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November 15, 2012

Commission adopts three-year fishing rule book

By Niels Nokkentved, IDFG

   Idaho Fish and Game Commission adopted a three-year fishing seasons and rules brochure on Nov. 8.

   The rules would cover 2013 through 2015. The change is based on 11 months of public interaction and responses to an angler survey conducted in 2011, state fishery manager Jeff Dillon told Commissioners.

   One other statewide change sets Free Fishing Day for 2013, 2014 and 2015. The new rule book also includes several regional changes.

   For the first time since 1999, anglers will again be allowed to harvest kokanee in Lake Pend Oreille as a result of the success of the Lake Pend Oreille fishery recovery program. Anglers will be allowed to harvest six kokanee per day in Pend Oreille in 2013.

   In addition, the increase in kokanee has made it possible to move back towards trophy rainbow trout management. A size and bag limit will be reinstated for rainbows: six rainbow trout, only one more than 20 inches long; and the $15 per head angler incentive will no longer be in effect for rainbow trout. The $15 incentive remains in place for lake trout in Lake Pend Oreille.

   Elsewhere in the Panhandle Region the limit on kokanee was lowered to six fish in Priest Lake and Upper Priest Lake. In Lake Pend Oreille anglers are allowed to harvest six kokanee and six rainbow trout - only one more than 20 inches long.

   Clark Fork river and tributaries; Pack River and tributaries; and Grouse Creek and tributaries will be closed to trout harvest from Dec. 1 to the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend.

   In Big Elk Creek, Crooked Creek and Red River in the Clearwater Region; in Parkcenter Pond, Weiser Community Pond, McDevitt Pond and Wilson Ponds in the Southwest Region; in Edson Fichter Pond in the Southeast Region; and in Becker Pond in the Upper Snake Region, the trout limit is reduced to two.

   The goal is to increase opportunity for more anglers to catch stocked fish and to reduce the boom and bust cycle with the stocking program.

   In the Magic Valley Region the length limit is removed on small mouth bass in Magic Reservoir; and in the Southeast Region the bass limit is removed in the Treasureton Reservoir.

   In the Upper Snake Region the limit is removed on rainbow trout and hybrid trout in the South Fork Snake River tributaries. The limit on brown trout is two, with none under 16 inches. In Henrys Lake Outlet, the 400 yard section from the USGS gauge to the Henrys Lake Dam opens to fishing.

   These changes take effect Jan. 1, 2013. Anglers should consult the new 2013-2015 seasons and rules brochure, which will be available at all license vendors, Fish and Game offices and on the Fish and Game website before January.