Boise Valley Fly Fishers
 
 
Since 1971

 

CONSERVATION NEWS

News and information on BVFF conservation projects

  • 31 Jul 2022 11:50 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    Imagine if every time you hit the stream, you make it a little bit cleaner. Imagine if you go fishing two times per month, you could effectively take twenty four bags of trash from the wilderness each year. Now imagine if 100 people build this new habit. That’s twenty four hundred bags of trash from the wilderness. Now imagine of we get to one thousand anglers, then ten thousand anglers.

    These Trout Hero mesh bags are great to have on the river to pack out trash. And Pescador On The Fly will send you one for FREE! Be a Trout Hero!  To get your very own mesh bag go to Pescador On The Fly and use code TROUTHERO at check out.

  • 31 Jul 2022 11:40 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    In past years, BVFF has joined other organizations in river cleanup events on the Boise and Owyhee Rivers although we have organized a few ourselves. Beginning this fall, we will have a cleanup event planned for late September or early to mid-October. It will be on the Boise River in Garden city at the section where we did the gravel augmentation. Keep an eye out for details as we approach that timeframe.

    One thing we want to avoid is becoming known as the Boise Valley Trash Cleanup Club nor do we want to overburden you with far to many events like this. There’s fishing to be done.

    For future river cleanup events, we plan to have two categories: BVFF Sponsored Events and Informational Events. They’ll be distinguished on our website under Events based on these categories. Here’s a further description:

    1. BVFF Sponsored Events – these will be events either we organize or events put on by organizations that focus on the rivers and actually get into the water. These include VICE Outdoors, Indianhead Fly Fishers, and BREN and the Golden Eagle Audobon Society mono cleanups. Consider these thoughts:

    a. Safety is paramount. You determine what is safe for you. If you are not comfortable with any action, don’t do it,

    b. We will do cleanups in the spring and fall, before and after irrigation season raises the water to unsafe levels,

    c. We want to get into the water where the fish live. We will need some folks in waders as trash collects in tree branches and strainers. When anyone is in the water, they must have a partner on land who is willing and able to enter the water to assist in any way. Carry a cell phone to call for help before you enter the water,

    d. Waders are not necessary for all who volunteer. There’s usually plenty of trash on dry ground,

    e. These events will be posted on our website and will have a “Register” button,

    f. I’m sure I’ve omitted some thoughts. Please send me any that you have to brian@lfprinc.com.

    2. Informational Cleanup Events – these will be events put on by organizations that don’t get into the water. They usually cleanup along the greenbelt which is beneficial as it keeps that trash from going into the river. On our website you’ll see these events posted under Events as informational only and they will not have an option to register. Here’s an example of an event coming up.

    Another Boise River cleanup being held by the radio station "River Boise". This one is August 13th, meeting at the Greenbelt parking lot at Marigold/Glenwood. They have some fun prizes and SWAG for folks. Consider volunteering. More info and a link to sign-up in their post below.

    Sign up for our NEXT River Restoration with Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co.! River clean-up is 8/13 at Fish Park off Glenwood, after-party at Ironwood Social. We'll have tons of prizes at the after-party, including concert tickets, swag, and a beautiful red cooler. Everyone 21 and up is eligible to enter for the Leinenkugel canoe full of brew, given away at the final clean-up September 10th! Please sign up today. 


    Thanks for everyone's help to Leave It Better Than They Found It.


    Brian Martin
    BVFF #LeaveItBetter Program Lead



  • 31 Jul 2022 11:32 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    How are you all? I hope your summer has been filled with travel, adventure, family, and friends. And FLY FISHING! Can’t forget that. I’ve had the opportunity to fish with several BVFF members on the Owyhee and the Middle Fork of the Boise. We’ve had some terrific outings: caught some fish (I’d tell you the size, but you wouldn’t believe me) and have gotten to know each other a little bit better.

