Wednesday August 2, 2023

Idaho Fish and Game

Crooked River is a tributary of the South Fork of the Clearwater River in northcentral Idaho. It is approximately 5 miles west of Elk City. This river is home to spring Chinook salmon. They return 354 river miles from the Pacific Ocean to spawn here. Their young will rear in these waters. B-run steelhead and bull trout are also present. Both are listed under the Endangered Species Act. In addition, Coho salmon, cutthroat trout, Pacific lamprey, and Idaho Giant Salamanders inhabit this river.

Between the late 1930’s and 1950’s, the lower Crooked River valley was heavily impacted by industrial dredge mining for gold. The Mount Vernon dredge had 65, 2 cubic foot interconnected buckets that could excavate up to 2,000 cubic yards of pay gravel per day. It could dig to a maximum depth of 20 feet. The dredge dug 24 hours per day, with three shifts, except for maintenance, repair, cleaning, and moving ahead.

In the early part of the twentieth century, the Crooked River dredge provided jobs as the nation was recovering from The Great Depression. During the dredge’s tenure, crew size ranged from 10 to 20 men. The Ghost Town of Gnome Village, just north of Orogrande, provided housing for the crews.

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