This year's Annual Meeting is SEPARATE from the THAW! (More on the THAW below.)
This year's Annual Meeting is in Lewiston.
This year's meeting starts off with a BANG on Day-1 (Dec. 3), with an intensive Tag Allocation Workshop, 2-hour hands-on Quickbooks training, First-Aid/CPR Recertification course, Redside workshop on storytelling, and the big event: an all-afternoon Forum Event on Salmon, Steelhead & the Outfitting & Guiding Industry moderated by Rocky Barker.
But that's just the beginning! Take a look at the full (Draft) Agenda HERE.
IOGA is revamping The Thaw, our premier fundraising event of the year, but with key, familiar elements sticking around. As in previous years, this year's dinner event will feature a silent auction (with all kinds of great gear and items for outfitter businesses and the outfitted public) and a live auction as well as the opportunity to mingle with your colleagues from across the state. The dinner will also feature keynote speaker (to be announced soon) and live music.
Registration is open and table and corporate sponsorships are available.
Earlier this month, Jeff Bitton (IOGA Board President) and I (Aaron Lieberman, E.D.), traveled to Palisades for a meeting we organized with East Idaho Outfitters & Guides. The chief purpose of organizing the meeting was to get informed about what issues are most significant, immediate or otherwise at the forefront for members of our industry operating in the Eastern portion of the state—and to determine whether there are areas or issues where IOGA might offer support.
It is a top priority, both for myself and as directed by the Board, that IOGA restore and reaffirm its representation of Idaho Outfitters & guides across the state, in all regions. To this end, we are committed to reaching out to all parts of the state, finding out what the issues are, and to help outfitter businesses become more resilient, informed, engaged and successful. We are all strengthened in-and-by our ability to address issues on the federal, state and local levels when we stand together as a statewide organization of outfitters and guides.
So, I'd like to thank all of those who took time out of their schedules to attend the meeting (with a special thanks to the Lodge at Palisades Creek for hosting us). Our discussions were informative and valuable to me personally, as I hope they were for everyone in attendance. Those discussions touched on a number of topics: At our meeting, we covered the following issues and more:
Allocation of outfitted hunter deer and elk tags;
use days on the Snake River regarding sturgeon fishing;
public perception of outfitted activities.
the demand for health and livery insurance for guides;
concerns regarding water level variation on sections of the Snake River.
In addition to the topics above, we spent a good amount of time in our meeting in Eastern Idaho discussing the perennial issue of enforcement/regulation of illegal outfitting/guiding, which is a great segue to the next topic.
ILLEGAL OUTFITTING & GUIDING: NEW TOOL-- FEEDBACK NEEDED
In recognition of the importance of the issue to outfitters and guides in East Idaho, no less statewide, I came to the E. Idaho meeting with a prototype for a tool to present to the group and to gather input. Now I'd like to share it with you all here.
Below is the short version of the summary. If it doesn't make sense, or you need an explanation of Google Forms, check out the longer version HERE.
In conversations over the past 4-5 months with individual enforcement officers (from IDFG, BLM, IDL, Reclamation, etc.), there emerged a common theme: The Information Gap. That is, that the biggest challenge to effective enforcement action against illegal outfitting & guiding is information--more and better information, available to them in a more timely manner, shared across and among them and their respective agencies. (Associated Limiting factors to the"Information Gap": Staffing/Resources/Money. Enough said.)
So, what they need (or part of it) is a way to effectively and widely collect and share information, which is available to certain people immediately. Luckily, technology is magic, and Google Forms magic is pretty free. (If you don't know what Google Forms is or how it works, you might want to switch to the long version HERE)
For outfitting operations with set "post-trip" processes, filling out the form--when applicable--could be incorporated into the flow.
So, anytime an outfitter/guide observes sketchy, probably-pirate activity, they report it from their phone or a computer using the form. Enforcement officers (as many ion as many areas/departments/agencies, etc.) are alerted when new form submission comes through in real-time.
In this way, enforcement officers across any and all branches/agencies/departments would have real-time, pertinent and theoretically actionable information to use in building cases and taking action again the bad actors out there giving the rest of us a bad name.
Please take a look or try it out if you have a chance and let me know if you have any suggestions for how it might be improved, or else whether you think it could be a useful tool more generally.
IOGLB NEGOTIATED RULEMAKING: UPDATE
There has been a lot going on with IOGLB rules/rulemaking over the past 6-months, and frankly, understanding the overlapping processes can be tough. But the jist is that the Licensing Board has, in this period of time, engaged in rulemaking:
in order to implement their portion of the new statute regarding tag allocation, and;
as required by the overlapping directives/requirements (a) from the Governor's Office, to streamline rules/regulation, and (b) resulting from the--unprecedented--lack of legislative rule reauthorization at the end of last session.
