Recent Articles: Southeast

Bigger Fish and Better Angler Success

As Fish and Game stocks rainbow trout this spring, they are doing something different that will lead to better success for Idaho anglers. A good share of the hatchery rainbow trout stocked in Idaho’s largest still-water fisheries this spring will be twelve inches instead of the standard of ten inches. Watch this video to learn why this is happening.

Fish and Game’s rainbow trout hatchery program exists for one sole purpose: putting fish in Idaho waters for anglers to catch. But during the last ten years, the cost of raising fish has skyrocketed. While the cost of fish food has increased by more than 150 percent, funding for the hatchery program has remained stagnant. In 2011, managers reduced fish production of put-and-take rainbow trout by 18 percent to keep the program within budget. At the same time they started tracking fish that anglers caught as part of a program called “Tag-You’re-It”.

Fisheries researchers tagged thousands of fish over a four year period, and tracked the tags with the help from anglers.

“We tagged a bunch of fish and put those fish out there, and essentially let the anglers do the work in returning that information to us through our hotline and our website,” said Senior Fisheries Research Biologist John Cassinelli. “So that has given us this large database.”

That database showed that twelve inch rainbow trout are more likely to be caught than ten inch trout. This knowledge has allowed researchers to reorganize the hatchery rainbow trout program in a way that puts larger trout in the creels of Idaho anglers without increasing the cost of the hatchery program.

The science and math show that for every limit of six rainbow trout anglers catch, Fish and Game must stock roughly 18 ten inch trout.  When 12 inch trout are stocked in the same waters, only 11 fish are needed for each six fish limit, on average.

Regardless of how many trout managers stock, the true measure of success for the hatchery program is how many trout anglers catch. As the program expands over the next 16 months, managers will be putting more twelve inch rainbows into most of Idaho’s large still-water fisheries. 

Check out the fish stocking page for monthly updates on fish stocking region by region.

 

 

Pocatello Wellness Pond - A New Fishing Hole/Recreational Area Opening September 2015

Pocatello will receive a new urban fishing water this coming fall with the opening of the Portneuf Wellness Complex. The 7-acre pond will be stocked with fish and ready for anglers when the park opens to the public.

Last week, our staff were busy placing docks and working on other access improvements.

To see more of this exciting project, go to Facebook and search "Portneuf Wellness Complex. This will be a jewel for all Southeastern Idaho.

Castle Rocks State Park Fishing Pond - Coming the Spring of 2015

Ground breaking for the Castle Rocks Park fishing pond.

Idaho Parks and Recreation along with Idaho Department of Fish and Game are teaming-up to bring you one of the most scenic fishing ponds in Idaho.  Ground was recently broken in the park for a fishing pond that will be stocked with rainbow trout by the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game.

 

Wallace Keck, Park Superintendent and Doug Megargle Regional Fish Manager are collaborating on the project as a way to provide better customer service for anglers visiting the park and living near the town of Almo.  This will also allow the Fish and Game to stock fish in an area where they are more likely to be harvested by anglers.  It will also help to protect Yellowstone cutthroat trout found in Almo Creek by providing more angler opportunities in the pond.

2015 Spring & Summer Chinook Salmon Return Estimates

Get your salmon fishing pole tuned-up and your boat ready to hit the water. Biologists have made their preseason forecasts for the 2015 Chinook salmon returns to Idaho.

Early indications show more adult Chinook salmon returning in 2015 than we saw in 2014 - which ranks as one of the best Chinook fishing seasons in years.

Open Houses for 2015 Proposals for Moose, Bighorn Sheep, and Mountain Goat

Idaho Fish and Game is proposing changes for the 2015 Moose, Bighorn Sheep, and Mountain Goat seasons and will be holding open houses in several locations throughout the state.

Please join us at your convenience at any open house and give us your thoughts on the proposals.

See the list below for times and locations in your area.

 This table will update as events become available.

Date and TimeLocation
December 15, 2014
8:00 am to
6:00 pm
Clearwater Regional Fish and Game Office
3316 16th St.
Lewiston, ID 83501
December 18, 2014
Noon to
7:00 pm
Magic Valley Regional Fish and Game Office
324 South 417 East - Suite 1
Jerome, ID 83338
December 18, 2014
3:00 pm to
6:00 pm
Panhandle Regional Fish and Game Office
2885 W. Kathleen Ave.
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83815
December 29, 2014
8:00 am to
5:00 pm
Southeast Regional Fish and Game Office
1345 Barton Road
Pocatello, ID 83204

Through
January 5, 2015

 

Southwest Regional Fish and Game Office

Questions are encouraged over the phone:
  • In Nampa: 208-465-8465
    • ask for Craig White or Jake Powell
  • In McCall: 208-634-8137
    • ask for Regan Berkley or Nathan Borg

Drop-ins encouraged. Please make an appointment.

