I was first introduced to the Buffalo Fish Ladder in mid-June of 2015 on the first day of my internship. I had arrived the night before after having driven for two days from California and had spent the majority of my first day preparing the field next to the Fisherman’s Access parking lot for Henrys Fork Day. I was just go, go, going and I didn’t quite feel like I had landed in Idaho… until we started netting fish trapped at the top of the Buffalo River Fish Ladder. Seeing Henrys Fork trout, however small, was grounding. It felt like my feet had finally stopped moving.
As of early February, accumulation of snowpack in the Snake River Basin has reached about two-thirds of its annual maximum, which makes this a good time to assess the current water situation and make some projections for the upcoming spring.
A huge thank you to everyone who participated in our 2015 "Sweet Home Henry's Fork" Photo Contest! We received so many beautiful photos from folks all across the country. We are so lucky to spend time in a place as beautful as the Henry's Fork and to have such talented folks to capture their favorite moments on or near the river! Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page as we feature more and more of the great photos we received.
Last year, Rob wrote a "Top-10" blog about HFF's top programmatic accomlishments for the year 2014. We'd like to keep that tradition going, so this year Rob, Brandon, and I came up with HFF's Top-10 List 2015:
2015 was a busy year here at the Henry’s Fork Foundation. Now that the year is coming to a close, we’re counting down our top-10 programmatic accomplishments of 2015.
My fishing during calendar year 2015 ended the same way it began: the sun had just dropped below the horizon, ice was beginning to form on my line, and in the last purple light of a short winter evening I could see a pod of trout in front of me, rising to midges.
Photo: Early winter evening on lower Henry's Fork, December 2015.
I recently created two figures to accompany the quick reference poster of water quality on the Henry’s Fork that was featured in our blog post on October 30th. These figures illustrate the optimal, sub-optimal, stressful, and lethal temperature ranges for Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) and Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).
During the Thanksgiving Holiday, we received a number of calls from concerned anglers about low flows and ice formation on the Henry’s Fork downstream of Island Park Dam. There is no question about it—flows are low; that’s not unexpected following the driest water year since 1941 (see previous blogs and newsletters for details). However, flows are higher than expected given how dry it is, and temperatures have actually been fairly mild compared to other winters when flows were low.
But, your questions and concerns motivated us to dig into the scientific literature and data and provide information on relationships among winter flow, temperature, and trout survival on the Henry’s Fork. We spent most of this week putting together some information we hope will help answer questions and ease fears about the combined effects of low flows and cold temperatures on trout survival in the Henry’s Fork.