In effect, this meant that our industry had a unique opportunity to comment on and propose changes/additions to the rules that regulate key parts of our industry, which the Association and numerous individuals from the industry did.
IOGA, for our part, offered extensive comments and suggestions to the Board. You can review IOGA's comment(s) on the IOGLB rules, submitted to the Board in July, prior to the last negotiated rulemaking hearing (HERE).
But the thing you should really take a look at is the comment and discussion summary HEREthat the Board used to aggregate public comment by specific rule/issue and in turn, discuss and make decisions.
The version of this document linked-to above does not include notes about any decisions, postponements (to decision), or the content of discussions surrounding any given rule/area. ** But the IOGLB expects to have an updated version with these mentioned annotations sometime in the next 1-2 weeks for public review.
If you would like to follow up in the meantime for information regarding what happened (or didn't) with any given rule/subject, please feel free to get in touch by email or phone ([email protected] | 208.342.1438)
**In reviewing the document, please keep in mind that the comments they have listed are broad summaries and do not reflect the detail or precise content of the actual comments (from IOGA or otherwise). There are also several cases where the summary of IOGA comment is misleading (absent context) or where comments had been rescinded early on in the rulemaking process. For a real understanding of IOGA's comment on any given rule/any language, you will need to open IOGA's full comment document.
Steelhead Season Closure on the Clearwater & Sections of the Snake
Late last month, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission closed all steelhead fishing on the entirety of the Clearwater River and on the Snake River downstream of the Couse Creek in both Idaho and Washington due to the inordinately low projected returns of hatchery B-run steelhead. (These projections continue to forecast that too few steelhead will return to meet the Broodstock needs for Dworshak.) This is the first time that the Clearwater has been closed to Steelhead fishing outright before the sportfishing season even began. (Please take a minute to read about the basis for the Fish & Came Commission's decision: The data behind the Commission's decision to close steelhead fishing in the Clearwater).
In a bitter stroke of cosmic congruity, the IDFG Commission's announcement came midway through the 2nd day of the Lewiston Meeting of the Governor's Workgroup on Salmon & Steelhead Recovery. Fellow Workgroup members and I heard comment from several members of our industry that afternoon in the wake of the announcement. The comments from the industry did not assign blame, nor demand any particular action. They were heartfelt and spoke to the sense of helplessness and uncertainty shared by many fishing outfitters in our state right now. They also emphasized the likeness, shared values, and entwined-futures of different stakeholder groups. Finally, they implored that the workgroup do whatever it can to, whatever is possible, to help them--our industry. (Take a minute to read comment provided by guide and retired outfitter Jerry Myers HERE.)
This appeal for meaningful action leading to real results for Idaho's Salmon & Steelhead is especially poignant against the backdrop of the closure of the Steelhead season on the Clearwater.
Our fellow outfitters and guides on the Clearwater are hurting. What's more, the economic impact of the steelhead season closure will have significant consequences for towns and communities across Clearwater and Nez Perce Counties.
Idaho Department of Labor's low estimate is that salmon and steelhead fishing brings ~$8.61 million per month into the region and that the closure stands to lead to the loss of 43 jobs and over $1 million in wages.
I've also run some basic calculations (utilizing Idaho Department of Labor revenue figures and use reports provided by the Licensing Board) to try to develop an estimated base economic impact specific to outfitted steelhead fishing. Here is the summary of that calculation sequence.
The Idaho Department of Labor (IDL) estimates that the daily generated spending associated with Salmon/Steelhead fishing trip is ~$350.
Idaho Outfitters & Guides Licensing Board (IOGLB) use reports show 14,568 reported outfitted Use Days (I.e., trip days) for Steelhead in 2017.
This [use] number (14,568) multiplied by the $350 per use-day (i.e., trip,) figure from IDL and we arrive at $5,098,800 million in direct economic spending (not overall output or impact) generated by outfitted Steelhead fishing statewide in 2017.
Large as that number is, it only represents the direct spending generated by those outfitted trips and not the overall economic impact. That total generated output number is indubitably much higher.
Here is what that $5 million estimate does not tell us or does not include.
It does not tell us about the Clearwater in particular (but it gives us a good idea).
It does not include the estimated 1,000,000 in lost wages nor take into account the money those people would have spent from their earnings.
It does not factor in the [many] chained economic multipliers for the local economy, manufacturers, etc.
Finally, it therefore does not reflect the full economic impact of guided steelhead fishing statewide--let alone specifically on the Clearwater region (that sum would be much higher).
As is the case most anywhere in rural Idaho, many businesses in Clearwater and Nez Perce counties (if not most) rely on the earnings they receive from tourism. Kathryn tacke with IDL was recently quoted explaining this point: “A lot of businesses couldn’t survive without tourism. It might only be 10 percent of their business, but it’s the percent that makes them profitable.”
