Boise River full of thriving wild trout

Idaho StatesmanFebruary 20, 2014 

Outdoors-Boise River Trout

FILE - In this March 18, 2011, file photo, a fisherman casts his line below a small dam along the Boise River in Boise, Idaho. The riverÕs trout population has seen explosive growth since the early 1990s, after minimum winter flows were established, according to Art Butts, regionally fish biologist for Fish and Game. (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Charlie Litchfield, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

CHARLIE LITCHFIELD — AP

BOISE, Idaho -- We have a lot to be proud of in the Boise River, especially if you're an angler.

It flows through the middle of Idaho's largest metropolitan area and within sight of the state Capitol and Bronco Stadium.

The Greenbelt and its walkers, joggers and bikers parallel the river while Canada geese honk from the river and nearby ponds, and bald eagles keep a watchful eye from above.

What's below the surface is no less impressive. Trout, and lots of them, feed in riffles and hide beneath brushy shoreline. They're not just any trout -- they're wild, naturally reproducing redband rainbow trout.

If you've ever tried to catch those trout, it can be humbling.

There are lots of them, possibly more than you realize, and some that are much bigger than you'd expect.

Every three years, crews from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game take their scary (to the fish) aluminum canoe and go "electrofishing." The canoe has a generator with long wands that shoot electrical currents into the river.

The stunned fish wash downstream, and Fish and Game biologists and technicians scoop them up and measure, weigh and record what they find, then compare it with past surveys.

Crews were out in fall checking different sections of the river.

The news has been good. The river's trout population has seen explosive growth since the early 1990s, after minimum winter flows were established, according to Art Butts, regionally fish biologist for Fish and Game.

Trout numbers have stabilized since then, and they're down slightly from the 2010 survey, but the fish are also larger on average.

There's a healthy mix of young and old trout, and there seems to be plenty of natural reproduction.

The hatchery rainbow trout that are stocked monthly in the river typically stick to the areas near where they are planted, and they're either caught or die within a few weeks, Butts said.

Tri-City Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service