The Caldera Project is specifically designed to address the questions of what the status of the wild trout fishery is and why, what could be done to change that situation, and what the quality of the angling experience is in the Caldera. In addressing these questions we will also examine and summarize the body of existing research that has been conducted in the Caldera to date.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Findings on the Buffalo

On the Buffalo River the other day, HFF counted and measured the number of fish in the outmigrant trap and fish ladder trap around the hydroelectric dam. Joining this process with Matt Cahoon and Anne Marie Emery for the first time were two of Henry's Fork Foundation interns for the summer, Chase Douglas and Kendra Sultzer. Along with measuring and counting the number of fish, the group also encountered a few other species. Collecting the organic matter from the top of the screens leading to the outmigrant trap, they found a giant water bug, or Belostomatidae. They released it back into the river, but it didn't want to leave the pavement and clung to the edge. Watch the video below and keep following to read about more exciting experiences!  

Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout Hatch

After a successful hatch of Rainbow Trout through the Trout in the Classroom project, HFF is looking to enhance the program with Idaho's state fish, the Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. Yellowstone Cutthroat are a much more sensitive species to hatch than Rainbow Trout, so a trial hatch is currently being conducted at the foundation. So far the experiment has been a success, with the majority of the eggs hatching into tiny alevins. HFF has its fingers crossed for continued success in this ongoing process, updates soon to follow!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Movement of Rainbows

The migration of the young of the year rainbow trout has begun. Flows out of Island Park dam are currently at 354 cfs, and younger fish are moving upstream to the warmer waters of the Buffalo for refuge. Monday at the Buffalo river dam, which was equipped with a fish ladder in 2005 to allow fish to access the habitat needed to complete their life cycles, was well packed with around 200 young of the year rainbow trout. Allowing fish access to these waters allows us to address the number one limiting factor of trout populations on the Ranch, which is getting the young trout through the harsh, predominant winter season. Winter in Island Park begins in November and snow-melt ends around early June. If you are around the area, now is a fun, prime time to see alot of fish moving upstream as a direct result of providing access.

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Ranch 1987 versus 2005

See below for aerial photo images of the Henrys Fork in the Ranch section of Harriman State Park that are overlain to compare changes within the river channel between 1987 and 2005. The release of an estimated 50 to 100 tons of sediment from Island Park Reservoir occurred in 1992. Two areas of the Ranch are shown in the video; Big Bend and Millionaires Pool. In both areas, the 1987 aerial photos seem to depict lush macrophytes and multiple complex deeper water channels, whereas the 2005 photos appear to depict more simplified habitat and sediment deposition. Brad Higginson, hydrologist with Caribou-Targhee National Forest, did all of the aerial photo work and developed the video.

A full screen viewing of this video can be seen with RealPlayer. If you have RealPlayer on your computer, then click on the pop up box that appears in the upper right corner of the video when your cursor is placed there. If you don't have RealPlayer then you can download a free version:

Friday, April 24, 2009

Angler Attitude Survey Results

We have some preliminary results for the Angler Attitude Survey of the Henrys Fork in Harriman State Park that was conducted by the Henry’s Fork Foundation in 2008. These results were presented to the Henry’s Fork Watershed Council on March 16, 2009. This presentation was converted to the slide show and text boxes (white or green) were added to the slide show to provide “narration”.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Use of Tributaries by Junvenile Trout in the Caldera

One of the questions the "Caldera Assessment/FAQ document" addressed, was do the small tributaries found on the Ranch and in Last Chance provide over wintering habitat for Henry's Fork fish during the harsh winter months? This question directed us to take an intensive look this fall and winter at the three tributaries known as Blue Springs Creek, Thurmon Creek and Fish Creek. Looking at these tributaries and how fish use them will help further our knowledge of how age 0 rainbow trout survive their first winter, and to what degree these waters are used by trout.

For the past two weeks, HFF has been in the field marking fish from these tributaries so that they can be followed for the months to come. By using a technique known as "Visible Implant Elastomer" or VIE tagging, HFF has marked over 900 trout from the tributaries that will be followed throughout the coming months.
VIE tagging involves injecting a fluorescent elastomer into the fleshy skin of a fish to provide an externally visible internal mark. A unique color of elastomer was chosen for each tributary, therefore three different colored elastomers were used on the fish depending on which tributary they were collected from.

Already our marking has unveiled some surprising results as four fish marked from Thurmon Creek were found in Fish Creek one week after being tagged. These fish traveled over 6 kilometers downstream in the river and 2 kilometers up Fish Creek!

In addition to marking fish, HFF has placed thermorgraphs throughtout the tributaties to record winter water temperatures and are noting any possible habitat restrictions these systems contain. By addressing these factors, we can understand if young of the year trout are seeking thermal refuge, habitat concealment options, or both in the winter, while also looking at habitat restoration options. We look forward to understanding the part these spring systems play in regards to the mainstem river fisheries in our commitment to the Ranch and would like to offer any snow-enthusiasts to join us for a day in the field this winter!

Anne Marie Emery Miller
HFF Conservation Technician

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Winding Down on Henry's Fork

Well, another fall is drawing too quickly to a close. This is my first (and only) post. Doing angler surveys has given me the chance to meet a lot of interesting and friendly folks from all over the country and world.

If you take the time, and it is worth taking, you can still see some views of beautiful country, even if the autumn colors are fading. Those of us who are blessed to live here sure should not be ones to take it for granted.

There is still good fishing to be found but with each day the weather becomes more of a gamble, so don't put it off. Insect hatches are still happening but really sporadic, you have to really get a sense of the timing for them. You wouldn't think there were any less, looking at my windshield every evening heading back to Ashton.

People are finding respectable rainbow trout but they seem very canny this late in the season. Comes from having to outwit good anglers all summer I guess. The old hands say to be prepared to hunt and use your knowledge of behavior, just like you would with any game. And of course, hope for a healthy share of luck.

There are large numbers of whitefish moving now and have been over the past week, spawning I suppose. At any rate there are some quite large and providing some great angling. I watched one do several runs and even tail dance before being brought in. They may not be rainbow, but they are providing some great sport.

One word of caution by the way, DRIVE CAREFULLY! The big critters are starting to move around. In the past couple of weeks there have been two moose and several deer struck by traffic during the evenings and nights. Don't end a fishing trip with a large mammal in the front seat unless it is related.

Well, thanks to everyone who let me interview them this season, your cooperation will give the Henry's Fork Foundation some good information to draw from to help you keep the river healthy and improving.

Also, my thanks to all the great folks who put up with my sometimes dumb questions. I appreciate the time you took to share your knowledge and expertise, I have tried to absorb everything you told me. Yep, I confess, I am not a fly fisherman, or rather, was not a fly fisherman. You have made it look too interesting so next year you will have another newbie trying to learn the sport and, more importantly, trying to learn the etiquette of the Henry's Fork congregation.

Have a good winter, folks, the pleasure has been mine.

Bill Puckett
"The survey guy"