    As I’ve driven the roads into each river and parked my car, I notice trash here and there. I must admit, I don’t always stop to pick it up, though I often do. I encourage you to take a few minutes from your fishing outings to pick up what others have left behind. Here are a few ideas:

    1. Where you park your car look around. There’s usually something to pick up,

    2. As you are fishing, look along the shore and even in the river. I’ve found Korker soles, lures, monofilament, bait containers, and a fine pair of nail clippers. I’ll often stick these items in my chest pouch, set them on shore, and pick them up on my way back up or down the river,

    3. Walking back to your car on a trail or along the road after a day on the river is often productive.

    4. Ziplock bags from your lunch are great for picking up microtrash like cigarette butts or plastic water bottle caps.

    5. The Boise Greenbelt has some "Mutt Mitts" for picking up after your dog, but they also work well to pick up trash.

    Be sure to take a picture and post it to #FillTheNet and #LeaveItBetter, the BVFF website, BVFF Blog, or send it to George Butts. Your example is needed to encourage others to follow. As to the swag that George sends, if you don’t want it, just let him know.

    Thanks for everyone's participation. If we all pick up a little, it adds up to a lot.

    Brian Martin
    BVFF Leave It Better Program Lead


  • 18 Jul 2022 10:27 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    Water temperature is the “master variable” in fishing because it drives trout metabolism, which effects how often they eat and what kind of water they hold in. By using a stream thermometer and understanding the impact of water temperature on trout, anglers can improve their fishing.


    PREFERRED WATER TEMPERATURE

    Trout have a window of preferred water temperature where they are the most active and using a stream thermometer can help you find fish that are more likely to eat your fly! For example:

    • In late Fall, water is often warmer below a Tailwater Dam than it is in a Freestone River, which means hatches will be better and fish will be more active.
    • In Spring, the water below that same Tailwater Dam will often be colder than a Freestone River. This means bug hatches and fishing will be better further downstream where the water has time to warm up.

    • In the dog-days of Summer, water can exceed the trout’s preferred water temperature and turn fishing off. During this time, fishing early in the morning or further upstream will give you better results. Remember that water temperatures often fluctuate 10 degrees during the day, so remember to re-check water temps in the afternoon.





    TROUT HOLDING WATER

    Water temperature impacts where trout will hold in the river and paying attention to water temperature will help you choose the most productive water to fish. In general, remember that:

    • The warmer the water, the faster the trout’s metabolism and they will gravitate to faster water.
    • The colder the water, the slower the trout’s metabolism and they prefer to hold in slower water.

    In the summer when water temperatures are in the upper 50’s to low 60’s, trout can be in any water type (riffles, runs and pools). Trout eat constantly at these temperatures and they can most often be found in faster riffles and boulder pocket-water where there is more food and oxygen.

    As water cools in the Fall, trout will start backing out of those fast riffles and when water temperatures drop below 45 degrees trout will gravitate to the transition water between the riffle and the run below. Once water temperatures drop below 40 degrees the trout’s metabolism slows and they move into deeper, slower runs and pools where they will hold all winter.

    In early Spring, as water warms, the trout’s metabolism starts to increase. As the sun angle gets higher in the sky, water temperatures start warming considerably during the day. By the end of March water temperatures on a sunny day can rise 10 degrees, often warming from the upper 30s to the upper 40s, which gets the bugs hatching and the trout eating! During these days trout will hang-back in the slow deep water in the morning, but by the afternoon they will be actively eating up at the riffle transitions and even move up into the lower ends of riffles. A good time for a Skwala dry fly with a nymph dropper!

    HATCHES

    Trout metabolism is closely tied to bug activity, and as water warms, bug hatches pick-up and the trout’s appetite increases. Your stream thermometer can help you anticipate what bugs are likely to hatch. I find this particularly helpful in late Winter and early Spring. Some key water temperature ranges for Springtime insect hatches are:

    • Midges like to hatch when water gets into the low 40’s.
    • BWOs will hatch starting in the mid 40’s and continues into the low 50’s.
    • Skwalas like to hatch when water temperatures get into the upper 40’s.

    CUTTHROAT TROUT

    If you are going after the BVFF Cutthroat Challenge, it is helpful to know that Cutthroat trout prefer colder water than their Rainbow and Brown Trout cousins, which is why they are found in higher mountain streams. Idaho’s Westslope Cutthroat Trout have adapted to live in mountain streams where water temperatures have more extreme variation and they tend to migrate to find their preferred water temperature, so it pays to use your stream thermometer to find them. For example, studies have tracked Westslopes migrating over 100 miles on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River: In the winter they held in the Main Salmon River where it was warmer and in the summer they migrated up as far as Bear Valley creek to find cooler waters.

