Why are the boating boundries at Lake Walcott becoming smaller, who decides that all of a sudden the the boundries that have been in place for many years are now going to change?

Question:

Provide as many specifics as you can to help better answer your question. Please omit personal information in this area.

Answer:

To whom it may concern,

First, thanks for taking the time to contact us with your question.  This is a common question we receive each year.  Anglers assume the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has jurisdiction over the boating boundaries (aka buoy line) because in most cases it functions to restrict fishing access on Lake Walcott since much of the boat traffic is made up of anglers.

However, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) does not have jurisdiction over boat access on the Minidoka Wildlife Refuge.  That boundary is determined, maintained, and enforced by Minidoka Wildlife Refuge staff.  In addition, the IDFG does not have any fishing rules restricting boat access in the current fishing rules.

It is our understanding the boundary is set based on set coordinates and there should not be any deliberate modification of the boundary.  We have heard in years past that some buoys that mark the boundary get moved either by boaters or naturally during severe weather conditions.  Modifications you've noticed may not have been deliberate and we're sure the Refuge Manager would appreciate knowing if something is wrong.

If you wish to contact the Minidoka Wildlife Refuge to learn more about the boundary, you can find their website online (http://www.fws.gov/refuge/minidoka) or contact them via telephone at (208) 436-3589.  The current Refuge Manager is Jeffery Krueger.

A side note to consider is that the Minidoka Wildlife Refuge will be crafting a long-term management plan in the near future.  There is a public process involved where the Refuge seeks public comments on current management and accepts feedback regarding changes you'd like them to consider.  You can learn more by contacting the Refuge directly by phone and never underestimate the power of your opinions.

We hope this helps answer your question and we're glad you're taking advantage of the great fishing over the past few years.  Please contact the Magic Valley Region Fishery Manager directly (208-324-4359) if you'd like to learn more about the fishery and IDFG's fishery mangement goals.