Recent Articles: Magic Valley

Fall Steelhead - Oxbow Fish Hatchery

Ever wonder where the steelhead stocked in the Boise River originate and why they don't arrive until late fall? Check the following websites for the latest information on Snake River steelhead and the complex coordination that determines their destination.

http://www.ktvb.com/videos/news/features/2014/11/20/19313939/

and

http://magicvalley.com/lifestyles/recreation/hatchery-recaptures-build-steelhead-fishing-season/article_042b57e8-af32-5de6-bc93-dba8981972c9.html

 

 

 

Brownlee Reservoir Smallmouth Fishing

Fall is a fun time to fish local reservoirs.  A trip to Brownlee Reservoir last week brought fast and furious fishing on smallmouth bass and an occasional crappie.

The best color lures seemed to be green or brown.  Worms, jigs, and lures all seemed to work.  Cast in close to the bank and do a slow-jerk retrieval. Red/yellow top-water popers also worked well.

Most of the bass were 10 - 12".  Larger bass can be found in deeper water.

We also found a few small crappie.  Fish the rocky points in about 20' of water.

 

 

"Tigers" on the Loose in Boise

Before you panic, we're talking about tiger salamanders. Several people have recently sent photos or reported finding alien-like creatures in pool filters and damp locations throughout the City of Boise.  We also had a crayfish trapper in the Magic Valley surprised with a large "tiger" in his trap.

This Idaho native is a unique amphibian that can be found from low elevation streams to high mountain lakes. It spends most of its life underground and can grow to nearly a foot in length (very rare in Idaho).  They say, "Mother Nature has no ugly children."  Well, if that is indeed true, the "tiger" comes as close to ugly as you can get without stepping over the line.

So, when you're out fishing, roll a rock now and then and see if you can find a hiding tiger - salamander, that is.

Nationwide, Fishing Continues to Gain New Followers

Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF) Releases Special Report on Fishing

Report Reveals Nationwide Increased Participation among Women Youth Hispanics

The lure of recreational fishing remains strong, according to the 2014 Special Report on Fishing, recently released by RBFF and the Outdoor Foundation. According to the report, there were 4.1 million newcomers to fishing in 2013, an increase from the 3.5 million average new anglers per year between 2007 and 2012. Additionally, women, children and Hispanics showed increases in participation.

"We're happy to see new, diverse and young audiences take up fishing at historic rates," said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. "These numbers reinforce our initiatives to engage and retain first-time and Hispanic anglers, and validate our overall efforts to increase fishing license and boat registration sales, which contribute to state fish and wildlife conservation efforts."

"Fishing and boating represent two critical outdoor activities that are key to keeping Americans involved in the outdoors,” said Christine Fanning, Executive Director of the Outdoor Foundation. “We’re thrilled to partner, once again, with the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation on this important research project."

The sixth annual report details fishing participation by gender, age, ethnicity, income, education and geography.

TOP 10 REPORT LEARNINGS:

Women anglers – Almost 42% of first-time fishing participants are female
Number of outings for Hispanic participants – Hispanic fishing participants average 24.4 days on the water per year; almost five days more than the average for all fishing participants (19.7 days)
Youth – Fishing participation as a child has a powerful effect on future participation - 83.7% of adult anglers fished as a child
Influencers – Parents, siblings and friends continue to be the largest influencers to the introduction of fishing; specifically, parents introduce 81.8% of 6-12 year olds and 76.6% of 13-17 year olds
Social – Over 83% of fishing trips involve more than one person
Most popular – Freshwater fishing remains the most popular type of fishing (almost 38 million), with more than 3x the number of participants as saltwater fishing
Fly fishing – 14% percent of fly fishing participants were new to the sport
Spontaneous – Most fishing trips are spontaneous or planned within a week of the trip (79%)
Reasons to fish – Catching fish and enjoying the sounds/smells of nature. Over 80% of participants report catching fish during their last fishing trip
License purchase – 27% of fishing participants (of license-buying age) are not buying fishing licenses, which means revenue used for conservation is being left on the table

Sure Sign That Fall is Close

Kokanee Salmon add Color to Idaho Streams

As autumn approaches many outdoor adventurers enjoy watching a natural transformation that changes the look of Idaho’s high country; while the autumn sky is filled with the colors of changing leaves, so are many small Idaho streams filled with the color of spawning kokanee salmon.

