Ask Fish & Game

Ask Fish and Game is for general questions.
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Displaying 1 - 75 of 75 questions
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A: We have not stocked bass into Milner Reservoir for quite some time.  We have sampled this fishery over the past few years and have not documented a decrease in fish numbers and fish sizes – but there is the public perception something has recently changed.   We are not discounting your ...
3/15/12
A: The list of game fish (copied below) is found in the Fishing Rules Book.   Game Fish: Brook, brown, bull, cutthroat, golden, lake (Mackinaw), rainbow (including steelhead), splake and Sunapee trout; trout hybrids; Chinook, coho, Atlantic, and kokanee (blueback) salmon; grayling; whitefish; cisco; ...
4/7/12
A: Thanks for the question.  Stocking records can definitely get confusing especially when it comes to the name of the fishery.  Quite often a pond may have multiple informal or local names that do not correlate with our stocking records. We will try to answer your specific questions below: Answer to ...
4/11/12
A: IDFG does in fact have a stocking program in Dierkes Lake.  Rainbow trout between 8-10 inches are stocked primarily in the spring when water temperatures are cool enough to provide suitable stocking conditions.  Additionally, the Departement has intermittently stocked channel catfish.  The ...
6/25/12
A: It depends on the region you are fishing in... In the Panhandle Region, Clearwater Region and Salmon regions, the limit on bass is 6 (smallmouth and largemouth) but there is no length limit specified. In The Southwest, Magic Valley, Upper Snake and Southeast regions, the limit is 6 bass ( ...
7/30/12
A: It's easier if I first list the game fish.  They are all the trout species, all the salmon species, grayling, whitefish, cisco, crappie, perch, bass, all catfish/bullheads, sunfish, sturgeon, northern pike, tiger muskie, walleye, sauger, burbot, bullfrogs, and crayfish.  That essentially leaves ...
8/2/12
A: General rules apply to the water below the Hayden Lake outlet, so snagging, spearing, and netting are not allowed and limits do apply.  It's relatively uncommon to have so much outflow (like we had this year) that large numbers of fish actually leave the lake through the outlet, so we have not ...
8/6/12
A: No.  It is illegal to fish in any waters of Idaho by archery, spearfishing, snagging, hands, and netting except as permitted. Archery and spearfishing is permitted only in the taking of bullfrogs and unprotected nongame fish and only in those waters during the season set for the taking of game ...
10/9/12
A: According to IDPA rules, “you can not use live bait” so, it would be illegal to use live mice as bait.  Dead “pinkies” would probably work just as well for bass.
10/11/12
A: This list includes fish species found to be present in this water during fish surveys. This may not be a complete list of species present in this water. Some species listed here may only be present in small quantities or seasonally. Black Crappie ,  Brown Bullhead ,  Brown Trout ,  Bull Trout ,  ...
10/26/12
A: We wanted to expand our original list of "Family Friendly" fishing waters around the state, but many of the ponds where we wanted to give the special designation are high angler use waters.  Biologically, we felt the bass populations in many urban ponds that we've added to the list, could not ...
11/23/12
A:   No.  When you catch a fish you must either let it go or kill it.  You cannot take it home and keep it in an aquarium.   Holding Live Fish (page 53 of the 2013 Fishing Regulations): No permit is required to keep game fish alive that have legally been reduced to possession, in a live well, net or ...
2/21/13
A: Catfish are game fish so you can not use a bow to harvest them.  IDAPA 13.01.11.004. Gamefish:  Brook, brown, bull, cutthroat, golden, lake, rainbow (including steelhead), splake and Sunapee trout; trout hybrids; Chinook, coho, Atlantic, and kokanee (blueback) salmon; grayling; whitefish; cisco; ...
2/21/13
A:   It is legal to catch them but they must be released or killed:   Game Fish: Brook, brown, bull, cutthroat, golden, lake (Mackinaw), rainbow (including steelhead), splake and Sunapee trout; trout hybrids; Chinook, coho, Atlantic, and kokanee (blueback) salmon; grayling; whitefish; cisco; ...
