Ask Fish & Game

Ask Fish and Game is for general questions.
  • Not all questions are answered.
  • Urgent questions should be directed to your nearest office.
  • Some answers change over time; please take note of the "answered-on" date.

Previously answered questions are posted here.

Displaying 101 - 171 of 171 questions
Question Asked
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: First, I apologize for our agency not answering your questions in a timely fashion.  That's poor customer service and I'm truly sorry.  We are working to do a better job and I guarantee we'll do better in the future.   Now for the good news - you can harvest brook trout from any water in the Bear ...
11/21/13
A: Your question's answer is available here: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/question/hayspur-trout-hayden-lk  
10/28/13
A: Hayspur strain rainbow trout typically are between 3 - 5 lbs.  at maturity.  With that said, if forage is good and conditions are right, you could see an 8 - 10 lb. rainbow trout from the Hayspur stock. F08
10/25/13
A: No Gerrard rainbow trout have been stocked in Hayden Lake.  The latest rainbow trout stocked in that waterbody are a Hayspur strain of rainbow trout from our south Idaho spawning brood stock.
10/25/13
A: Steelhead are defined as "rainbow trout that are over 20" in length."  Only hatchery produced steelhead (missing adipose fin) can be harvested during an open season.  If they are over 20", missing their adipose fin, with an open season, and you want to harvest the fish; then it must be recorded on ...
10/21/13
A: Our agency used to remove many beaver dams by use of explosives, but now only remove dams for very specific conditions.  Once of those conditions is when Idaho Dept. of Water Resources demonstrates that downstream water rights are being impacted by a dam.  Then we go in and remove the structure.  ...
10/21/13
A: Yes, we stock mountain lakes in wilderness areas.  We have a specific agreement with the Forest Service that allows us to stock mountain lakes by the same means and with the same species of fish as before wilderness designation was enacted.  If we want to stock new lakes or use aircraft to stock ...
9/8/13
A: Ok, if the Idaho Fish and Game Commission sets a season for ocean-going Chinook salmon, Chinook that are over 24" in length and missing their adipose fin are considered "adults" and must be recorded on your Salmon Permit.  Ocean-going Chinook under 24" are considered a jack salmon and you may or ...
8/22/13
A: I don't know what you consider a "problem," but bull trout appear to be doing fine in Idaho.  Redd (spawning) counts and trend fish sampling locations from throughout the state continue to demonstrate stable to increasing populations.   F08
8/10/13
A: Yes, a reward is still being paid for the harvest of lake trout from Lake Pend Oreille.  Contact our Coeur d'Alene office at 208-769-1414 for more details.  Funding for the program is being provided by Avista Power as part of their Lake Pend Oreille mitigation obligation.   F08
8/1/13
A: Yes, but...... The only brook trout we presently stock in Henrys Lake are sterile and can't successfully reproduce.  Their are still some natural brook trout in Henrys that migrate up the tributaries in the fall and spawn but survival of the eggs is poor. By placing eggs in a pressure chamber ...
7/31/13
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: You can fish with an unlimited number of rods in Lake Pend Oreille, without a 2-pole permit, while fishing from a boat. Lake Pend Oreille is an exception to our rules on the 2-pole permit.  As part of our effort to recover kokanee in Lake Pend Oreille, we are trying to encourage harvest of lake ...
7/22/13
A: In the Portneuf River, no harvest of cutthroat is allowed. Rainbow cutthroat hybrids are often difficult to distinguish from either a rainbow trout or cutthroat trout.  To be on the safe-side, if it has an orange slash under the jaw, regardless of other markings, release the fish. In the Panhandle ...
7/21/13
A: Unfortunately, walleye are starting to establish themselves in Lake Pend Oreille.  They are an aggressive predator that can dominate a fish community under certain conditions.  We are concerned that another predatory fish in this system may interfere with our attempts to bring back kokanee and ...
7/16/13
A: Start with the Salmon River.  You can catch and keep two rainbow trout.  Rapid River is another water where you can catch and keep two trout.  In the summer, fish the 7-Devils Lake at the end of the road.  You can keep 6 rainbow trout and 25 brook trout.  If you don't mind a walk, the limit in ...
7/15/13
A: Panhandle Region Lake                                            Year(s)                             Size                                Number Blue Lake                                1989 – 2007                Catchable & Fing.                   1,499 Dawson Lake                          ...
7/14/13
A: This is a difficult question to answer because there are way too many variables that need to be considered.  Let me start by listing my recommendations by season. 1.  Winter - If you want to catch trout in the winter, there are several ice fishing and stream options.  The Boise River is one of my ...
7/11/13
A: You can have a maximum of 5 hooks per line in Idaho.  Each hook can have up to 3 points. F08
7/2/13
A: Call the Southwest Region office to see if they have recommendations for you.  Their number is 465-8465.    