    On hot summer days trout can often be found hanging out at the mouth of cooler tributaries. One Idaho Fish and Game snorkel survey on the upper Salmon River found that the majority of trout were holding very close the mouths of cooler tributaries. Something to keep in mind when you are out fishing this summer.


  • 16 Jul 2022 1:42 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    Owyhee River Gravel Augmentation Study


    The Owyhee River has an amazing brown trout population. Initially when the dam was built, the river below  was intended to just be a put-and-take fishery but the stocked brown trout  were able to successfully spawn and their population exploded. The best habitat for brown trout extends from the dam down 15 miles to Snively Springs but the density of the brown trout population is notably higher in the first 5 miles of the river. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has been counting brown trout redds on the Owyhee River for over 15 years and one consistent trend is that even though water temperatures and quality are excellent down through the lower reaches, there are significantly fewer redds per mile there compared to upstream.


    BVFF has been volunteering with ODFW to help count redds on the Owyhee river for several years and has been talking with Oregon fish biologists Dave Banks and Kirk Handley about the possibility of doing a gravel augmentation on the river to increase the amount of spawning in the lower reaches of the river. For an area to be suitable for a gravel augmentation it needs to have the right water depth and velocity for brown trout to spawn plus logistically be close enough to the river for us to add the gravel. Working with ODFW we have identified a riffle and run below an intermittent creek called Sand Hollow that looks promising as well as a tail-out nearby below the lower concrete bridge.

    In November and December of 2021 BVFF volunteers met at the Owyhee river to help ODFW to evaluate the suitability of the proposed gravel augmentation sites. We started by measuring the depth, flow and bottom composition at redd locations in a highly successful spawning run in the upper river, below the Hollywood Hole. We found that browns typically built their redds in water depths of 1 – 2 feet in riffles but would build their redds as shallow as 6 inches deep in a riffle to as deep as 3 feet as the riffle dropped into a run.

    We then took cross-sections of the proposed augmentation sites to compare with the successful spawning area and we counted brown trout redds in the area. We found a total of only 20 redds in the 2 ½ mile lower spawning reach below Sand Hollow with none of the redds being in the proposed augmentation areas. For comparison in the riffle and run below the Hollywood Hole we there are 65 or more redds in a 100 yard riffle. Our depth and flow measurements have confirmed that our proposed augmentation sites are suitable locations to add gravel. Having these measurements not only validate that the sites are good but gives us supporting evidence that we can use to apply for a grant from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to help fund the gravel augmentation. We are working on the grant and permit paperwork now and if all goes well, we will be doing the gravel augmentation in November 2022. Stay tuned for more information and opportunities to volunteer to help.

    This article first ran in the Hackle Bender club newsletter. Check out our old Hackle Benders!


  • 27 Jun 2022 8:19 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    BVFF has partnered with Idaho Fish and Game and the Intermountain Bird Observatory on Trout Habitat and Anti-Litter signs for the new Diane Moore Nature Center.   We are excited to be able to call this a "Wild Trout Area" and encourage Catch and Release fishing and to get our first wildlife-focused anti-litter sign on the Boise River!

    The signs will be installed along the newly restored side-channel in August. Watch for a BVFF event announcement soon.



  • 12 Jun 2022 11:56 AM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    Trout make their living by eating bugs. During non-hatch times they feed opportunistically subsurface but during a hatch they get tuned-into looking for a specific “bug-target”—ignoring everything else. During these times the angler who matches the size, shape and color of the “bug-target” will get more fish to take their fly.


    SIZE

    Matching size is critical for success but anglers often midjudge it or don’t give it much thought. To us the difference between a size #16 and size #18 fly doesn’t look like much but realize that a size #16 is 25% larger—enough for an educated trout to notice.

    DETERMINING BUG SIZE

    To accurately measure the size of the hatching bug you need to obtain a sample. Wade in below the rising fish and use a small aquarium net to scoop up your prize. Compare the bug sample to your flys and choose something that matches the size, shape and color. It helps to measure the bug-size for future reference. You can use a small ruler but I recommend the Bugometer, which is a pocket sized “bug ruler” that has hook sizes printed on it. The Bugometer is a critical tool to carry to help you match the hatch and is available thru Dry Fly Innovations.

