Recent Blogs

Lake Trout Fishing on Payette Lake

The ice went off Payette Lake late last week and locals are trolling the shoreline for lake trout.  No report as to their success but now is the prime time to catch lake trout in shallow water using plugs and spoons that mimic "flashing" fish.  Most anglers will also add a piece of fish flesh to the hook, as well.

Listen to the excitement of catching a first fish

There's something truly magical about catching your first fish. I still vividly remember catching my first fish at the mouth of deep creek near Bonners Ferry more than 30-years ago. Idaho Fish and Game's Fishing Trailers are helping folks find that experience all around the state.

Idaho Fishing TrailerNPR caught up with one fishing trailer event and, well, you just have to listen to the story

 

Interested in having a fishing trailer experience?
Find a fishing trailer event!

Do you have a great fishing story to share?
Tell us at "Fish Talk."

 

 

Projected Chinook Returns - Lower Salmon River

The latest indicators, as of the last week in April 2014, show a projected return of Chinook salmon to Rapid River fish hatchery of somewhere between 11,000 and 17,000 adults.  Passive Induced Transponder (PIT) tags detectors at Bonneville Dam continue to show strong numbers of salmon passing through the ladder with embedded tags that were placed in the fish before they left Rapid River Hatchery on their migration to the ocean.

Fish currently passing over the dams should arrive in Idaho within the next 30 - 45 days, depending on flow conditions at the Columbia and Snake River dams.

Schedule your time-off and break-out your salmon fishing gear!

Bridge repair near C.J. Strike Reservoir

Here's some information that sportsmen interested in C.J. Strike Dam should know. The bridge below the dam is going to be closed for rennovations through July 31, 2014. Please consider alternate routes.

C.J. Strike Dam is a popular location for fishing and this closed bridge is near several popular Fish and Game access points. This location is along the Snake River upstream from Grandview, Idaho. 

Learn more about the closure in this Mountain Home News article about the closure and from Idaho Power.

The wooden bridge near CJ Strike Dam. Photo from Flickr, Don Burr by CC Attribution
 

Serving Idaho Since 1899

In April 1899, just four months after the “Flagrant Violation” headline, the Idaho legislature passed new game laws and on May 5, 1899, the Department of Fish and Game was established as Governor Frank Steunenberg appointed Charles H. Arbuckle to the Office of State Game Warden; the first to accept the opportunity and challenge to lead the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. 
 
Arbuckle states in his 1900 report:

“Prior to the creation of this department, various laws for the protection of game and fish have been upon our statute books. They were framed with the best intent, but all have been practically inoperative because no person felt fully authorized to enforce them.  To secure a conviction of anyone guilty of an infringement of our game laws, one must become an informer, and this in itself is not pleasant duty.  Further, public sentiment seemed largely against the punishment of offenders, and convictions were almost impossible even for the most flagrant violations.  Since assuming the duties of this office, it has been my earnest endeavor to suppress such violations of our laws wherever discovered, and I am glad to say that in many cases the State has been successful.”

The first arrest made under the new game laws was on June 20, 1899 in Rathdrum, Idaho.

Charles H. Arbuckle was an Idaho House Representative at the time of his appointment to State Game Warden and went on to be Chief of Detectives for Boise Police and a U.S. Marshall.  He was very insightful as Warden, with many recommendations in 1900 as existing programs still in effect today:

  • He increased appropriation of funds from $300 per year “…to render the service of this department more effective.”
  • He recommended the enactment of a license system.  “…A just law, requiring those who desire to hunt or to fish in this State, to pay for the privilege of doing so, will not only tend to protect our fast diminishing game, but will also, from the receipt of such license fees, place this office upon a practically self-sustaining basis…”
  • He strongly favored the restriction of fish taken by an individual to a “reasonable number of pounds per day”.
  • He recognized the serious loss of fish in irrigating canals and ditches and requested legislation for prevention.
  • He made a request for a U.S. Government fish hatchery be built in Idaho as there were no state hatcheries.   He made a request  to abolish spring shooting; “…a practice which is destructive almost beyond belief, and is rapidly driving our wild fowl from the State”.
  • He made a request to protect song birds; “no law has ever been enacted in Idaho for the preservation of song and insectivorous birds, nor for the protection of the nests and eggs of any variety of birds.  Our feathered songsters should be given full protection by the law”.

