Boise Valley Fly Fishers
Since 1971



News and information on BVFF conservation projects

  • 31 Aug 2022 2:23 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    Between 2015 and 2020 there was a concerning drop in the brown trout population on the Owyhee River in Oregon, particularly in the lower reaches between the tunnel and the concrete bridge 10 miles downstream. Several years ago the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) started looking into the causes to try and protect this precious fishery. The leading suspects were 1) Anglers wading through brown trout spawning redds; 2) Predation of brown trout fry; and 3) Excessive warm water temperatures.

    To help address the first issue, BVFF worked with ODFW in 2019 and installed Redd Protection Signs at major spawning sites. To help reduce the chance of brown trout eating their own fry, ODFW increased stocking of rainbow trout fry in the river, which is why there has been a sudden increase in the number of rainbow trout being caught.

    ODFW’s first review of water temperatures showed that the river stayed plenty cool for trout during the summer, all the way down to Snively Springs. But further analysis of historical water temperatures at the Bureau of Reclamation stream gauge (about a mile below the dam) showed that during the extended drought years 2013 – 2015, Owyhee Reservoir levels dropped to the point that the power turbines started pulling in some warmer surface water which caused increased water temperatures to be released from the dam. We estimate that water temperatures released from the dam in August of 2014 and 2015 were 60 – 65 degrees compared to the normal summertime 50 degrees. This puts water temperatures in the lower reaches of the river into the upper 70s to low 80s, which is in the lethal temperature range for brown trout.

    Over the last two years, BVFF and ODFW have been researching the water temperature issue. We found that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license for power generation at the Owyhee Dam requires that outflows be managed to ensure water temperatures needed for trout in the river below. Using this information, ODFW has been able to successfully negotiate with the Owyhee irrigation district to change dam operations to pull from deeper in the reservoir when needed. Luckily with our super-wet spring the Owyhee reservoir levels were higher than anticipated so it has not been a problem this year, but we are very happy to have this agreement in place and are thankful to ODFW for their work to help alleviate another warm water event and protect the brown trout on the Owyhee River.

    The brown trout population on the Owyhee river continues to recover, although the lower river is recovering slower than the upper river, partially because of having less spawning habitat. Our club’s gravel augmentation project this Fall will give brown trout new places to spawn and hopefully will increase the population of brown trout on the lower half of the river.

    Special thanks go to Kirk Handley and Dave Banks at ODFW for their ongoing efforts on the Owyhee river. My personal thanks go to BVFF member Forrest Goodrum for his help digging through the FERC dam licensing documents and to Ryan Hedricks from the Bureau of Reclamation for his help understanding the Owyhee dam operation and being a liaison between the different groups.

  • 30 Aug 2022 8:44 AM | Anonymous

    by Brian Martin, Leave It Better Coordinator

    We are looking into a national river adoption program that began in Illinois on the Mississippi River by an organization called Living Lands & Waters. Check out their website at This is a river stewardship program designed to keep our waterways clean providing a healthy environment for fish to thrive.

    Our plan is for BVFF to adopt a 1-mile section of the Boise River in the area of our gravel augmentation in Garden City. From there we hope to partner with the cities, counties, and other jurisdictions from the Highway 21 bridge/diversion dam down through Star and possibly further. Each mile section would be adopted by a concerned organization or group. The Women Fly Fishers of Idaho have already expressed an interest in adopting a section if we get the ball rolling.

    This is a huge undertaking and will take a while to come to fruition. If you have contacts in any of the governmental jurisdictions along the river corridor let us know. Together we can plant the seed of this idea in their minds and watch it grow.

    Your help is always appreciated. If you would like to volunteer for any of these projects, let us know or go to our website and register when they are posted.

  • 30 Aug 2022 8:09 AM | Anonymous

    By Troy Pearse


    BVFF has received a grant from the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Foundation to build a formal fisherman access trail at the new Diane Moore Nature Center. The access trail will formalize a current “social trail” that is causing erosion and give anglers a formal path to the river while stopping bank erosion and protecting native habitat. We will be working with the Intermountain Bird Observatory to create signs to educate users about the Nature Center and Barber Pool conservation area. It will be a 2-day project in early October. Stay tuned for more details. We will need a good number of volunteers to help build the access trail.


    In August BVFF volunteers installed Trout Habitat and Anti-Litter signs along the restored side channel at the new Diane Moore Nature Center, located between Barber Park and Lucky Peak. The signs look great, and we are very excited to have the very first anti-litter signs on the Boise River. We are hoping to be able to leverage them into more access locations in the future.

    We were joined by Link Jackson, local outdoor enthusiast who designed artwork for the Side Channel sign, as well Greg Kaltenecker from the Intermountain Bird Observatory who has been leading the development of the Diane Moore Nature Center. Thanks to our volunteers: Scott Lenz, Randy James, Klaus Kissman , Jack Truschel, Jon Fishback , Jose' DeSousa, Tim Opp, Johnny Rogers, Kent Christensen, Brian Martin , George Butts, Jeff Jones and Troy Pearse.

  • 30 Aug 2022 8:04 AM | Anonymous

    By Troy Pearse 

    BVFF has received a $3,000 grant from Fly Fishers International (FFI) to help fund our gravel augmentation project on the Owyhee River. We have also applied for a $2,000 grant from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and will hear from them by the end of October. My thanks to BVFF member Forrest Goodrum for his help in submitting for the FFI grant.

    The gravel augmentation is planned for early November, which is the beginning of the “work window” for doing in-river work in Oregon. We have targeted the lower end of the river for the augmentation because it has much less suitable spawning habitat and less brown trout spawning activity. If all goes well, this gravel augmentation will improve the productivity of the lower river and make for much better fishing in years to come.

    Keep watch for volunteer opportunities in early November to help with the project. It should be quite a show to watch the gravel-slinger truck shoot 100 cubic yards of gravel into the river!

  • 29 Aug 2022 12:31 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    One of the unfortunate realities of fishing is you break-off and lose fishing line and flies/lures/hooks, and those monofilament remnants and hooks can cause problems for birds and animals. When you break-off, it is good to try and retrieve what you can. And while out fishing, it is good to be on the lookout for wads of discarded monofilament and pick them up—just be careful, as there can be a hook at the other end, and you don’t want to hook yourself! Fishing line is especially hazardous to birds, who sometimes pick it up to line their nest, and mono caught in trees is especially dangerous to birds who get trapped in it and die. To help encourage others to pick up monofilament, please take a photo of your “find” and post it to our Facebook Group Page. If you’re not into Facebook, you can email me the photo ( and we will post it for you.

    George Butts is leading a new project to build and distribute mono-collector tubes to local area lakes and fishermen access points. The current design of mono-collectors has several issues, including birds building nests inside and getting trapped and the public thinking they are “trash collectors”. We are investigating new designs to help alleviate these problems and plan to submit for an Idaho Fish and Game Community Challenge Grant next Spring to fund building and servicing new mono collectors.

  • 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

    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 "Muff 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.


    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.


    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!


    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.


    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!

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