Kokanee are a land-locked version of the anadromous sockeye salmon which spend most of their adult lives in the ocean then return to places like the Stanley Basin to spawn.  The domesticated kokanee planted in Idaho reservoirs and lakes originated in Washington state in the 1930’s and 40’s.  They have been successfully introduced into many lakes and reservoirs around Idaho including:  Lake Pend Oreille, Lake Coeur d’Alene, Priest Lake, Dworshak Reservoir, Payette Lake, Warm Lake, Lucky Peak, Arrowrock Reservoir, Anderson Ranch Reservoir,  Deadwood Reservoir, Island Park Reservoir and Ririe Reservoir – just to name a few.

Kokanee can grow to 18 inches but the “typical” Idaho kokanee is 10 to 14 inches long. Many would argue they are the most flavorful freshwater fish found anywhere.

Kokanee spend much of their lives eating plankton and aquatic insects, following food sources in the water column. In spring and early summer they can be found in as little as five feet of water, but as temperatures warm in the summer, kokanee go as deep as 20 to 30 feet. Immature kokanee are silver to blue (hence the north Idaho name “blueback”) with a “football” shaped body. Like their salt water cousins the sockeye, their meat is pink to red and is highly prized for its rich flavor.

Kokanee reach maturity and spawn between the ages of 2 and 4 - depending on how fast they grow. When they prepare to spawn, their colors shift to a vibrant red with a green head. This transformation makes kokanee highly visible in streams and along shorelines – not only to people but to predatory birds.  In north Idaho, large groups of bald eagles congregate to prey on the spawning fish. This provides wildlife watchers multiple opportunities to observe nature in action.

Early spawning Kokanee are visible in Mores Creek, the Middle Fork Boise, South Fork Boise and Deadwood River as early as Labor Day Weekend.  Spawning in north Idaho generally starts a few weeks later, and peaks around Thanksgiving.

Beasts of Idaho's Mountain Lakes

August is prime mountain lake fishing season.  If you're fishing mountain lakes that contain many brook trout, don't be surprised to see an occasional lunker northern pike.  We have an on-going evaluation on the effectiveness of predatory sterile northern pike on reducing stunted/over-populated brook trout in Idaho's mountain lakes.  These fish are "eating" machines that will consume many times their weight in fish.

If you observe or catch a northern pike, please release it back into the lake so it can continue making fishing better.

 

Little Salmon River/Rapid River Trap - June 16

This past weekend was the busiest weekend yet for the little salmon. Lots of people showed up for free fishing day and our highest count of anglers for the day was 285. With the change in weather, fish catch started to slow down over the weekend. There were not as many anglers getting limits. Anglers reported getting lots of bites, but not being able to land fish. River levels have really gone down, and you can walk to the confluence without waders. But, there is not as many anglers fishing at the confluence anymore. I heard reports that the water temperature was around 43 degrees. Fish in the trap last night were around 192, with a total at the hatchery being around 1000 or so.

 

Rapid River Trap Report - June 14

Fishing has been great this week, an average of 50 fish are surveyed each shift (~8 hours) in the beginning of the week, and today 80 fish were surveyed from 14:00 to 22:00. The trap at Rapid River has been getting between 150-300 salmon per day this week. Many anglers here for the weekend, around 200 counted today. I did notice parking along I-95 at the mouth of the Rapid River has been hectic, and drivers on the interstate aren't slowing down. I have seen numerous semi trucks and other vehicles fly by and passing on a double yellow when people are walking or trying to park on the side of the road (Just thought I would bring it to attention). Free Fishing Day this Saturday should turn out to be a great day with lots more salmon to be caught and many  more anglers.

 

-Nathan