Through
January 5, 2015

Salmon Regional Fish and Game Office

Questions are encouraged over the phone:
  • In Salmon: 208-756-2271
    • ask for Greg Painter

Drop-ins encouraged. Please make an appointment.

Event locations last updated: 12/12/2014 11:29pm MT

The Upper Snake Region will not be holding an open house.

 

You can also review the proposals and make comments online.

Nationwide, Fishing Continues to Gain New Followers

Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) Releases Special Report on Fishing

Report Reveals Nationwide Increased Participation among Women Youth Hispanics

The lure of recreational fishing remains strong, according to the 2014 Special Report on Fishing, recently released by RBFF and the Outdoor Foundation. According to the report, there were 4.1 million newcomers to fishing in 2013, an increase from the 3.5 million average new anglers per year between 2007 and 2012. Additionally, women, children and Hispanics showed increases in participation.

"We're happy to see new, diverse and young audiences take up fishing at historic rates," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "These numbers reinforce our initiatives to engage and retain first-time and Hispanic anglers, and validate our overall efforts to increase fishing license and boat registration sales, which contribute to state fish and wildlife conservation efforts."

"Fishing and boating represent two critical outdoor activities that are key to keeping Americans involved in the outdoors,” said Christine Fanning, Executive Director of the Outdoor Foundation. “We’re thrilled to partner, once again, with the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation on this important research project."

The sixth annual report details fishing participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geography.

TOP 10 REPORT LEARNINGS:

Women anglers – Almost 42% of first-time fishing participants are female
Number of outings for Hispanic participants – Hispanic fishing participants average 24.4 days on the water per year; almost five days more than the average for all fishing participants (19.7 days)
Youth – Fishing participation as a child has a powerful effect on future participation - 83.7% of adult anglers fished as a child
Influencers – Parents, siblings and friends continue to be the largest influencers to the introduction of fishing; specifically, parents introduce 81.8% of 6-12 year olds and 76.6% of 13-17 year olds
Social – Over 83% of fishing trips involve more than one person
Most popular – Freshwater fishing remains the most popular type of fishing (almost 38 million), with more than 3x the number of participants as saltwater fishing
Fly fishing – 14% percent of fly fishing participants were new to the sport
Spontaneous – Most fishing trips are spontaneous or planned within a week of the trip (79%)
Reasons to fish – Catching fish and enjoying the sounds/smells of nature. Over 80% of participants report catching fish during their last fishing trip
License purchase – 27% of fishing participants (of license-buying age) are not buying fishing licenses, which means revenue used for conservation is being left on the table

Sure Sign That Fall is Close

Kokanee Salmon add Color to Idaho Streams

As autumn approaches many outdoor adventurers enjoy watching a natural transformation that changes the look of Idaho’s high country; while the autumn sky is filled with the colors of changing leaves, so are many small Idaho streams filled with the color of spawning kokanee salmon.

Kokanee are a land-locked version of the anadromous sockeye salmon which spend most of their adult lives in the ocean then return to places like the Stanley Basin to spawn.  The domesticated kokanee planted in Idaho reservoirs and lakes originated in Washington state in the 1930’s and 40’s.  They have been successfully introduced into many lakes and reservoirs around Idaho including:  Lake Pend Oreille, Lake Coeur d’Alene, Priest Lake, Dworshak Reservoir, Payette Lake, Warm Lake, Lucky Peak, Arrowrock Reservoir, Anderson Ranch Reservoir,  Deadwood Reservoir, Island Park Reservoir and Ririe Reservoir – just to name a few.

Kokanee can grow to 18 inches but the “typical” Idaho kokanee is 10 to 14 inches long. Many would argue they are the most flavorful freshwater fish found anywhere.

Kokanee spend much of their lives eating plankton and aquatic insects, following food sources in the water column. In spring and early summer they can be found in as little as five feet of water, but as temperatures warm in the summer, kokanee go as deep as 20 to 30 feet. Immature kokanee are silver to blue (hence the north Idaho name “blueback”) with a “football” shaped body. Like their salt water cousins the sockeye, their meat is pink to red and is highly prized for its rich flavor.

Kokanee reach maturity and spawn between the ages of 2 and 4 - depending on how fast they grow. When they prepare to spawn, their colors shift to a vibrant red with a green head. This transformation makes kokanee highly visible in streams and along shorelines – not only to people but to predatory birds.  In north Idaho, large groups of bald eagles congregate to prey on the spawning fish. This provides wildlife watchers multiple opportunities to observe nature in action.

Early spawning Kokanee are visible in Mores Creek, the Middle Fork Boise, South Fork Boise and Deadwood River as early as Labor Day Weekend.  Spawning in north Idaho generally starts a few weeks later, and peaks around Thanksgiving.