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F&G seeks comments on fishing, management plans

| February 13, 2024 1:00 AM

Idaho Fish and Game has a trio of season setting and management plan comment periods opening up in February, and the department would like angler input on all of them. They include setting the 2024 Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon fishing seasons and bag limits, the upcoming 2025-27 statewide fishing seasons and rules and rewriting the six-year, statewide Fish Management Plan. 

Fish and Game will soon be collecting input on all three, hosting a series of in-person open house meetings throughout the state starting today, while online public input will be available starting Feb. 14 at idfg.idaho.gov/about/comment.

A meeting is scheduled 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 21 in Coeur d’Alene at IDFG Panhandle Regional Office, 2885 W. Kathleen Ave.

Here’s what anglers should know about each: 

2024 spring/summer chinook fishing season

Fish and Game staff has proposed opening dates, days of fishing, river sections and bag limits. They are asking anglers for their preferences on those options. 

The 2024 Spring/Summer Chinook Salmon seasons are scheduled to be set by the Fish and Game Commission at its March 20 in Boise. The deadline for public comment is March 3. 

2025-27 statewide fishing seasons, rules

Fish and Game staff is asking anglers to suggest ideas for changes to seasons, limits and rules — or support for existing regulations — for the upcoming three-year period. This is a two-step process. After gathering ideas from the public, fisheries staff will take anglers’ suggested changes and draw up a set of informal proposals that the commission will consider as proposed changes at its May 16 meeting in Coeur d’Alene. Deadline to provide ideas for changes to the three-year seasons and rules is March 10.

After the commission adopts a formal set of proposals in May, those proposals will go through a second public comment period during late spring/early summer with the commission scheduled to finalize the 2025-27 Fishing Seasons and Rules at its July 24 meeting in Pocatello. 

Statewide fish management plan

This document sets the overall framework for managing fishing waters throughout the state and lasts six years. It does not include seasons and bag limits, but it outlines different management strategies, such as which species a body of water is managed for, which species gets priority when multiple species are present, types of angling (general harvest, trophy fish management, etc.) and other factors. The deadline to propose changes for this first draft plan is April 12.

The document is lengthy (388 pages), so anglers should focus their attention on their favorite bodies of water and suggest changes to those management goals if needed. Like the 2025-27 seasons and rules, this will be a multi-part process with the department gathering ideas from anglers, then revising and updating the old plan into a draft that the commission will consider in July. 

Afterward, the draft plan will be available for another round of public comment during the summer/fall of 2024. Once those comments are collected and reviewed, the commission is scheduled to consider the updated version of the statewide Fish Management Plan at its Nov. 7 meeting in Salmon.