    BUG SIZE VARIATION

    Bug-size varies throughout the season and across locations. As a general trend, Nymphs and Terrestrials get larger through the season while adults get smaller. For example a Skwala nymph is a size #14 (3xl) in October, growing to a #12 in January and a #8 by the time it hatches in April. Similarly Grasshoppers will be a size #12 early in the summer but can grow to a size #2 by Fall. While Adult PMDs can be a size #14 when the hatch starts, shrinking to a size #16 a few weeks later and are often a size #18 by the end of the hatch. BWOs tend to be larger in the Spring and smaller in the Fall and have significant size variations through the hatch.

    SHAPE

    Bug shape is generally considered if the natural has an “up-wing” (mayfly), “down-wing” (caddis) or “flat-wing” (stonefly). But it is also important to take note of the phase of the hatching bug. Does it have an emerging shuck? Does it have the outspread clear wings of a spinner? Does it have the egg-ball of an egg laying adult? Matching the phase of the bug on the water can often “crack the code” of what picky rising trout are taking.

    COLOR

    Color is often what anglers pay the most attention to but matching the exact shade isn’t usually needed. When matching the color pay special attention to the bottom of the bug, as this is what the trout sees.

    PAY ATTENTION!

    Paying attention to hatches pays dividends. In late June I noticed these fresh Golden Stone shucks at the river’s edge at the M.F. of the Boise—indicating a golden stone hatch was underway. I tied on a fly to match and BOOM! Fish ON, first cast.

    This article first ran in the Hackle Bender club newsletter. Check out our old Hackle Benders!


  • 09 Jun 2022 3:59 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)


    With the rapid increase in population in the Treasure Valley and the influx of people fishing due to the pandemic, showing consideration for fellow anglers and river stewardship is more important than ever.

    Last year BVFF submitted a request to Idaho Fish and Game to add anti-litter and fishing etiquette information to the general fishing regulations. We included some simple graphics as examples to emphasize key points, as well as asked them to adopt some of the fishing etiquette information in one of their Steelhead Fishing pamphlets. IDF&G added an excellent graphic titled “Keep Idaho Waters Clean”, which we are very happy to see, but they declined to add anything on etiquette at this time, citing limited space and publication costs.

    BVFF is continuing to look for ways to get fishing etiquette information out into the fishing community. We leveraged some excellent guidelines from Fly Fishers International into some materials for the Fly Fishing Expo last January and asked all presenters to incorporate the concepts into their presentations. We have created a new “BVFF Code Of Angling” web-page that contains all of this information.

    The FFI Angling Code document is excellent but is long and very detailed. I have reduced the FFI Angling Code to three items I feel embody the essence in concept without the details. They are:

    1. Take care of the fish. This includes proper fish handling, leaving spawning fish alone, and avoiding fishing when waters are too warm.

    2. Respect other anglers. This is the set of good  behaviors about sharing the water. 

    3. Leave it better. This is practicing river stewardship so the resource is available for the next generation

    The days of having miles of every river to ourselves are behind us. Moving forward we need to learn how to respectfully share the water as well as look for new waters that hold new challenges. We are looking for help to get this fishing etiquette information out to a wider audience. If you are interested in helping us promote the BVFF Angling Code, please contact me at conservation@bvff.com.


  • 17 Apr 2022 4:17 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    I am pleased to report that Rainbow Trout are spawning in the side channel where BVFF did their gravel augmentation in January of 2021! The river flows are lower than normal, but a few rainbows have started using the upper gravel area.

    The large woody debris in the side channel continues to improve. The lower gravel augmentation area had some wood fall into the side channel over the winter, but we worked with the Boise Flood District to leave it for fry protection.


    We continue to have issues with the public putting rocks and logs across the top entry to the channel so they can cross to access the area below the diversion dam.  We are working on an approach to limit the impact to inflows into the channel.

    Idaho Fish and Game has added the side-channel to their yearly fry survey and we look forward to hearing what they find this Fall.


  • 30 Mar 2022 4:42 PM | James Kazakoff (Administrator)

    Boise Valley Fly Fishers has recently honored the cooperative work by Boise Flood District #10 with their efforts to map and avoid brown trout spawning redds, and improve the area for trout spawning, during the flood district's annual Boise River flood maintenance.

    You can read about the conservation project HERE.

    KTVB Channel 7  March 30, 2022

    Idaho Press Tribute  March 31, 2022

    Capital Press April 1, 2022

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