6/13/13
A: There are no rules that require you to stop legally using two-poles (with a two-pole permit) when you are within one fish of your bag limit. Yes, technically you may exceed your bag limit by hooking two fish at the same time, but, realistically your odds of that happening are extremely low.  If by ...
6/11/13
A: Using dead fish and fish parts as bait is legal: Bait: Organic substances, other than rubber, wood feather, fiber, or plastic, attached to a hook to attract fish. Bait includes insects, insect larvae, worms, dead fish, fish parts, any other animal or vegetable matter, or scented synthetic ...
6/11/13
A: As long as you have the two-pole permit you can fish with two poles until your limit is reached.  You don't have to stop using two poles when you only have one more fish left to make your limit.  Two poles can be used for steelhead, Chinook and trout fishing.
6/7/13
A: Our guess would be a small parasite - possibly a copepod.  They cause ulcerations on fish that lead to what appear to be pustules and open sores.  There is no risk to human heath if the fish is cooked properly.  Many times, as the sores heal, there will be scar which look like grains of sand.
6/3/13
A: Yes, we do allow the use of game fish for cut bait when fishing for sturgeon. F08
6/3/13
A: You can keep 6 rainbow trout from Lightening Creek but none of those can be cutthroat trout.  That is from Memorial Day weekend to December 1.  After December 1, there is a catch-and-release season.  There is no limit on lake trout in the Lightening Creek system.  You can also keep 6 kokanee.  ...
5/31/13
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: Yes, there are smallmouth bass in Long Tom Reservoir.
5/12/13
A: Steelhead are rainbow trout longer than 20 inches in length in the Snake River drainage below Hells Canyon Dam, the Salmon River drainage (excluding lakes and the Pahsimeroi and Lemhi rivers), and the Clearwater River drainage (excluding that portion above Dworshak Dam and lakes). Rainbow trout ...
4/12/13
A: Yes, freshwater mussels can be used for fish bait.  In Idaho, there are no limits or restrictions on harvesting mussels.  Once mussels are removed from their shells, they cannot survive, so they are not considered "live" bait.
3/27/13
A: There are no restrictions on wading below Henrys Lake.  While there are many redds visible, and many anglers wading through the stream (and even through redds), it is rare for impacts from wading to have enough of an impact on egg to fry survival to reduce fish populations.  In general terms, the ...
3/6/13
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: 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: Actually, many wouldn’t consider the diversity of fishes in the Clearwater Region to be poor.  The Clearwater, Snake and Salmon rivers all flow through the Clearwater Region.  As a result, we have many fish species that don’t occur in other regions in the State.  For example, we have anadromous ...
1/22/13
A: Each year we count spawnng kokanee around historical shoreline spawning areas.  It gives us a rough index of the adult kokanee population.  This year we saw close to 30,000 fish, which is about 10 times higher than the average of the past 15 years.  That's encouraging, but unfortunately, it doesn' ...
11/29/12
A: It is not legal in Idaho to let your line sit overnight.  Fishing lines must be attended at all times by the person who is fishing.
10/26/12
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: 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: This is such a broad topic that it is hard to answer here.  It was suggested to me that you should go to a local sporting goods store and talk with them about what works well in your area.
10/1/12
A: This is a difficult question to answer because there is no clear definition of "humanely."  Working in the commercial fish industry, we used to put trout in tanks where we pumped carbon dioxide into the water.  After a short period of time the fish tipped over and we ran them through the ...
9/25/12
A: We've conducted creel surveys and have officer reports that indicate the stocking was marginally successful.  We documented a number of brown trout caught both upstream and downstream of the stocking sites.  We went many years not stocking brown trout in the Palouse River - mostly because we lost ...
9/24/12
A: A number of the lakes in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area have brook trout populations.  You are not finding them when searching in the Southwest Region because they are all on the Stanley side of the Sawtooths and in the Fish and Game Salmon Region. Here is a list of lakes in the Salmon ...
9/13/12
A: They are included in the database - you just need to do some sluthing.  Here is an example:  1) Select Panhandle Region; 2) select records for 1967 to present; 3) click on "other trout;" 4) highlight "Antelope Lake; 5) and now click "search."  You will see 2,111 fingerling brook trout were stocked ...
9/13/12
A: No, the current record is over a year old.  You can see all the current records at:   https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=82
8/28/12
A: Henry's Lake is managed with a two trout limit.  No size restrictions apply but once an angler keeps two fish he may not continue to fish. Brook trout are counted in the two fish limit. 
8/20/12
A: The tiger muskie plants were part of a fish research project to see if the sterile predators could reduce or eliminate stunted brook trout populations in mnt lakes. The fish wer stocked in 2005 and followed through this summer. They can definately turn a brook trout population around to either ...
8/6/12
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: Forage Lake was stocked with golden trout last year as well as 2004 and 2006, so it should have fish in it.  It is possible that they were simply in deeper water and you just weren't able to see them, but usually if fish are in a mountain lake, they're fairly obvious.  It's very possible that some ...
