,753

49

2,802

40,122

14.3

195

 

Salmon River drainage SEASON TOTAL

4,605

59

4,664

67,793

14.5

386

 

                 

Snake River drainage

Chinook Salmon Kept

Angler Hours

Hours per fish kept

Unclipped Adults released

Comments

Adults

Jacks

Total

Hells Canyon Dam tailrace-weekly total

111

10

121

1,844

15.2

23

 

Hells Canyon tailrace SEASON TOTAL

367

14

381

5,737

15.1

85

 

 

Treasure Valley Ground Squirrel Tests Positive for Plague

Ground squirrel deaths near Gowen Field prompt testing for plague bacteria

A ground squirrel (whistle pig) found south of Boise has tested positive for plague. Idaho public health officials and Idaho Fish and Game are asking people to take precautions as outdoor summer activities shift into high gear over the long Memorial Day weekend.

Plague is a bacterial disease of rodents that can cause serious illness to people and pets if not treated quickly. Plague is generally transmitted to humans and animals through the bites of infected fleas. It also can be transmitted by direct contact with infected animals, including rodents, rabbits and pets. Common rodents that can become infected include ground squirrels, rats and mice. Tree squirrels in Idaho are not known to carry plague.

“We have investigated reported mortalities of ground squirrels in the area southeast of Boise (see map below) during May,” State Wildlife Veterinarian Dr. Mark Drew said. “Dogs and cats can be infected with plague through hunting rodents, playing with or consuming their carcasses, or by exposure to their fleas.”

Plague activity can increase in the spring and summer months when rodents are more active. People can be exposed to plague when pets have contact with rodents or fleas outdoors, or bring infected rodents or fleas back into the home. People also can become infected by caring for a sick pet without proper precautions.

People can greatly reduce their risk of becoming infected with plague by taking simple precautions, including avoiding contact with wild rodents, their fleas and rodent carcasses. They should not feed rodents in picnic or campground areas and never handle sick or dead rodents. Health officials recommend:

  • Keep your pets from roaming and hunting ground squirrels or other rodents in the desert south of Boise.
  • Talk to your veterinarian about using an appropriate flea control product on pets as not all products are safe for cats, dogs or children.
  • Clean up areas near your home where rodents can live, such as woodpiles.
  • Sick pets should be examined promptly by a veterinarian, especially if they may have had contact with sick or dead rodents in the desert south of Boise
  • See your doctor about any unexplained illness involving a sudden and severe fever.
  • Put hay, wood, and compost piles as far as possible from your home.
  • Don’t leave pet food and water where rodents or other wild animals can access them.

Symptoms of plague in humans include sudden onset of fever, chills, headache, and weakness. In most cases there is a painful swelling of the lymph node in the groin, armpit or neck areas. Plague symptoms in cats and dogs are fever, lethargy and loss of appetite. There may be a swelling in the lymph node under the jaw. With prompt diagnosis and appropriate antibiotic treatment, the fatality rate in people and pets can be greatly reduced. Physicians who suspect plague should promptly report it to their local public health district.

In Idaho, USDA Wildlife Services tested various species of carnivores between 2005 and 2010 for the presence of antibodies to plague and just 18 animals tested positive, primarily badgers and coyotes. If people find dead ground squirrels they should not touch them, but report the location through the Idaho Department of Fish and Game website.

Since 1940, only five human cases of plague have been reported in Idaho. The last two cases reported in Idaho occurred in 1991 and 1992, with both patients fully recovering.

For more information:

This poster will be posted at the main access points to the affected area.

Map of suspected area where plague may be present in wildlife. Please take precautions when visiting this area.

affected area map

 

Editors: For public health questions, please contact Christine Myron or Tom Shanahan. For questions about the affected area or animal infections, please contact Mike Keckler. State and district health offices are open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday, and will be closed for Memorial Day weekend.

 

Central District Health Department
Christine Myron
Public Information Officer
327-8639

 

Department of Health and Welfare
Tom Shanahan
Public Information Officer
(208) 334-0668

healthandwelfare.idaho.gov

 

Idaho Fish and Game
Mike Keckler
Bureau Chief for Communications
(208) 287-2870

Quick tick removal tips

Ticks are out! As Idahoans flock outside for fishing, camping, or just enjoying nature for the long weekend, its good to know how to deal with them.

Our friends at Idaho Health and Welfare and the Center of Disease Control encourage safe tick removal by following these tick removal instructions.

There's also an oldy but goody article on how to prevent ticks in the first place: 10 tick facts in Idaho in the Idaho Statesman from 2014.