Thursday, July 24, 2014 - 1:28pm
|The girls in front of Millionaires|
Determined to live out west, I interned last summer in Bozeman, MT and (as expected) fell in love with the Northern Rockies. Now, a year later, my internship with the Henry’s Fork Foundation (HFF) has taken me back to the area I love so much.
Although I gained an appreciation for the fly fishing culture last summer, nothing prepared me for the fly fishing scene at the Henry’s Fork. This 127 mile long tributary of the Snake River is prized for its superb fishing, especially dry fly fishing. Anglers are drawn here from around the world with the goal of hooking and landing one of the Henry’s Fork prized trout.
|Humming to snails gets them to come out of their shell!|
As the only organization solely devoted to preserving the Henry’s Fork, HFF interns are always busy. There are two main projects going on: a habitat study and an angler satisfaction study. A grad student from Grand Valley State, Zack Kuzniar, is researching which habitat rainbow trout prefer, and all six interns are helping him out. Prior to the start of my internship, over 40 fish were tagged with radio trackers. We then spend the rest of the summer tracking this fish to see which habitat they prefer to live in. Zach walks around the riverbank with a radiotelemetry reader to try and pick up the signals from the tagged fish. Two interns follow him carrying all of the supplies needed to survey the habitat. Once Zach locates a fish, we examine what the habitat is like by looking at factors such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, depth, water velocity, substrate size, and macrophyte growth. By the end of this summer, Zach will know what factors these rainbow trout favor.The angler satisfaction study is the other main project the interns are undertaking this summer. The goal of this study is to let the anglers voice their opinions regarding the condition of the Henry’s Fork. Every day, two interns drive to several access points and interview the anglers as they follow him carrying all of the supplies needed to survey the habitat. Once Zach locates a fish, we examine what the habitat is like by looking at factors such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, depth, water velocity, substrate size, and macrophyte growth. By the end of this summer, Zach will know what factors these rainbow trout favor.
|Working on the Buffalo Fish Ladder|
In addition to interviewing anglers and surveying the habitat, we monitor the Buffalo fish ladder, take water samples, and assist with various odd jobs around the river. Every week or so, one or two interns spend the day imputing the data we have gathered from the Habitat Study and Angler Surveys. The variety of jobs and tasks keeps things from getting monotonous. Every day on the river is unique and you never know what you might see. This week, I saw a mama moose with her calf wading by Millionaires!
When we are not working, HFF interns spend their free time discovering what makes Idaho so special and enjoying the fresh mountain air. As an avid rock climber, hiker, and cyclist, most of my free time is spent exploring the nearby mountain ranges and open roads. Although I have seen so much, its hard to believe that I only have four weeks left here. There are still so many items left on my to-do list!