Congratulations to Elisa Rose of Kellogg for landing this remarkable bluegill. Elisa released the 11.5 inch monster, but landed a new Catch-and-Release State Record in the process. You can find out more about the new Catch-and-Release record program and see a list of all current records at the IDFG website.
With Memorial Day just around the corner, here is an update on this popular destination fishery.
Last fall, the reservoir was drained and the remaining fish population euthanized to remove fish illegally stocked in the popular fishing water. The gate on the dam was then closed to capture winter/spring run-off to refill the reservoir.
Although the reservoir won't be full Memorial Day weekend, there is enough water to launch a boat. The lake has been restocked with 12" rainbow trout and should be a great location for your weekend get-away. All camping areas are currently open.
Did you ever stop to think about the journey fish make to keep their populations viable? Idaho's ocean-going salmon and steelhead journey 1,000's of miles, negotiate thousands of feet in elevation change and run a gauntlet of swimming, flying, fishing predators to return to Idaho - where they spawn and the cycle repeats. This is important not only for fish populations to survive, but it's also important on a broader scale because fish returning to Idaho headwater streams bring with them ocean nutrients which are important to Idaho ecosystems.
Even our local resident fish journey many miles and contribute to other wildlife and plant communities in ways we are only beginning to understand.
So, how do you recycle a spent gravel pit? In the case of Idaho Dept. of Transportation's Red Top pit - we cooperatively turned it into Southwest Idaho's newest fishing water.
Located between Caldwell and Notus, Idaho, Red Top Pond was operated for many years by ITD as a gravel source for roadways throughout the Nampa/Caldwell area. Once the gravel supply was exhausted, Idaho Dept. of Transportation approached the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game and offered a 99 year lease to make it feasilbe to allow IDFG to add infrastructure including docks, an outhouse and boat ramp for "car-top" boats. We've also recontoured the banks in a couple of areas to make it easier for experienced and novice anglers alike, to access the water. Trees to provide shade will be planted in the near future.
The pond recently opened to the public. Follow the signs to the re-purposed pit. Expect to catch largemouth bass and bluegill.
Late in the fall of 2015, Horsethief Reservoir was drained and treated with a chemical to remove all remaining fish so a rainbow trout fishery could be re-established. Once the treatment was completed, the valve on the dam was closed and the reservoir began to refill.
As of the first week in April, the reservoir is about 1/2 full and is continuing to rise. At this time, the water level is about 50' below the end of the boat ramp. Hatchery rainbow trout will be stocked by the end of April to replenish this popular fishery.Watch our website for details on the actual stocking date and size of fish.