Q: Have the crappie ever come back at Paddock Reservoir?
A: The crappie population there is still in limbo, according to Idaho Fish and Game.
Basically, the reservoir has not had enough water in recent years to sustain good numbers of crappie.
Enough water is needed in the reservoir to cover nesting areas for the fish in spring. Also, water is drained so far down in the irrigation reservoir by fall that there isn't enough for the fish to survive the winter.
Fish and Game biologists say we need two to three good water years to bring the reservoir back to its heyday of crappie fishing.
I remember back in the 1970s when it was the go-to place to fill your freezer with crappie fillets. You couldn't miss getting a bucket of fish on a red-and-white jig.
The reservoir, located about 20 miles up the Willow Creek drainage from Idaho 52 between Emmett and Payette, had an almost unlimited crappie population.
Water is the key for reproduction and survival of those prolific fish.
BANDS ON GEESE
Q: Why do some geese along the Boise Greenbelt have green bands on their legs?
Normally, waterfowl are banded with silver bands.
MICHAEL DEEDS, Boise
A: Two summers ago, some Canada geese in Boise were tagged with green bands to see whether they migrate or stay in town, Fish and Game said.
Colored bands on the legs of waterfowl indicate that the birds are in a special study.
Normally, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service bands geese and ducks with silver leg bands to track their migrations throughout North America.
The whole banding thing is fascinating. The visitor center at the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge headquarters at Lake Lowell in Nampa has a map showing where waterfowl that were banded at the refuge end up.
Get this. A mallard banded at Deer Flat was shot by a hunter in Arkansas.
Here's another cool story. A band was found last year in the Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area that was put on a mallard at Deer Flat 28 years ago.
Crews were doing some digging for a power pole and found it in the dirt. It was under an eagle's nest. Apparently the eagle caught the mallard for dinner and ended up dropping the band, which ended up covered in a rubble pile below the nest.
Biologists at Deer Flat refuge have been banding waterfowl since 1938.
OK, back to the green-banded Greenbelt geese. I'll try to do an update on the study, but for now, if we're seeing green-banded geese, apparently some of them are staying put.
Idaho Fish and Game recently got a question on collecting antlers, and I wanted to pass on the agency's answer.
You don't need a license or permit to collect antlers, except in special cases, such as bighorn sheep.
The only restrictions are on access and travel on the land.
Antler hunters, like other outdoor recreationists, must get permission to cross or look for antlers on private land.
They also have to abide by vehicle restrictions on federal and state lands, which may be in effect in late winter and early spring.
Antler hunting typically starts in early spring. Deer, elk and moose shed their antlers in late winter, then regrowth starts during spring.
The pronghorn is the only species with horns that annually sheds its horn sheath. Just after mating season, the pronghorn sheds its horns and only the permanent core remains.
The horns of bighorn sheep that have died of natural causes also may be recovered, but may not be sold, traded or transferred to another person without a permit from Fish and Game.
Bighorn sheep horns must be permanently marked with a metal pin at a Fish and Game regional office within 30 days of recovery.
Horn and antler hunters also are asked to avoid disturbing animals during late winter while they are conserving their energy and trying to make it through to spring.
Pete Zimowsky: 377-6445, Twitter: @Zimosoutdoors