Fish Stocking in the Buffalo River

Question:

I have noticed in in recent years that the fishing has significantly went down on the Buffalo River. In looking at historical stocking reports, it states that there has been no stocking since 2002. Is there a specific reason for this? My family and I enjoy the fishing in Island Park especially the Buffalo River and would like to know if stocking is going to start again. Thanks.

Answer:

Thanks for your interest in the Buffalo River.  As you note, we have not stocked that reach for over a decade, primarily because angler use of hatchery fish was low there.  The reach is currently supported by natural reproduction of resident trout, and also some fish from the Henrys Fork that migrate upstream over a fish ladder on the lower end of the Buffalo.  Since the reach is supported by natural reproduction, there will be periods where the fishing is better than other years, and also worse.  Generally, envirnomental conditions such as temperatures and precipitation dictate how many wild fish are produced each year, which in turn influences angler catch rates.

Given our current financial situation with declining license sales, it is unlikely that we will be able to stock the Buffalo River in the near future.  Our hatcheries are supported entirely by revenue generated from license sales, and until those sales improve, we are scaling back production.  Stockings in all waters have been reduced, and in some cases (like the Buffalo) eliminated entirely.  If and when our financial situation improves, we can re-visit the stocking program and increase stockings where they will be effective at improving the fishing.

If you have additional questions, feel free to give me a call at 208-525-7290.