Bryce Oldemeyer's blog

Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Management on the South Fork Snake River

Highlights

  • Fall IDFG surveys estimated Rainbow Trout and Rainbow x Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Hybrid abundances nearly doubled in 2018 and set a record high of 3,073 fish/mile in the Conant index reach.
  • If left unmanaged, Rainbow Trout would likely hybridize and out-compete native Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout in the South Fork Snake River.

Buffalo River Fish Ladder: 2018 Summary

Henry’s Fork Rainbow Trout migrating to spawn in the Buffalo River have to pass through the fish ladder at the Buffalo River hydroelectric facility to access upstream habitat. At the end of the fish ladder we, HFF, operate a fish trap from early February through the middle of June. Three times a week we check the Buffalo River fish trap and collect data on species, length, sex, and life histories via passive integrated transponders (PIT) tags if one is present, before passing the fish upstream of the hydroelectric facility.

2017 Box Canyon Rainbow Trout Population Estimate

Every year the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) conducts multi-pass electrofishing surveys on various river reaches in the Upper Snake River region. These surveys provide valuable information on abundance, age-class structure, fish size, and species composition within the fishery. Most recently, IDFG finished its annual survey in the Box Canyon reach of the Henry’s Fork. This post will highlight and explain some of the results of that survey.

 

Invasive Species

Two weeks ago salmonflies started showing up on the lower Henry’s Fork. Once the word got out, fisherman flooded from near and far for the opportunity to catch big fish on big dries.  More than once I heard the classic “you don’t need to bring a boat, you can walk down the river on all the other ones” line. While the river was busy, it wasn’t that bad. After seeing lines of cars and trailers at Ora, Vernon, Chester, etc.

Buffalo River Fish Ladder: April 2017 Update

Henry’s Fork Rainbow Trout migrating to spawn in the Buffalo River have to pass through the fish ladder at the Buffalo River hydroelectric facility to access upstream spawning habitat. At the end of the fish ladder we, HFF, operate a fish trap from early February through the middle of June. Three times a week we check the Buffalo River fish trap and collect data on species, length, sex, and life histories via passive integrated transponders (PIT) tags if one is present.

Brown Trout Redds

The aspens are yellow, the mornings are frosty, and the Brown trout (Salmo trutta) are staging to spawn. Brown trout, like many of their salmonid cousins, migrate from lakes, oceans, or main-stem river reaches to headwater habitat to dig redds (nests in the gravel) and deposit their eggs­1. For Brown trout in the Upper Snake River region, many don’t have access to headwater habitat due to hydraulic barriers and will spawn in main-stem river reaches instead.

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