Wednesday May 11, 2022

Jackson Hole News and Guide

As anglers take to the water this year, they will again share the South Fork of the Snake River with Idaho Department of Fish and Game crews electroshocking fish in an effort to boost native cutthroat trout numbers.

Fish and Game began removing non-native rainbow and rainbow/cutthroat hybrids called “cutbows” in the spring of 2018 as part of a new management strategy based, in part, on 2017 angler surveys. According to Fish and Game Regional Fisheries Biologist Patrick Kennedy, the state surveys anglers every five years to determine what management strategies the public wants to see. And protecting native cutthroat topped the list.

In the early 2000s the department documented declining cutthroat numbers, while rainbow and cutbow populations showed steady growth. The agency changed rules on the South Fork to try to motivate anglers to harvest the non-native species, opening the river to a year-round season and offering anglers no limit on the non-natives.

The agency even launched an incentive program, offering a bounty on harvested fish worth anywhere from $50 to $1,000. Nonetheless, the non-native populations grew, and Fish and Game began removing non-native trout from the South Fork by the thousands through an electroshocking program funded by the Bureau of Reclamation, Kennedy said.

Read more >

Link copied successfully