The proposed rules are available for review and comment on the Fish and Game website at: https://fishandgame.idaho.gov/content/webform/proposed-fishing-rules-changes. Or you can read the proposed changes below this article.
Fishery managers want to hear what anglers think about these changes and whether they agree or disagree with the proposal and why. Fish and Game will consider all opinions when crafting recommended proposed rules for the November commission meeting.
Fish and Game welcomes comments submitted via the website or through the mail. Review copies of the proposed rule changes are available at all Fish and Game regional offices and the headquarters office in Boise.
Comments can be mailed to: Bureau of Fisheries, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, P.O. Box 25, Boise, Idaho 83707; or at http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.
Comments will be accepted through September 30. Comments will be shared with the commission before rules are adopted.
Proposed fishing rule changes:
1. General Proposal: Fish Rules Booklet – Approve fish rules and publication of the rules booklet for a three-year period. These rules will be valid from January 1, 2013 - December 31, 2015.
Extending the valid dates of this rule booklet will add one year to the current rules cycle. We extended the Fishing Rules booklet for one year in 2010 without negative feedback from the public. This change will also reduce staff time and publication costs associated with developing new rule booklets.
2. General Proposal: Set Free-Fishing-Day for publication in the rules booklet – Set Free Fishing Day dates for 2013, 2014, and 2015. This event is always the Saturday of the second full weekend in June (June 8, 2013; June 14, 2014; and June 13, 2015).
This would set one day of the year where anglers could fish without a fishing license provided they follow bag limits and other restriction set by the Commission. Individuals with their fishing privileges revoked by a court of law are not eligible to participate in Free Fishing Day.
3. General Proposal: Increase the statewide Spring steelhead bag limit to 40 fish per season (current bag limit is 20-steelhead for the Spring season).
Anglers would be allowed to harvest up to 40-steelhead during the spring season. These steelhead are hatchery-produced and in excess of hatchery production needs.
4. General Proposal: Steelhead – Increase spring season limits on Salmon River from Long Tom Creek (3/4 mile upstream from the Middle Fork Salmon River) to posted boundary 100 yards downstream of Sawtooth Hatchery to six (6) fish per day and eighteen (18) in possession. The spring state-wide season bag limit would become (40) forty fish (see proposal 3 above).
This would allow anglers to harvest more steelhead in the most terminal fishing area of the Salmon River beginning on January 1 of the spring season.
1. Panhandle Proposal: Priest and Upper Priest lakes - Reduce the kokanee bag limit to 6 fish.
The general kokanee salmon bag limit for the Panhandle Region is 15. This change will reduce the public’s current ability to harvest kokanee from Priest and Upper Priest lakes.
2. Panhandle Proposal: Pend Oreille Lake - Allow the harvest of 6 kokanee; establish a rainbow trout bag limit of 6 with only one over 20”; and eliminate exception that allows rainbow trout to be in the field or in transit with the head removed.
Anglers would again be allowed to harvest kokanee from Lake Pend Oreille; return to managing for a trophy rainbow trout population; and anglers could no longer be in possession of rainbow trout with the heads removed while in the field or in transit.
3. Panhandle Proposal: Clark Fork River and tributaries – Close rainbow trout harvest from December 1 through Friday before Memorial Day weekend; allow harvest of 6 kokanee; eliminate exception that allows rainbow trout to be in the field or in transit with the head removed.
Anglers could no longer harvest rainbow trout during the December 1 to Friday before Memorial Day weekend period. Anglers would again be allowed to harvest 6 kokanee daily from Clark Fork River and tributaries (no harvest is presently allowed), and anglers could no longer be in possession of rainbow trout with the heads removed while in the field or in transit.
4. Panhandle Proposal: Pack River and tributaries – Close rainbow trout harvest from December 1 through the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
Reduce angler opportunities to harvest rainbow trout from Pack River and tributaries from December 1 through the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. This change is to aid in the re-establishment of a trophy rainbow trout fishery in Lake Pend Oreille.
5. Panhandle Proposal: Grouse Creek and tributaries – Close to rainbow trout harvest from December 1 through the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
Reduce angler opportunities to harvest rainbow trout from Grouse Creek and tributaries from December 1 through the Friday before Memorial Day weekend. This change is to aid in the re-establishment of a trophy rainbow trout fishery in Lake Pend Oreille.
6. Panhandle Proposal: Spokane River drainage (Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers and tributaries) – no harvest of any trout with a red or orange slash under the jaw.
The current rule in these drainages prohibits harvest of cutthroat, but permits harvest of rainbow x cutthroat hybrid trout. This change will reduce harvest opportunity for hybrid trout but more effectively protect cutthroat trout.
1. Clearwater Proposal: Big Elk Creek, Crooked Creek, and Red River - Change the daily bag limit to 2 trout.
Current daily bag limit is 6 trout. Reducing the daily bag limit to 2 trout will reduce angler opportunities to harvest trout in these three waters. This change makes the bag limit consistent with other streams and rivers in the area.
1. Southwest Proposal: Parkcenter Pond, Weiser Community Pond, McDevitt Pond, and Wilson Ponds (North and South) – Reduce the daily bag limit to 2-trout.
Current daily bag limit is 6 fish. Due to intense fishing pressure, reducing the daily bag limit to 2 is expected to spread harvest opportunity among more anglers while reducing harvest for some anglers.
1. Magic Valley Proposal: Magic Reservoir - Remove the minimum size limit on bass.
Currently, there is a 12” minimum length limit on bass in Magic Reservoir. Removing the minimum length limit will allow increased harvest of bass from the reservoir.
1. Southeast Proposal: Edson Fichter Pond - Reduce the daily bag limit to 2-trout.
This change will simplify the rules in the Bear River drainage by having the same season and bag limits across the entire area.
2. Southeast Proposal: Treasureton Reservoir – Remove size and daily bag limit on bass.
This will increase bass harvest opportunities for anglers on this illegally introduced population.
3. Southeast Proposal: Bear River tributaries – Expand no-harvest rule for cutthroat trout to include all tributaries; open Thomas Fork Bear River and Cub River to year-round fishing.
This change will allow more opportunity for anglers by eliminating the winter closure on Cub River and Thomas Fork (Bear River tributaries). It also standardizes the season and bag limit for all of the Bear River and its tributaries, and reduces the number of exceptions in the rules book.
1. Upper Snake Proposal: South Fork Snake River tributaries – No limit on rainbow trout or hybrid trout; brown trout limit is 2, none under 16 inches.
This change will allow more rainbow trout harvest opportunity to anglers and make the rules consistent with the South Fork Snake River.
2. Upper Snake Proposal: Henrys Lake Outlet – Open the 400 yard section currently closed to fishing.
This action opens the reach from the USGS gauge to the Henrys Lake Dam for fishing.
3. Upper Snake Proposal: Becker Pond (Ryder Park Pond) – Trout limit of 2
Current daily bag limit is 6 trout. Due to intense fishing pressure, reducing the daily bag limit to 2 is expected to spread harvest opportunity among more anglers while reducing harvest for some anglers.