Maybe you remember my rant in June about Idaho Department of Fish and Game's to eliminate the trophy fish regulations in place for two miles of the Boise River near my house in Southeast Boise.
Anglers can breathe easier. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved the new fishing regulations and the department chose to keep the two fish, larger than 14 inch limit that brands justifiably the Boise River as a trophy fishery. So all of you dry fly snobs from all over the country who come to Boise can rest assured you are fishing in a place with regulations like storied waters including the South Fork of the Boise and Silver Creek.
Fish and Game biologists said the regulations are unnecessary since anglers keep only about 5 percent of the trout they catch all along the city’s entire stretch of the river, even where there are no special regulations. They also said the current boundaries were ambiguous so they were changed to run from one ParkCenter Bridge downstream to the other.
The numbers of wild trout have exploded since dam managers began providing stable winter flows in the river more than 16 years ago. Wild trout populations have increased 17-fold since 1994, putting the city section of the Boise River in the top 20 percent of wild trout river stretches in the state.
Fish and Game fisheries biologist Joe Kozskay pulled back the proposal to work on a consensus for the entire stretch. Previously I suggested Fish and Game should consider managing the entire city stretch for the sustainable wild trout fishery it has become.
That would mean a halt to releasing extra hatchery rainbow in the river and instead using them to stock ponds and other river stretches that can’t sustain a fishery naturally.
Here is my former colleague Roger Phillips complete press release:
Idaho Fish and Game Commission recently approved fishing rules changes for the 2016-18 seasons. New rules will take effect on Jan. 1.
Statewide changes include a new possession limit, which will be three times the daily bag limit after the second day of the season. Currently, the possession limit is equal to the bag limit.
Free Fishing Day will be on June 11, 2016; June 10, 2017 and June 9, 2018. These dates are the Saturday after the first full week in June and correspond with national outdoor recognition events.
Other changes to rules will apply to specific bodies of water these changes include:
• Lake Pend Oreille - The Rainbow Trout daily bag limit will be reduced from 6 to 2; only 1 over 20 inches.
• Clark Fork River - Trout limit is 0 from December 1 – Friday before Memorial Day weekend. Remove the 6 Kokanee bag limit, which reverts it to the regional bag limit of 15 Kokanee).
• Clark Fork River tributaries and Pack River and tributaries – No bait will be allowed during the existing catch-and-release season which is December 1 through the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
• Spirit Lake - The Kokanee daily bag limit will be raised from 15 to 25 fish.
• Hayden Lake – Minimum length on largemouth bass that can be harvested will increase from 16 inches to 20 inches.
• Mann Lake – Daily bag limit on bass will change from general (6) to 2 bass; none under 16 inches.
• Deyo Reservoir– Daily bag limit on bass will change from general (6) to 2 bass; none under 16 inches.
• Spring Valley Reservoir – Daily bag limit on bass will change from general (6) to 2 bass; none under 16 inches.
• Dworshak Reservoir – From Grandad Bridge upstream to end-of-flat-water; bait will now be allowed year-around.
• Clearwater River, South Fork – Rainbow Trout limit will change from 6 adipose fin-clipped fish to a daily bag limit of 2 Rainbow Trout with or without an adipose fin.
• Palouse River and tributaries – Daily bag limit for trout will be reduced from 6 to 2.
• Clearwater River, North Fork – Steelhead season; eliminate the July 1 catch-and-release season and open a harvest season for steelhead from September 1 through December 31.
• Oxbow Reservoir – Eliminate the catch-and-release bass season. The daily bag limit of 2 bass; 12 inches – 16 inches slot-limit will apply year-around.
• C. Ben Ross Reservoir - Eliminate the catch-and-release bass season. The daily bag limit of 2 bass; 12 inches – 16 inches slot-limit will apply year-around.
• Payette Lake – Eliminate the Lake Trout daily bag limit. Include Lake Trout in the daily trout bag limit which is 6.
• Payette River, North Fork – Insert a catch-and-release season for trout from Smiley Bridge to Payette Lake beginning on December 1 through the Friday before Memorial Day weekend.
