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IDFG lifts ban on out-of-state license sales

by RALPH BARTHOLDT
Staff Writer | May 15, 2020 1:00 AM

Idaho Fish and Game will resume selling out-of-state fishing and hunting licenses beginning Saturday, according to the department.

The decision by the commission coincided with Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s latest directives on opening up the state following almost two months of closures because of COVID-19.

The news was a surprise to local guides who had been turning down trips from out-of-state residents, a springtime bread-and-butter industry, because of state restrictions.

Mike Beard of Orvis Northwest Outfitters, who turned down five guided fishing trips from out-of-state residents in the last two days, was elated at the news.

“That’s really good,” said Beard, who employs as many as 10 fishing guides during the season on the Coeur d’Alene River.

So far this year, high water has kept most people away from the river.

“That’s been kind of a blessing,” Beard said.

Last year at this time, lower flows made fishing the river a prime destination for guided trips.

He had been telling clients that he didn’t expect out-of-state licenses to go on sale again until sometime in June, which skipped the traditionally prime end of May fishing week.

The latest order will allow him to begin filling his calendar with paying clients.

“This is outstanding,” Beard said.

Out-of-state licenses, tags and permits will be available for sale beginning 10 a.m. Saturday, according to Fish and Game. They were suspended in April in support of the stay-home order in Idaho and many other states.