3/5/13
A: We have ceased stocking catfish in Beachs Pond due to poor tag returns. Low returns indicating low harvest upset the balance in this pond. Un-harvested catfish exerted too much predation pressure on juvenile largemouth bass and bluegill, essentially crashing their populations. To remedy the ...
4/27/13
A: Yes, there are smallmouth bass in Long Tom Reservoir.
5/12/13
A: The catch-and-keep season for bass is open year-around on most waters.  There are, however,  a few exceptions where we are trying to manage for quality or trophy populations of bass. In order for a fish to qualify as a "state record" the fish needs to be weighed on a state certified scale.  These ...
5/14/13
A: The requirement that rainbow trout must have heads and tails attached while in transit is due to the fact that there are some fisheries with length restrictions on harvested fish.  Examples would be lake trout from Payette Lake (none over 30"); So. Fork Snake River brown trout harvest (2 over 16 ...
5/27/13
A: We've removed the minimum length limits from bass in Magic in an attempt to keep them from over-populating and stunting.  Fish rocky shore areas in the spring for best results. The reservoir will be very low in the summer of 2013.  I would fish down by the dam for best results. F08
5/28/13
A: Yes, we do allow the use of game fish for cut bait when fishing for sturgeon. F08
6/3/13
A: Call the Southwest Region office to see if they have recommendations for you.  Their number is 465-8465.    
6/13/13
A: Yes, there are certainly perch in Lake Pend Oreille.  They can be accessed from the shore in many areas.  On the northeast portion of the lake, the Denton Slough area is a good place to fish for them, as would be the Clark Fork Delta around the drift yard.  The area around Hope can be good also, ...
6/19/13
A: Bass in Ririe Reservoir generally do not live much past age 6.  Based on the data we have, a 3 year old bass is about 6 inches in length, a 4 year old is about 8 inches, and a 5 year old bass is about 10 inches.  A small percentage of fish will live past 6, but they are the exception, and not the ...
6/19/13
A: Where the Salmon River flows through the Clearwater and Salmon Region, there is no length limit on bass and you can harvest a maximum of 6 per day.  Where the Salmon River flows through the Southwest Region (mouth of Little Salmon upstream to the mouth of the Middle Fork Salmon River) there is ...
6/20/13
A: Cold coupled with elevation.  Indeed it is cold in the Snake River, but it’s also nearly 1,000 feet lower in elevation (assuming you are referring to the American Falls area, where bass fishing is good).  As such, it has a longer growing season than Ririe does.  There are also springs that dump in ...
6/27/13
A: Depends on where you're planning on fishing.  In north Idaho, the general bag limit on bass is 6 fish of any size.  In the southern  and eastern part of the state, the general bag limit is 6 bass with a minimum size of 12." F08
6/29/13
A: This is a tricky question and open to interpretation by individual enforcement officers.  First, you've acknowledged that it is illegal to keep the smallmouth bass.  If a bass is bleeding from the gills but still alive, if you can remove the hook without doing anymore damage - do so and release ...
7/21/13
A: That information is in the Fishing Rules Book. Each region of the state has a chapter in our Fishing Rules Book.  The first page of every chapter is the information about general bag limits and possession limits of different types of fish as well as the length restrictions, if any, for the fish.  ...
7/24/13
A: Game Fish: Brook, brown, bull, cutthroat, golden, lake (Mackinaw), rainbow (including steelhead), splake and Sunapee trout; trout hybrids; Chinook, coho, Atlantic, and kokanee (blueback) salmon; grayling; whitefish; cisco; crappie; perch; bass; catfish; bullhead; sunfish; sturgeon; northern pike; ...
7/26/13
A: Placing tiger muskie in Carey Lake was discussed many years ago, but it was never done.  Channel catfish were tried instead to control stunted bluegill and bass. The only place in the Magic Valley Region with tiger muskie is Dog Creek Reservoir near Gooding.  They've been stocked in the reservoir ...