• Boise River – From the downstream side of the East Park Center Bridge to the upstream side of the West Park Center Bridge – Trout limit is 2; none under 14 inches.
• Salmon Falls Creek Reservoir – Daily Walleye bag limit will change from 6 fish any size to 6 Walleye with only 1 over 20 inches.
• Regionwide – Minimum size of bass that can be harvested under general rules increases from 12 inches to 14 inches.
• Oneida Reservoir and the Bear River downstream of the dam – eliminate the 12 inches minimum on bass that can be harvested. You will now be able to harvest 6 bass; any size.
• American Falls Reservoir and Snake River from American Falls Reservoir upstream to Gem Lake Dam – Change from the daily bass bag limit of 6 none under 12 inches to 2 bass; any size.
• Bannock Reservoir (new water in Pocatello Wellness Complex) – new rule; daily bag limit is 2 fish; combination of any species.
• Kokanee Creek (new water running into Bannock Reservoir) – Closed to fishing.
Upper Snake Region
• Regionwide – Remove the 12 inches minimum harvest rule for bass.
• Regionwide – Increase the daily bag limit on Kokanee from 6 to 15.
• Snake River from American Falls Reservoir to Gem Lake Dam – Daily bag limit for bass would be 2; any size.
• Henrys Fork – Change the downstream section boundary from Del Rio Bridge to the South Fork Snake River. This would change the daily trout bag limit from 6 to 2 in this lower section. Also, eliminate the minimum 16 inches size restriction for trout within the entire reach.
• Henrys Fork (Vernon Bridge to Ashton Dam) – Replace the winter “closed fishing” season with a “catch-and-release” season. Also, eliminate the 16 inches minimum size limit during the summer harvest season.
• Henrys Fork (Highway 20 Bridge to Riverside Campground) – Eliminate the trout 16 inches minimum size limit.
• Henrys Fork (Riverside Campground upstream to Harriman Park) – Change the “closed to fishing” season to a “catch-and-release” season for trout requiring barbless hooks and no use of bait. This will result in a year-around catch-and-release fishing season in this reach.
• Warm River and tributaries – Clarify the boundary as the “bridge near Parker (Scheuller) cabin” – closed to fishing. On all other sections of Warm River and tributaries – No harvest of cutthroat trout. Memorial Day weekend through November 30 – trout limit is 6, no harvest of cutthroat trout. December 1 through Friday before Memorial Day weekend – trout limit is 0 (catch-and-release).
• Snake River from Osgood diversion upstream to the confluence of the Henrys Fork and South Fork Snake River – Trout limit would be reduced from 6 to 2; no harvest of Cutthroat Trout (previously you could keep 2 Cutthroat Trout).
• South Fork Snake River tributaries – Allow harvest of any size Brown Trout (which will be included in the daily trout bag limit). Change the “closed to fishing” season to June 1 to June 30 (previous April 1 – June 30).
• Teton River – Eliminate the winter catch-and-release season (open all year). Allow unlimited harvest of Rainbow Trout and trout hybrids (currently 6 trout limit) with no harvest of Cutthroat Trout.
• Teton River tributaries - Eliminate the winter catch-and-release season (open to fishing July 1 to May 31); then close the tributaries June 1 through June 30. Allow unlimited harvest of Rainbow Trout and trout hybrids (currently 6 trout limit) with no harvest of Cutthroat.
• Little Lost River and tributaries, Medicine Lodge Creek and Fall River – Eliminate the catch-and-release seasons and allow year-around fishing with a 2 trout limit; no harvest of Cutthroat Trout.
• Becker Park Pond (Ryder Park Pond) – Current rule is 2 trout. It would change to 2 fish; any combination of species.
• Jim Moore Pond, Horseshoe Lake and Teardrop Lake – Current rule is 6 trout. The daily trout bag limit would be reduced to 2 trout on all three waters.
• Palisades Reservoir tributaries – Close all Palisades Reservoir tributaries to Kokanee harvest.
• Wallace Lake – Reduce the daily bag limit for trout from 6 to 2.