Arbuckle would serve as State Game Warden for only one term but the impact he made is still felt today. In his 1917 Biennial Report, State Game Warden LeRoy C. Jones said it best.

“It can therefore be readily seen that when Warden Arbuckle assumed his duties he had a task cut out that required not a little diplomacy and firmness. To the first fish and game warden of the state the sportsmen are indebted. He placed the first check on the slaughter of birds and game animals and did the pioneer work in laying the foundation on which the department could grow to its present proportions.”

The position and title of State Game Warden was abolished with the passage of the 1938 Initiative and the Office of Director was created, The Director is appointed by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission and not the Governor as was the practice from 1899 to 1938.

Over the past 115 years, 29 men have accepted the opportunity and challenge to lead the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, each one committed to preserving, protecting, perpetuating and managing Idaho’s natural resources; each committed to serving Idaho.

 

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Hayden Lake Crappie Fishing

First Crappie, April 2014, Hayden Lake - So far this has been by far the best crappie season we've seen in several years. With more normal spring weather, gradual warming, and minimal cold snaps that tend to turn off early season crappies. Last weekend my wife and I caught over 100 fish ranging from 8 - 12". Only two however were keepers over 10". Fished 1" tube skirt on 1/16 oz jig head, 2 - 3' below a spring style balsa float, and tipped with Crappie Nibbles (the nibbles definitely seemed to produce more fish). We fished several different jig colors, but didn't seem to matter. Green or white are still my favorites (wife prefers pink or purple). 

Bass Fishing near Melba

Snake River near Melba. Caught and released over 20 "keeper" Bass on Friday, April 18, 2014. Kept 3 of the bigger ones for the fryer. All on the fly rod. Using a brown cone head Woolly Bugger . - Mike

Mike's bass April 2014 from Snake River near Melba, Idaho

A Birthday Turkey Hunt

I found out on my 12th birthday this year I had drawn a youth turkey hunt. On Thursday, April 10th, after I got out of school, my dad and I drove to the South Hills to look for Toms. For the next couple of hours we searched. We did not hear anything, but we saw one Hen. I encouraged my dad to keep driving and looking. He called from his diaphragm and still no sound. We kept on driving and there was this tree in the way so we turned around the other way and we found another tree down. My dad said we should get out and walk. As we started walking we heard him gobble about 100 yards from us. We hurried and ran back to our truck. I grabbed my gun and we put our camo face masks on. We walked down slowly and he was gobbling the whole way. I finally got a place to sit down and get ready to shoot. I eventually got to see him and he was followed by seven Jakes. I was so excited I could barely think straight.  He walked to the decoys and did not even see us. I pulled my lever back and shot him. He was a trophy bird and was very good looking. I had such a great experience and would love to hunt turkeys again. - Kyleigh from the Magic Valley

Ryleigh's Youth Turkey Hunt in the Magic Valley

Upper Salmon River Weekend Summary 4/20/14

This weekend on the upper Salmon River the majority of anglers were once again found upstream of Basin Creek, in location code 19. Few anglers were found downstream in location codes 17 and 18. Interviewed anglers in location code 17 averaged 16 hours per steelhead caught and 32 hours per steelhead kept. In location code 18, interviewed anglers did not report catching any steelhead. Upstream of the East Fork, in location code 19, interviewed anglers averaged 16 hours per steelhead caught and 26 hours per steelhead kept. Click here for more details.

River conditions upstream of Basin Creek remained good over the weekend, but river conditions downstream were poor due to increased turbidity and rising water levels. Water temperatures continued to stay in the mid-40s.  - Brent Beller, Fisheries Technician