7/30/13
A: Mountain lakes are harsh (cold), sterile environments and only a few fish species will survive - and even less, thrive.  Temperatures alone eliminate survival of all warm and coolwater fish such as bass, bluegill, catfish, and crappie. In the high-basins of Idaho, water temperatures remain cold ...
11/25/13
A: The rule that requires heads and tails to remain attached (and that means to the fish fillets). The rule is specific to trout, tiger muskie and bass. The rule insures special size limits, bag limits, and specie identification is easily complied with. Recently this rule was removed from Salmon and ...
12/11/13
A: First, we just launched a new version of our Fishing Planner that allows you to search by distance from your location for any species of fish found in Idaho.  Go to fishandgame.idaho.gov and try it out.  You can find it on the bottom of our webpage and the Fishing Planner is "mobile friendly."   ...
1/1/14
A: Because current rules do not allow you to spear game fish. IDAPA rule 13.01.11.201.01 says,   201.FISHING METHODS AND GEAR. Unless modified by a regional exception, the following fishing methods and restrictions are applicable in all Idaho waters. (3-20-97) 01. Archery and Spear Fishing. Fishing ...
1/23/14
A: No other permit is required.  More information: Spear Fishing in IdahoArchery and Spear Fishing is defined as: Fishing with a bow and arrow, crossbow, spear or mechanical device, excluding firearms. This type of fishing is permitted only in the taking of bullfrogs and unprotected nongame fish and ...
3/17/14
A: Assuming you are interested in using a bow or spear to catch fish; here are the details: Spear Fishing in Idaho You must have an Idaho fishing license if you are 14 or over. Archery and Spear Fishing is defined as: Fishing with a bow and arrow, crossbow, spear or mechanical device, excluding ...
3/18/14
A: The only exception that we can think of is during ice-fishing...you can't double the number of lines you use while ice-fishing.  In other circumstances, as long as you are in control of both poles, there aren't limitations on where you can use two poles.     
4/5/14
A: Below is a summary of the management planning process for Priest Lake.  I believe it answers most of your questions along wtih some others you may have.  if you'd care to discuss Priest Lake management further, please feel free to give me a call at (208) 769-1414. thank you for your interest. Jim ...
4/18/14
A: Water in Beach's Pond is supplied by a well and pump that malfunctioned in 2013.  We are working with a local well driller on solutions and hope to have the pond watered-up and restocked with largemouth bass and bluegill by early this summer.
4/18/14
A: This time of the year, we always receive reports of dead yellow perch on various waters throughout Idaho.  Typically, the mortality is tied to post-spawning stress.  Think of it this way, first-time spawning perch put a tremendous amount of energy and body reserves into producing eggs.  Some of ...
4/19/14
A: Thanks a bunch for the note.  We often are looking so hard for new fishing opportunities that we miss the obvious one's under our nose.  I'll talk with our "crack" web staff and see if we can get it added to our Fishing Planner and Family Fishing Waters.  Next time you go fishing at Williams Pond ...
5/5/14
A: Idaho Code Section  36-1201(c) requires a person to have the proper required license on his person at all times while hunting, fishing, or trapping, and to produce the original license for inspection upon request of a person authorized to enforce fish and game laws. This legal requirement places ...
5/7/14
A: It depends on which Twin Lakes you are referring.  If this is the Twin Lakes in North Idaho, there is no minimum length limit on bass.  If this is the Twin Lakes in the Southeast Region of Idaho, then the minimum length on harvestable bass is 12".   As a "rule-of-thumb" waters north of the Salmon ...
5/20/14
A: As of last week (prior to Memorial Day) water level was down about 10'.  Fishing was spotty with a few perch and rainbow being caught.  I did talk with a bass angler who had some luck on the east side of the reservoir.  Look for rocky points and shoreline. All ramps are usable including Hot ...
5/27/14
A: Condie Reservoir did not drain last year. The reservoir got extremely low in 2012, but some fish survived. We supplemented the bass and bluegill populations in 2013. Catch rates may be lower than normal because these populations are still recovering. 
