“Our added winter moisture and active calling period led to a very long nesting and hatching season, starting in late April and extending into early summer, with chicks hatching as late as early July,” O’Dell said. “From a population standpoint, we are out of a deficit for the first time since 2001-2002. Quail are starting to pop up in places they haven’t been seen in a while. 

“If you’ve never had the chance to experience what Arizona quail hunting built its name on, then this would be the year to get out and enjoy it.”      

Meanwhile, hunters should note that the season for Mearns’ quail doesn’t begin until Dec. 4. It’s summer rainfall that plays a key role in nesting success and population numbers of this species. After a spotty and relatively weak monsoon across southern Arizona, these birds are likely to be abundant only in pockets that received sufficient precipitation this summer.       

A valid Arizona hunting or combination hunt and fish license is required for all hunters 10 and older. Those hunters under 10 must either have a valid hunting or combination hunt and fish license, or be accompanied by an adult who possesses a valid hunting or combination hunt and fish license. Licenses can be purchased online or at license dealers statewide. A youth combination hunt and fish license (ages 10 to 17) is $5.

The general bag limit is 15 quail per day in the aggregate, of which no more than eight may be Mearns’ quail (when the Mearns’ season opens Dec. 4). The general possession limit is 45 quail in the aggregate after opening day, of which no more than 15 Gambel’s, scaled or California quail in the aggregate may be taken in any one day. After the opening of the Mearns’ season, the 45-quail possession limit may include 24 Mearns’ quail, of which no more than eight may be taken in any one day.

More quail-hunting information can be found on the department’s website at https://www.azgfd.com/Hunting/. Another resource for both new and experienced hunters alike is “An Introduction to Hunting Arizona’s Small Game.” Written by Randall D. Babb, the 196-page, full-color book covers where and how to hunt small game birds (like quail), squirrels, rabbits, ducks and geese. It also includes how to prepare and cook your harvest, with illustrations and recipes. The book can be ordered for $16.95 at www.azgfd.gov/publications.

Finally, hunters should check out O’Dell’s techniques for field-dressing quail at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gRwZAcWzzk.   


Publishers Notes: OUT OF STATE HUNTERS, FISHERMEN & OUTDOOR ENTHUSIASTS; Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, there could be limitations for OUT of STATE hunters, fishermen and other outdoor enthusiasts to include a 14-day quarantine requirement or negative COVID-19 testing alternative. Please check with the State's Department of Natural Resources BEFORE you travel or apply for the 2020 Fall Hunts.

Disclaimer:  The views expressed on this site are that of the authors and not necessarily that of TBC Press
North America Sportshows
Idaho Anglers Reminded of Special Fishing Regulations on the Snake River

Submitted by:  TBC Press
Posted on: 01/04/21
The Backcountry Press
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News # 14168
The intention here is to provide some clarity and guidance that will help anglers stay in compliance with the special rules used to manage this fishery. Hopefully, this will break-down the regulation complexity and help make anglers feel at ease when they check-out this section of the Snake River.

Some fish populations in this portion of the Snake River are managed using special angling regulations, or exceptions to the general Southeast Region Rules found in the Idaho Fish and Game fishing proclamations. The Snake River is divided into two distinct reaches based on fishery management: 1) the section from American Falls Dam downstream to Eagle Rock, and 2) the section from Eagle Rock downstream to the western boundary of the Gifford Springs boating fishing zone. The special fishing regulations for these two river reaches are as follows:

Snake River
Section: From the downstream side of the Gifford Springs boat fishing zone (western boundary) upstream to Eagle Rock
  • Bass limit is 2, any size
  • Trout limit is 6, only 2 may be Cutthroat Trout

Section: From Eagle Rock upstream to American Falls Dam
  • October 16 through Friday before Memorial Day weekend – limit is 0 for game fish species, catch-and-release, no bait allowed, barbless hooks required
  • Saturday of Memorial Day weekend through October 15 – bass limit is 2, any size; trout limit is 6, only 2 may be Cutthroat Trout, only 2 trout over 16 inches

With respect to the section from Eagle Rock to American Falls Dam, no harvest of game fish species is allowed between October 16th and the Friday before Memorial Day (that’s May 28th in 2021). In addition, anglers are not allowed to use bait and must use barbless hooks during this period. Bait and barbed hooks are allowed starting the Saturday before Memorial Day; however, the regulations still differ from the general fishing regulations. During this time, the daily bag limit for bass is two (both species combined) and the trout daily bag limit is six. Only two of a six trout daily bag may be cutthroat trout, and only two trout of any species may be longer than 16 inches.

From Eagle Rock downstream to the Gifford Springs area, the bass limit is two and trout limit is six. Again, only two of any trout in a six limit daily bag may be cutthroat trout. Any size trout may be harvested in this reach.

The intent of special angling regulations is to control angler interactions in a way that supports management direction and provides specific angling experiences. Special rules are an important tool that fishery managers use throughout the state to shape fisheries and angling experiences congruent with the state’s Fisheries Management Plan. Remember, nongame fish species may be harvested by any legal method at any time during the year.

Anglers are encouraged to contact the Southeast Regional office or try out IDFG’s fishing planner (https://idfg.idaho.gov/ifwis/fishingplanner/) for additional guidance and regulation-related information. For more about how to interpret and use the IDFG fishing proclamations, check out this video resource (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ZUbcBfalaM&feature=youtu.be).


Publishers Notes: Our country is still battling COVID-19. To avoid the spread of this virus and continue to enjoy outdoor activities, ALL outdoor enthusiasts (man, woman, child) should follow the guidelines set by nps.gov. These guidelines include; social distancing, the Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out, to keep outdoor spaces safe and healthy.
The tailrace fishery on the Snake River downstream of American Falls Dam to Eagle Rock has really grown in popularity over the past decade. This stretch of the Snake River has long produced a fabulous recreational fishery, one that has increased in both quality and diversity over recent history. 

Angler effort has followed suit, and for good reason—the fishing can be downright great throughout much of the year! The fishery is primarily supported by a combination of rainbow trout, brown trout, smallmouth bass, and white sturgeon. Anglers from near and far enjoy this stretch of river and it has become somewhat of a destination trout fishery.  

This winter has been no exception, with recent angler effort being fairly high. Along with that, Fish and Game has documented an unusually high rate of non-compliance with the winter fishing regulations. In fact, Conservation Officers have detected several hundred angling-related violations over the past year along this stretch of river.