The Idaho Fish and Game has begun draining Horsethief Reservoir, east of Cascade, because someone illegally stocked it with bullheads.
"We run it as a trout fishery and when you start introducing other species there, they don't do well and it makes the trout not do well," said Dale Allen, regional fisheries manager. "It's an easy one to drain for us but it takes away a lot of fishing opportunity for fishermen."
The reservoir was built in 1968 and this is the sixth time it has had to be drained because of the introduction of illegal fish. Fish managers are hoping for a normal winter with plenty of snow to refill Horsethief. Even if the winter is mild, Fish and Game plans to re-stock in the spring, which usually occurs around the first of May.
“We’ll lose ice fishing. It’s turned into a really good ice fishery,” said Allen.
But for now, the fishing has been good. The gate was opened on September 8 so the reservoir has begun to empty. The few anglers who are taking advantage are catching a lot of fish.
The salvage suspends fish bag and possession limits and is in effect until October 20. The lifting of angler limits is a way to use most of the fish that currently reside in the reservoir. However anglers must have a valid Idaho fishing license. With the exception of firearms, explosives, chemicals and electricity, fish may be taken with any method, including seines and dip nets. All fish must be killed before transport from the reservoir.
Anglers should note that while fishing will remain open until the reservoir is drained in mid-October, camping at the reservoir will close September 21, no campfires are allowed, and all docks have been removed.