6/4/14
A: Live bait isn't your best bet for Mann Lake bass; artificial lures are far more productive there. Most of the standard bass lures work well in Mann Lake.  Plastic worms or creature baits, and jigs tipped with a bulky trailer are excellent choices and should be fished right into cover like wood and ...
6/7/14
A: If you go to our webpage (fishandgame.idaho.gov); click on the "Science" tab; "Fisheries" and search for "Swan Falls Reservoir," you will find all our technical information for Swan Falls Reservoir.  Swan Falls Reservoir has both species of bass, bluegill, crappie, pumpkinseed, yellow perch, and ...
6/26/14
A: We are not familiar with Ralf's Pond. Could you provide more information on its location? or by chance, does it have an alternate name? I suspect that it a private pond. Most private ponds in this area possess largemouth bass and bluegill as well as several other warm water species.     
6/28/14
A: Every 3-years, we go to the public and solicit suggestions for changes to our fishing rules - and that process will begin in January 2015.  This will be for new fishing rules that cover the time period of January 1, 2016 through December 30, 2018.  Contact the Regional Fisheries Manager in our ...
7/5/14
A: Bag limits for Lake Coeur d'Alene are: you can keep 6 rainbow trout (no harvest of cutthroat trout); 6 bass - any size; 25 brook trout; 2 fall Chinook that are at least 20" in length; 15 kokanee; and 25 whitefish. These limits are independent of each other, so you could legally have 79 fish in the ...
7/18/14
A: Yes, you can fish using a rod, reel and lure/bait while under water.  I'm not sure what the advantage would be - but it is legal. We often receive questions about the use of spearguns while diving, to harvest fish.  Only nongame fish can be harvested using archery equipment, spears or mechanisms ...
8/27/14
A: In the past, we have attempted to utilize Beach's Pond for bass, bluegill, and channel catfish.  Unfortunately, this did not work well. In small ponds, channel catfish are substantial predators. In this portion of the state, we now avoid stocking channel catfish in nearly all small ponds (less ...
8/30/14
A: No, the quality bass rule only applies to the Lake.  The Lowline Canal is a "general rule" limit of 6 bass with a minimum length of 12" Water will be shut-off to the Lowline Canal in just a few weeks.  There will probably be a salvage order that allows unlimited harvest of game fish, providing you ...
8/30/14
A: American Falls Reservoir has a healthy population of smallmouth bass.  Spring fishing is the best.  Fish rocky shorelines and use plugs, rubber worms or poppers for best results.
10/4/14
A: Changes in land use, new wells for urban development, the need for dam repairs and the drought all have affected the reservoir levels at Indian Creek Reservoir. Indian Creek Reservoir is filled primarily by low elevation snowfall.  Back in the 1980's and early 90's, water used to back up past the ...
10/24/14
A: We don't typically do crayfish surveys, but we can tell you that all indications are, the population is healthy and makes up a significant portion of the diet of adult bass in CDA lake during the summer.  Although we haven't opened CDA lake to the commercial harvest of crayfish, we did have one ...
12/20/14
A: The short answer is, "no." Centain species of game fish, which trout are defined in Idaho rule 13.01.11. , can not have the heads and tails removed while in transit.  You also must be able to show how many fish, the length and species of fish you have in possession while in the field. Idaho ...
1/7/15
A: In 2014, the Idaho Department of Fish & Game was directly involved in the stocking of over 32,000,000 fish!  Fish species stocked include both native and non-native trout/salmon species (Rainbow Trout, Chinook Salmon, Lake Trout, etc.) as well as non-native cool- and warm-water species (like ...
1/12/15
A: The spawning period is typically in mid to late May but can vary ~ two weeks earlier to two weeks later. Many things influence when fish spawn.  Water temperatures, the hydrograph, photoperiod, the availability of proper-sized substrate etc. all play a part.
1/20/15
A: Unfortunately, we will not re-stock Black Canyon Reservoir for at least a couple of more years. It is very likely that the reservoir will be drawdown substantially during at least two more of the coming winters. This is part of a project, led by the Bureau of Reclamation, that will add a thrid ...
