Wednesday May 10, 2023

East Idaho News

Another season of screw trapping has begun near Stanley. The rotary screw trap on Marsh Creek, a tributary to the Middle Fork Salmon River, is on the border of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. In the winter and spring, it is only accessible via snowmobile or ATV with tracks. There is usually at least 6 feet of snow at the site when the trap is being installed in mid-March.

There are rotary screw traps operated throughout the state, but the trap on Marsh Creek is unique for its remoteness and key spawning area for Chinook salmon. The upper Middle Fork Salmon River drainage near Stanley is one of the furthest inland wild steelhead and Chinook salmon spawning migration in the Columbia River basin.

The juvenile fish travel over 800 miles down the Salmon, Snake and Columbia rivers before reaching the ocean. Wild spring Chinook salmon (one of our target species) generally spend 2-3 years in the ocean and return as adults in the fall to lay their eggs in streams where they hatched.

The screw trap is in place to capture juvenile fish migrating downstream to the ocean. Several tributaries to Marsh Creek have important spawning and rearing so the trap is situated downstream of these areas to capture juvenile fish leaving most of the basin area.

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