We're All In This Together & Are Stronger When We Act Like It
Our people over there are hurting (they are our people) and we are all in the same proverbial boat. Our success as individual businesses, or the strength of our particular sector within the broader industry, is more ecosystem than subdivision.There's more than just metaphor to that.
Different Sectors, Same Communities
A big hit (closure/biological plague/etc.) to any industry sector in any given region or community has a ripple effect in the local economy--on the public perception of those places as destinations, on the tax revenue that helps those places improve their infrastructure/utilities/services/marketing and so make them tourist destinations and places that potential guides want to make their homes, on the number of each successive generation that sticks around or returns home to maintain the spirit, values, and memory of a place. It means fewer heads in beds in local hotels, fewer folks at the local cafes and diners, buying gas, or coming back next year because they had that positive memorable experience.
Different Communities, Same Sectors, Same Industry
Insofar as events like the steelhead season closure on the Clearwater weaken, if not shut down, outfitting businesses, that sector of our industry as a whole suffers--perhaps not in degree or immediacy, but in aggregate effect. Fewer or weaker fishing outfitting businesses and guides means fewer collective resources--human and otherwise--to mobilize in defense of or advocacy for that entire sector of the industry should threat or opportunity arise (e.g., threatening legislation, regulatory action, etc.). Similarly and in turn, the weaker any one sector of our industry, the weaker our industry in Idaho as a whole--for and by the same principles.
So we should all do what we can, to the extent we can, to support our fellow fishing guides and outfitters on the Clearwater--from reaching out to an outfitter or guide you know if you have work or know of an opportunity. If you have work or leads but don't know who to contact about it form the Clearwater, send them to us and we'll get the word out.
The Clearwater Steelhead Closure as a Symptom
The point is also, more broadly, that our industry needs meaningfully engage this issue--not just the closure of the Clearwater, but of the status, future and consequences to our industry associated with the longitudinal decline Salmon & Steelhead returns in Idaho. Reading this, you may think this a tacit call for dam removal. It is not. While the position of the Association has since 1999, by membership resolution, supported the retirement of the Lower Four Snake River Dams, that is not the thrust here.
This is not a call to or for any particular action, but a wake-up call. The point here is that it is time that we once again meaningfully engage this issue as an association and as an industry, to (re)inform ourselves and each other, to discuss the state of things, the consequences of action and inaction, to decide what this issue is worth to us, where we want to go and how we get there. It is for this purpose that IOGA is hosting a forum on "Salmon, Steelhead and the Outfitting Industry" in conjunction with our annual meeting this year.
Please attend, listen, ask questions, discuss and help us engage this issue as an Association and as an industry.
Governor's Workgroup on Salmon & Steelhead - Twin Falls
The Fourth meeting of the Governor's workgroup on Salmon & Steelhead is scheduled for October 29-30 in Twin Falls. There is an opportunity for public comment on the 30th.
We strongly encourage outfitters and guides, in particular those licensed for salmon/steelhead fishing, to attend the meeting and share your perspectives on this important issue. Our industry is, in no small part, built upon the health and success of these fish, and the state of Idaho is built upon the health and success of our industry. Members of the work group as well as the general public, need to understand how integral sport fishing is to not only the state's economy, but also our sense of community and connection. It is up to us to communicate this message and protect the fish that we all rely on.
If you would like to submit comment but cannot appear in person, here is the link to the Public Comment Form.
(If you are an outfitter or guide and are motivated to attend and speak at the upcoming workgroup meeting, please contact us for any help you might need finding transport or with any questions you might have regarding the meeting or the broader issue itself.)
Salmon-Challis National Forest Revision Plan Update
Last Month, Forest Supervisor Chuck Mark announced the Salmon-Challis National Forest will change direction and evaluate the 1988 Salmon Forest Plan and the 1987 Challis Forest Plan separately.
In 2017 forest plan revision efforts were initiated with the idea of developing one plan for the two forests that were administratively combined more than 20 years ago. However, after receiving public input the Salmon-Challis National Forest determined the best approach would be to develop separate plans.
Mark states that "public engagement has been robust and passionate... A strong theme from stakeholders is that the Salmon-Challis National Forest represents a vast and diverse landscape with communities that have distinct values and culture. People want to know that we recognize the unique ecology and social dynamics that exist on the Salmon-Challis.”
Here is a link to the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document the Forest put together about the shift: SCNF FAQ
The Forest Plan Revision Team has been hosting monthly webinar updates. The latest webinar focused on the shift in the split plan shift. You can access the recording of the September 2019 webinar HERE
The next revision update webinar is scheduled for 12:00pm - 1:00 pm, October 23.
