Just hours before steelhead fishing was closed for good in Idaho, the threat of lawsuits was eliminated and Idaho’s river towns were saved. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game made the announcement late last week.

“This is a great day for Idahoans, especially those who enjoy steelhead fishing on our incredible rivers. It has been an honor to work alongside all of you as we brought to light the threats of frivolous lawsuits and the impact they would have on our communities,” said Sen. Carl Crabtree. “To the people of Riggins, I applaud your tenacity and dedication to working to find a reasonable solution to an irrational problem.”

While some environmental groups attempted to stop fishing, Sen. Crabtree worked closely with residents, businesses, community leaders and Fish and Game to prevent those groups from moving forward.

The newly formed advocacy group, Idaho River Community Alliance, and the people of central Idaho’s river towns were planning to gather last Saturday before the announcement came that Idaho’s steelhead fishing season would not be closed.

On Nov. 14, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously to suspend steelhead fishing after several groups threatened a lawsuit against the IDFG for its lack of an incidental take permit from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Although the state had been operating a steelhead season under an agreement with NOAA, the threat of a suit resulted in a closure of the winter season. The decision was not based on a biological opinion. Rather, it was done over an administrative technicality.  

Riggins, population 400, is uniquely situated to be a hotbed of steelhead fishing in January, February and March. Those months are critical to the Riggins economy as thousands of anglers come to the Salmon River to catch a prized steelhead.

Sen. Jeff Agenbroad, District 13, to Serve on Two Legislative Committees. Agenbroad said he is honored to be reappointed to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) and will serve for the first time on the Commerce and Human Resources Committee, as vice chair.

Agenbroad is a small business owner and banker who brings decades of experience and dedication to both committees while ensuring proper oversight and accountability of taxpayers’ money.

“Serving on JFAC brings a lot of responsibility and as a member of this important and critical committee, I am committed to ensuring that we not only continue to be a fiscally responsible state, but that our leaders and government agencies are held accountable and provide outcomes that show success,” said Agenbroard.

On the Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee, Agenbroad will focus on the state’s economy and make solid decisions that will affect Idaho businesses, both big and small.

Sen. Carl Crabtree, District 7, Appointed vice chair of the Senate Transportation Committee. Crabtree will serve on three legislative committees during the 2019 Legislative Session, including a return to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC).

He will serve as vice chair of Senate Transportation this session and for the first time on the Senate Health and Welfare Committee.

“As a returning member of JFAC, my priorities remain focused on funding based on need and requiring measurable outcomes for every dollar spent. We’ve had agencies come forward asking for nine percent increases for their yearly budgets; that will not happen,” Crabtree said. “There’s some belt-tightening that needs to take place, and I’m there to make sure that gets done.”

On the Senate Transportation Committee, Crabtree is focused on advocating for fairness in the trucking industry and promoting maintenance on roads and bridges necessary for commerce in District 7 and throughout the state.