8/5/12
A: Although, bull trout are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act as "threatened" anglers can still actively fish for them in Idaho.  Catch-and-release fishing for bull trout can be great sport given the size bull trout can achieve and their aggressive nature.  With that said, before an ...
8/4/12
A: There are several reasons for rainbow trout being the most stocked resident fish in Idaho.  *1)  surveys show the majority of anglers that fish in Idaho prefer catching rainbow trout; 2) rainbow trout eggs are readily available for commercial/conservation, large-scale production; 3) our fish ...
8/3/12
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: Please contact the Regional Fisheries Manager at the Southwest Regional Office via phone 208-465-8465 ext. 301
8/2/12
A: There is a extremely small probability, but it is highly, highly unlikely. Tiger musky have been stocked in Little Payette Lake and Lake Cascade. For a tiger musky to make it to Horseshoe Bend, it would have to pass through a dam and move downstream through several class IV-V rapids. Furthermore, ...
7/30/12
A: Rainbow trout and steelhead are the same genus and species.  Essentially, a steelhead is an ocean-going rainbow trout.  There will be a slight color variation - depending on the time of year, but the only sure-fire way tell a hatchery produced rainbow trout from a steelhead is to check the adipose ...
7/26/12
A: Every year we release over one million hatchery steelhead smolts into the South Fork Clearwater River (no hatchery rainbow trout catchables are released into this river).  Two years later, many of these steelhead smolts will return as 12-16 pound steelhead that attract anglers from all over the ...
7/3/12
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: Yes, there are fish in Long Tom and Mountain Home reservoirs.  Mountain Home Reservoir is typically stocked with rainbow trout in the early spring.  Fish will survive all year if adiquate water remains in the reservoir over the winter.  If conditions are right, this can be a very nice ice fishery ...
6/19/12
A: From the Boise area, a great place to camp and fish is along the Middle Fork of the Boise River. This area is accessed via Highway 21. Just past the high bridge over Mores Creek, turn right onto the Middle Fork Road and drive past Lucky Peak and Arrowrock Reservoirs. The Middle Fork offers a ...
6/16/12
A: No, you can't. On page 46 of the Fishing Rules Book: Sale of Fish: Fish harvested by anglers cannot be bought or sold without a commercial license except as provided by Idaho Code.
6/12/12
A: According to our records, we did not know that there were wild trout in Sand Hollow Creek. I certainly didn't know.  A couple of other sampling sites surveyed in this creek during 2001 came up as no fish present.  We appreciate the information. I would like to talk with you on the phone about your ...
6/5/12
A: Most brook trout fishing opportunities within the Magic Valley involve smaller headwater streams.  Places such as upper South Fork Boise River, Upper Littlewood River, Upper Rock Creek (Twin Falls County), Upper Cassia Creek, and various tributaries feeding into the Upper Big Wood River.  All of ...
6/5/12
A: Northern pikeminnow (squawfish) are a native specie to Idaho.  They are highly predatory once they reach 8 - 10" and tend to prey more on soft-ray fish such as rainbow trout, cutthroat, salmon and steelhead smolts (juveniles).  This makes sense when you consider that all of these species are ...
5/29/12
A: Rainbow trout (can only be kept if their adipose fin is missing), cutthroat trout, and there may be an occasional brook trout.  You can keep 6 trout (e.g. 4 rainbow, 2 cutthroat; 3 rainbow,, 3 cutthroat; etc.), 25 whitefish, and 25 brook trout.  You can also catch bull trout but you can’t keep ...
5/12/12
A: We are using a few pike in mountain lakes in south-central Idaho to reduce brook trout numbers, but we really don’t want them to be harvested (some lakes have less than 10 pike stocked).  In the Southwest part of Idaho the best place to find Tiger muskies is Dog Creek Reservoir near Gooding or ...
5/7/12
A: Both are open all year.  The trout limit is 2.
5/5/12
A: At the present time, cutthroat trout are considered part of the “trout” bag limit in most of the state.  This means you can catch and harvest 6 cutthroat trout per day over most of Idaho.  The Magic Valley, Southeast, and Upper Snake restrict cutthroat harvest in rivers and streams to 2 cutthroat ...
4/23/12
A: Steelhead are rainbow trout longer than 20 inches in length in the Snake River drainage below Hells Canyon Dam, the Salmon River drainage (excluding lakes and the Pahsimeroi and Lemhi rivers), and the Clearwater River drainage (excluding that portion above Dworshak Dam and lakes).   Rainbow trout ...
4/23/12
A: We do not stock trout in rivers when they are at flood stage. Instead, these fish remain at their respective hatchery until flow conditions improve or we reallocate them  to ponds or reservoirs.  
4/18/12
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: A decision has not yet been made regarding the future of Priest Lake and the lake trout fishery.  IDFG is currently in the “scoping” phase of developing a new statewide fisheries management plan for 2013-2018.  The plan will set direction for Priest and Upper Priest lakes, as well as other ...
2/11/12