4/29/15
A: Unfortunately, this will be another bleak year for Paddock Reservoir. With little to no snowpack remaining in the Paddock drainage and the unusually warm and dry spring; there is no chance of the reservoir filling.  We just hope enough water will remain in the deepest part of the reservoir for a ...
5/5/15
A: Thanks for your question on Lake Lowell!  The "General" bass rules for the Southwest Region do in fact state 6 bass per day, 12-inch minimum. However, Lake Lowell falls under the "special rule waters" which are listed separately (page 23 of the rules book). These waters have their own rules that ...
5/7/15
A: After the pond was lowered, contractors for the City of Boise helped us lower an electrofishing boat into the remaining water.  We then spent a day collecting as many game fish as possible. Captured fish, mostly largemouth bass and bluegill, were then transferred into adjacent ponds.
7/21/15
A: Hello,  Thanks for your question about Pacific Press Pond. The pond is primarily a bass and bluegill pond, but may have other species of sunfish like pumpkinseed. IDFG does do not know if there are any crayfish in the pond. Soft plastic baits like senkos, worms, and creatures fished with a ...
8/11/15
A: Greetings,  When it comes to transporting fish, there are some specific (but often overlooked) rules to keep in mind. Your question is very good, as it addresses a gray area when interpreting the head/tail rule for transporting fish. The intention of the rule is for the fish to remain whole while ...
8/12/15
A: Bass were illegally introduced into Treasureton Reservoir. "Bucket" biologists are a serious problem in Idaho.  They not only effect some our most important fisheries, they endanger native fish in some lake and river systems.  This has a huge impact from a dollars and cents perspective.  Lost ...
9/24/15
A: Greetings, Thanks for asking about the bass rule change. We have been surveying the largemouth bass populations in the region for many years. Most of the largemouth bass fisheries in this region experience overabundance, which leads to stunted, very slow growing populations. Some of the 10-12 inch ...
1/4/16
A: There is absolutely zero truth to that rumor. Over the last couple of years, IDFG has been capturing, tagging, and releaseing channel catfish and largemouth bass at Lake Lowell to gain a better understanding of use and harvest rates. In addition, we also occassionally (about once every couple of ...
1/23/16
A: Yes, you may use game fish parts for bait (no live fish may be used except for crawfish that are caught in on the waters being fished)  Good Luck fishing
2/5/16
A: Greetings, thanks for your question. The mesh size requirements for fish screen is really dependent on several factors. The design of the outflow (pipe vs drain etc), the size of fish you want to screen, and the water flow through the screen make a big difference in the mesh size needed. We need  ...
2/11/16
A: There are several commercially licensed aquaculture facilities in Idaho that sell the game fish listed in your e-mail.  In Idaho, this business is regulated by the Idaho State Dept. of Agriculture and they could provide you a list of providers in your area.  To prevent transmission of diseases ...
2/16/16
A: Silver Lake is a private water. We have little to do with its management, though we have some oversight responsibility regarding fish stocking and importation. We certainly do not stock it currently (we do not stock waters inaccessible to the public) and there are no records of it being stocked by ...
4/4/16
A: Thanks for the question, The short answer is no.  Years ago, the Kokanee fishery in Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir (SFCR) was integral to the fishing experience in the reservoir.  In the late 90's we started to see a decline in angler catch rates.  This decline continued to worsen over the next 5-7 ...
4/12/16
A: Both species of bass in most of the waters you list grow slowly. A 5 lb bass could certainly be 15 years old; however, no matter where you are talking about bass from the same year class show a range of growth rates with some growing slow, others near average, and others growing more quickly. This ...
4/18/16
A: Unfortunately, if you are stuck on fly-fishing for coldwater species, you have very few options within that limited distance.  We stock hatchery trout in several nearby waters including Wilson Ponds, Wilson Creek, Duff Lane Pond and Marsing Pond during the cooler and colder portions of the year. ...
4/26/16