Remembering Leo Crane
Leo Kendall Crane, 84, was quietly and peacefully called home Monday, Sept. 30, 2019, because of a massive heart attack. As he had said many times over the past few years, “I’m tired, I hurt all the time and I just wish I could be done.” He passed on his pontoon boat at Rooney Creek near his beloved cabins with his dog at his side.
Leo was born in Pocatello on June 3, 1935, to Lloyd Crane and Ethel Munn Crane.
After graduating from Pocatello High School in 1953, he married Renae Smith, lived in Arbon Valley and enjoyed farming. They had two children and were divorced after eight years. He later married Zola (divorced after eight years), Elaine (divorced after six years), and Virginia (divorced after five years). Leo married Deloris (Dee) Johnston in August 1993 and had lived in Orofino since 1978.
Having purchased Clearwater Outfitters in northern Idaho in 1964, he remained an outfitter until his passing. The hunting, fishing, packing and guiding lifestyle was the kind of work he loved, and he did it well. Leo operated Clearwater Outfitters in the Mallard Larkin Pioneer Area until 2005, when he sold the backcountry portion of his license and started Lake-n-Leather Outfitters, where he operated on the lower Smith Ridge and Dworshak Reservoir.
He was a lifetime member of the Idaho Outfitters & Guides Association, served more than 10 years on the Clearwater Basin Collaborative, served 12 years on Idaho Outfitters & Guides Licensing Board (appointed by three different governors) and was the longest licensed outfitter in the state of Idaho, serving the public for 55 years. He was a member of the Twin Ridge Fire District and helped cook rib-eye steaks at Orofino’s annual Spring Roundup for 15 years.
A well-respected man, Leo was from the “old school.” He told many wonderful stories of his life experiences and was often a man of few words that those around him listened to. This “Man of the Mountains” had a kind and generous heart that will be missed by all who knew and loved him. While we thank God for the blessing of having him in our lives, heaven has received another special “cowboy angel” to watch over those he left behind.
A celebration of life will be held later this fall after the hunting seasons are over.
Idaho Conference on Recreation & Tourism October 21-23, 2019 | Sun Valley, ID
Panel - Idaho: Our Fish, Our Past, Our Future @ City Center October 22, 2019 | Salmon, ID
Travel Council Meeting: October 24, 2019 | Sun Valley, ID
4th Meeting of the Governor's Workgroup on Salmon & Steelhead | October 29-30, 2019 | Twin Falls, Idaho
IOGA Board Meeting(s): December 2 & 6, 2019 | Clearwater Casino | Lewiston, ID
IOGA Annual Meeting: December 3-5, 2019 | Clearwater Casino | Lewiston, ID
America Outdoors Conference & Outfitter Expo: December 9-12, 2019 | Salt Lake City, UT
The THAW | IOGA Annual Gala: February 19, 2020 | Riverside Hotel | Boise, ID
For Sale: Iridium 9505A Satellite Phone
AC Travel Charger & International Plug Kit,
Auto Accessory Adapter,
Leather Carry Case with Lanyard Wrist Strap,
Antenna Adapter and Portable Auxiliary Antenna.
($200.00) Contact Sue @ 208-935-5023.
Looking for Help?
Elm Outfitters & Guides Training School Program has students ready and eager to go to work. If you are in need of a well-trained individual(s) for Fall, Summer, or Spring seasons i.e. Packers/Guides/Wranglers. Please give us a call or email.
Michael & Julie Knott
Elm Outfitters & Guides Training Program Inc.
Email: [email protected]
Outfitting Business for Sale
The owners are retiring and offering the business for sale.
Summary Key Points of the Business
Idaho outfitters enjoy unique operating areas giving them exclusive commercial rights within their areas. No competition with other outfitters within your area.
The hunting regulations for this unit allow any weapon hunting for rutting elk starting September 15th. You can rifle hunt for bugling elk.
Guaranteed Outfitter Elk Tags. Over the counter for deer, lion, bear and wolf.
Business operates under permit with the Bitterroot National Forest.
Business has 2 historic year-round drive to permanent Base Camps with great facilities allowing for high operational efficiency.
There are approximately 40 trail miles and 20 road miles adjacent to the Wild and Scenic Selway River giving unparalleled fishing and recreational access to this magnificent resource.
There are several purchasing options for the business.
Call Steve at (406) 360-8897 for details
Wilderness Outfitter and Guide business for sale - $350,000
Conducts pack in elk, deer, bear, wolf, mountain lion and other predator hunts
Business has been running over 20 years with a 30% to 50% profit margin
All equipment, livestock, business info and customer data base included
Non-disclosure agreement required for specific information
Michael & Julie Knott
Elm Outfitters & Guides Training Program Inc.
Email: [email protected]