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, July 31, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ranch Update

The past several days have brought some of the hottest days of the summer here on the Henry's Fork. With that, anglers have been favoring morning and late evenings as action has seemed to diminish during the heat of the day. In the forecast are more warm temperatures, though not quite as hot, a no precipitation - expect for early and late in the day to see the most activity.

Also, Rene Harrop of TroutHunter posted a great word and photo essay of a recent experience in Harriman State Park. It is a good reminder of why this place is cherished by so many, and has been for so long. It can be found here :

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Last Chance Fencing Project

HFF Intern Zachary Segall works on the Last Chance fencing project.

They say that good fences make good neighbors; they can also make good conservation. However, good fences take a lot of hard work to construct and maintain. An electric fence has been keeping cows out of the river and protecting the fragile banks of the Henry’s Fork across from Last Chance and Pinehaven for over twenty years. This electric fence was failing and required almost daily attention to keep it functioning. Therefore, the Henry’s Fork Foundation partnered with Harriman State Park, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Caribou-Targhee National Forest to replace about five miles of the exhausted electric fence with a let-down barbed wire fence over the past two summers.
Our summer interns and I visited the new fence recently to get it ready for the season and the arrival of cows to graze nearby. We felt confident that we could get the barbed wire tightened and posts put up before the cows’ debut on June 28th. However, when we arrived near the log jam to look at the fence, we discovered a maze of broken posts and split wires. Our work was cut out for us as we had a job to do that even a practiced cowboy would grimace at. Winter is always hard on all fences, and this past winter was no different. Just as the mighty lodgepole pine may buckle under sub-zero temperatures and relentless snow pack, it seems so will a 3 foot bare post.
The next few days were committed to repairs and replacements that will need to be made every year due to the extreme winters that occur in this region. To add another dimension to the project, we discovered that the fisherman’s access gate had been cut with wire cutters. This gate at the north end of the fence has been a complaint of many fishermen over the years, as it is difficult to open and is strung with barbed wire that can easily tear waders. To address these concerns and eliminate a weak spot in the fence for the cows, HFF is going to construct a stile at this point to allow angler access. Presently, there is no gate, only barbed wire, meaning that until we construct the stile, fisherman will have to walk into the river to get to the other side.
Concerns have also been voiced about cows going around the north boundary of the fence and getting into the river across from Box Canyon villages. Because the fence is not an allotment boundary, but a rather a riparian buffer that keeps cows off the banks, building more fence would only push the cows further upstream, where at any point they will go around and get to the river – (note: the thought was to bring it up to the cliff area, where a cow theoretically would not be able to climb down for most of the Box Canyon). The logic behind the placement of the fence was to keep the cows off vulnerable banks, where they would do the most damage – not to enclose them completely. I spent quite a bit of time walking past the northern end of the fence, and I feel that the fence ends at a good location. If cows do go around it, they are not causing much erosion as the banks at this point have a foundation of volcanic rock that extends itself into the river. A cow accessing the river here is not going to cause damage as it is literally walking on rock.
Currently the fence is up and the cows are giving it the final test of its effectiveness . While this fencing project has gained epic proportions throughout the years, we believe it will make good neighbors between the people, cows, fish and wildlife of the Henry’s Fork.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ranch Update & This Week in the Caldera

The last several days have been predominantly clear, sunny and hot here in Harriman State Park. The fishing quality has remained about the same, though insect hatches have been less consistent as Green and Brown Drakes seem to have faded away recently. The most, and best, action has been in the evening at the tail end of these warm mid-summer days.

For more information about the fishery in the Caldera reach of the Henry's Fork, as well as other components of this project, please check out This Week in The Caldera - a weekly article written alternately by HFF Executive Director Steve Trafton and Conservation Director Jim De Rito. The most recent article discusses fish population estimates in the Box Canyon and Harriman State Park.

A permanent link to This Week in the Caldera, including previous articles, exists in the sidebar under Resources.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Week of July 4th

Action has been picking up here on the Henry's Fork over the past couple of days with increased hatches and greater fish response to the surface. Brown Drakes have been really strong from Osborne Bridge down for the past few nights until almost dark. This morning saw a great Green Drake spinner fall, with some good flav action as well on the upper Ranch, all under calm patchy skies. Angler traffic has also increased - today was probably the busiest since opening day on Harriman State Park. To see highlights from the past week - bugs, scenery and fish action - check out the slideshow below/

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Today on the Ranch

Green Drakes, Brown Drakes, PMD's, flavs, caddis...all seen in the last 24 hours on the Ranch. After a few cloudy drizzly days at the beginning of the week, and a brief surge of 2000+ cfs, the weather and river have cleared up. Reports from the river have been quite positive overall for the last couple days with higher numbers of fish caught being supported by some more robust hatches of a variety of insects. There were 14 vehicles at Osborne bridge at 9 pm last night. Can anyone say Brown Drakes? One Ranch veteran of 50 years told me today in his survey that he was just coming off of one of his best days ever. That's encouraging.

The Caldera Project is going great with a couple hundred Angler Surveys completed. We will continue to be out each day talking to anglers in addition to entering some of th e data we're collecting. If you haven't gotten a Caldera Project brochure, or the full Caldera Assessment, go to the Resources link on this page. Be sure to keep checking back in for new articles each week, updates from the river, and in a few weeks, interviews with some notable locals.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Today on The Ranch

It seems that things are beginning to pick up on The Ranch. Just this week, reports of Green and Brown Drake hatches. Anglers have continued to access Harriman, with many fishing "The Islands" at Big Bend. The heat has contributed to a large concentration of anglers frequenting the park in the early morning and evening hours. One angler at Fisherman's Access reported catching a few fish on nymphs this morning, while another angler reported catching a few more on-top. Flows appear to have stabilized following the massive release of water from the reservoir (see post below). We are hoping that, as this late season progresses, more anglers will experience better luck on The Ranch.

Wood Road 16

A slideshow of pictures taken from this past week from an access point that has been seeing a lot of attention from anglers.

Here is a Google Map of the access point.

View Larger Map