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Don’t be caught flatfooted now in January when that next fishing trip or late-winter hunting opportunity presents itself. Renewing your annual Idaho hunting and/or fishing license is quick and easy, and can be done right from your computer or cellphone. So pull the trigger on that 2022 Idaho hunting and fishing license and take advantage of these year-round opportunities.

Ice fishing

Your buddy calls you up says he’s headed out ice fishing later that morning. You throw your rod and tackle in the back of the rig, and maybe the optimist in you dusts off the fish cooler, and before you know it you’re halfway to the hardwater when you realize that 2021 fishing license in your wallet is about as useless as a rubber hook. Avoid the two-hour profanity-laced car ride back home and get yourself a 2022 fishing license now.

Ice fishing is one of the most coveted times of year for die-hard anglers looking to catch an array of fish species across the state, from jumbo yellow perch to rainbow trout. Fishing out on the ice is a great way to stay busy during the slower, colder months and also a chance to gather some friends and family members for a fierce (but friendly) fish-off. Say that five times really fast.

No matter where in Idaho you call home, chances are you can find a productive ice fishery in your neck of the woods or just a short drive away. And if you’re not sure where to go, check out IDFG’s list on the website of the best ice fishing destinations located all around the state.

Steelhead fishing

Despite low returns in 2021 for native fish, steelhead still offer up a great opportunity to get anglers out on the water during the middle of winter. Don’t be ill-prepared when spring steelhead season opens on Jan. 1. Hatchery steelhead (which have clipped adipose fins) populate a handful of stunning fisheries across the state and offer anglers a chance at catching some mega fish.

Anglers should be aware of the updated steelhead seasons and limits approved by the Fish and Game Commission on November 16. In response to low steelhead return rates, the Commission approved a variety of changes to fisheries across the state, including modifications to the 2022 spring seasons to ensure a healthy broodstock.

Be sure to check out Idaho Fish and Game’s steelhead page on the website before heading out. The modified seasons and bag limits can be a little challenging to navigate, so check out Fisheries Regional Manager Joe DuPont’s in-depth look at the newly adopted steelhead seasons.

In addition to a valid 2022 fishing license, anglers looking to hook one of the hatchery steelhead need a steelhead permit. Permits can be purchased at any Fish and Game office or numerous vendors across the state.

Small game hunting

If you’d rather be in the mountains than in two-feet of near-freezing water, you’re not alone. Hunters still looking to fill their freezers with little morsels of mountain game still can do so in 2022 with these winter hunting opportunities. Whether you’re after snowshoe hares, cottontail rabbits or pine squirrels, there is more than enough reason to keep the .22 or small-gauge shotgun off the bench this winter.

The hunting season for cottontail rabbits, snowshoe hares and red squirrels last through March 31. Stay busy up in the woods this winter and spring and make sure your hunting license is up to date.

Birds

Whether you’re an upland bird aficionado or a waterfowl fiend, January offers up a multitude of bird hunting options around the state. Most duck and Canada geese seasons are open during at least part of January, into February for white-fronted geese, and as late as March for light geese in parts of the state. Likewise, seasons for chukar, Hungarian partridge, and California quail are also in full swing during the month of January and can be an excellent way to get you and your best friend (the tail-wagging kind) out in the hills and mud flats this winter.

See the migratory waterfowl and upland game bird rules booklet on the IDFG website for season dates. Go to: idfg.idaho.gov.

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