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Alan Liere’s fishing-hunting report for March 26

UPDATED: Wed., March 25, 2020

Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)
Alan Liere writes the weekly fishing and hunting report for The Spokesman-Review. (The Spokesman-Review / SR)

Hunting

In response to updated COVID-19 guidance from Idaho Department of Health and Welfare for public events, IDFG has temporarily waived the requirement to attend an in-person field day for online hunter education certification. The temporary waiver allows students who complete the online course the ability to gain certification and purchase a hunting license.

The application period for moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat controlled hunts begins on April 1 and runs through April 30. Hunters can apply for these hunts online or at any Fish and Game office, license vendor or by telephone. Fish and Game regional offices and many license vendors remain open for hunters who wish to apply in person, but Fish and Game officials are encouraging hunters to apply online at idfg.huntfishidaho.net/login or by telephone by calling (800) 554-8685.

Idaho Fish and Game is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the upcoming migratory game bird seasons, including waterfowl, mourning dove, American crow and sandhill crane. Comments will be accepted through April 3. Although copies of the proposed seasons and comment forms are available at regional offices, Fish and Game is encouraging the public to review the full proposals and comment online at idfg.idaho.gov/form/public-comment-migratory-game-bird-proposed-2020-2021-seasons

Idaho hunters applying for a controlled elk hunt in 2020 will be ineligible to buy a capped elk zone tag until five days after they go on sale in July. This is designed to reduce the initial demand for first-come, first-served tags. A capped elk tag is an elk zone with a limited number of tags that are sold on a first-come, first-served basis, unlike a controlled hunt in which hunters must apply in May and be entered into a drawing for those elk tags. Some controlled hunts will be exempt from the waiting period, including Super Hunts, extra elk hunts, depredation hunts or Landowner Appreciation Program hunts.

The turkey hunting season, which is usually a solitary pursuit, will begin soon. But unless you can walk out the back door to hunt, as I can, I am wondering if the “stay at home” mandate will affect this anticipated spring activity. There are lots of birds in Spokane, Stevens, Pend Oreille and Ferry counties again this year, and trips into Lincoln County as well as the Idaho Panhandle indicate this could potentially be the best year.

Fly fishing

Spokane fly fishing organizations and businesses have been prohibited from having club meetings, fly school classes and outings. Area fishermen are wondering how else their sport will be impacted. Last weekend, area lakes and rivers were crowded, and fly fishermen were finding trout with nemoura/skwala patterns as well as some BWO/purple haze/Parachute Adams patterns. A bobber rig would bring almost guaranteed action.

The St. Joe River was giving up some nice fish on nemoura stone dries, Silver Bow Fly Shop said. Parachutes like BWOs and purple haze, as well as pheasant tail-style nymphs and flashy streamers were also effective. The river above Avery is still snowed in. Marble and Calder boat launches are clear. Big Eddy and 16-mile launches have snow.

The Clark Fork has also fished well. BWOs, gray drakes, nemoura stones and midges are getting fish up to the surface. Look for nymphing to be productive in the morning hours.

Salmon and steelhead

The Idaho Fish and Game Commission recently approved spring chinook fishing on the Clearwater, Snake, Salmon and Little Salmon rivers to start April 25 and run until closed by the Fish and Game director. Fisheries managers are forecasting a better run this year compared to last, although in recent years forecasts have overestimated the actual run size. This year’s forecast is projecting a return of about 30,000 hatchery fish to Lower Granite Dam.

Contact Alan Liere at spokesmanliere@yahoo.com

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