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Can I go fishing?

Anglers uncertain of rules
Posted at 5:24 PM, Apr 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-13 12:14:57-04

BOISE, Idaho — It's spring. The sun is out, temperatures are warming, and if you are getting cabin fever you are not alone. For many Idahoans, these are all reasons to pack up a rod and go fishing. But with the Governor issuing a stay at home order, what are the rules?

"I think that stay at home is... a lot of people are taking that awfully literally, because he's also saying it's okay to go outside for recreation," said Fish and Game spokesman Roger Phillips. "So we're getting into a lot of gray areas and people are understandably confused, but my understanding is hunting and fishing are acceptable recreation."

So who is enforcing the order? The answer to that question varies among counties and municipalities, but with the exception of restrictions on sales of out of state licenses and permits, the answer is not Fish and Game.

"We really can't be the referee on where people can and can't go as far as counties and local municipalities having their rules and guidelines, so we're sticking with the Governor's guidelines," saids Phillips.

Fish and Game hopes out of state residents already holding licenses will respect Idaho's stay at home order, a sentiment shared by many mountain communities like McCall and Stanley who generally welcome the dollars outdoor enthusiasts spend, but for now, are asking all to stay away.

The Governor's guidance says day trips near your home are strongly encouraged. They stress the importance of staying close to home, and then there is social distancing. That means staying six feet apart, which in most cases means more than one person in a boat probably goes against the guidelines.

"Yeah, if they're not from the same household, that is certainly how I would interpret that," said Phillips.

Don't plan on using any boat ramps, day areas or parks at Idaho Power sites like CJ Strike Reservoir. They are closed, as are most campgrounds around the state.

And if you haven't already read the governors guidelines, you are encouraged to do so, and use your best judgment.

"You know, people are going to have to figure this out, I'm not going to say for themselves and just make it up as they go," said Phillips "But when you just adhere to those social distancing guidelines, a lot of this answers itself."