Hunters will have more room to stalk elk in South-Central Idaho this season, after Idaho Fish and Game officials approved changes to the hunt regulations in mid-November.
In response to complaints of elk damage on private lands, game managers have expanded hunt area 56-3--bounded by I-84 in the west and Holbrook in the east--and extended the season through Dec. 31. Go to fishandgame.idaho.gov for more info.
If you'd rather tote a fishing rod than a rifle, F&G also has good news for anglers.
About 200 steelhead were released into the Boise River Nov. 22--the only steelhead release of the year, because the number of returning fish has been so low that most of them are needed to meet hatchery goals.
Sized between 6 and 12 pounds, the fish were hauled by tanker truck from Oxbow Hatchery on the Snake River and released at five locations between the Glenwood Bridge and Barber Park.
According to F&G, anglers hoping to tangle with one of the hatchery steelhead will need a fishing license, as well as a steelhead permit, which runs $12.75. Officials want to remind anglers that though required in other steelhead waters, barbless hooks are not required for Boise River steelhead. The bag and possession limits on the river have been reduced to one fish per day and three in possession. The fall season limit is 20 steelhead.
How to tell if you've hooked a Boise River steelhead? All the fish stocked in the Boise River will lack an adipose fin--the small fin normally found on the back, just in front of the tail. If you catch a rainbow trout longer than 20 inches and lacking an adipose fin, consider that fish a steelhead.
Fish released into the Boise River are A-run hatchery steelhead, returning to Idaho Power's Oxbow Hatchery fish trap below Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River.
Finally, if you're looking to experience nature from the comfort of your vehicle, plan a trip up the Idaho Ponderosa Pine Scenic Byway, which was recently selected as one of the 10 most picturesque country drives in America by Country magazine.
To take the trek from Boise, travel I-84 East, turning north on Idaho 21 toward Idaho City. Follow the highway as it leaves the Payette River and snakes between the Sawtooth Wilderness and Salmon-Challis National Forest. The byway terminates at Stanley--about 103 miles from Boise. Give yourself at least three hours for the experience.