I’m a planner. Since I started kindergarten, I’ve always known my next step. First, it was all about when homework assignments were due, when the next field trip was, what library book I would check out next. As I grew older, every class I took, every extracurricular I participated in, and every summer camp I signed up for had a purpose. I knew how each and every little thing fit into my larger academic and career plan. But when I arrived in Ashton two days after graduating college in mid-June of last year, I didn’t have a plan beyond my ten-week internship.
On Tuesday, July 19, 2016 from 2:15pm to 6:30pm, the Henry's Fork Foundation is hosting a Community Blood Drive through the American Red Cross at the Ashton Community Center. To schedule an appointment or for more information, please contact Julie Maurer at 208-346-2895 or visit redcrossblood.org. Walk-ins are welcome. Please mark your calendar and consider donating.
In celebration of World Fish Migration Day, a day focused on restoring fish migration routes, and in recognition of the Buffalo River Fish Ladder as an integral piece for trout migration in the upper Henry’s Fork, I’m writing this blog to share information on what we are seeing so far this sampling season.
In my blog on Friday, I gave a comprehensive review of the current status of snowmelt and runoff in the upper Henry’s Fork watershed. Despite cooler daytime temperature highs over the weekend, warmer nighttime lows and rain contributed to accelerated snowmelt between Friday and Monday. Both the Crab Creek and Island Park SnoTel sites report large decreases in Snow Water Equivalent (SWE) over the last few days, with both locations losing about 2 inches. Weekend weather left Crab Creek with 2.4 inches of SWE and Island Park with 1.6 inches.
With increased natural flow, elevated turbidity levels, and the disappearance of snowy horizons, runoff has signaled its arrival throughout much of the Henry’s Fork basin. Using Snow Telemetry (SnoTel) data, this blog will discuss how the current status of snowmelt and runoff in the Henry’s Fork headwaters compare to historic data and what this means for streamflow during the prime fishing time of mid- to late-June.
As of this posting, we have been trapping fish moving up the Buffalo River Fish Ladder for the past six weeks. As promised, I have put together some information to share what we have seen so far this sampling season and how that compares to what we have seen in the past.
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.
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.