2006 Highlights: Radio Telemetry Trout, Fish Planting, Restoration and More

Radio Telemetry Trout in Henrys Lake

October 2006

A one-year project to monitor the movement of trout in Henrys Lake was begun this month by implanting 30 fish with radio transmitters. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game in a joint effort with the Henrys Lake Foundation, radio tagged and released 30 trout into Henrys Lake. Each week the IDFG will monitor the location of each fish and over the course of the year will be able to learn more about how the trout use Henrys Lake and spawning streams through their movements. The final results of the study will be publicly available at the conclusion of the project in early 2008. If available, interim reports will be posted to the Henrys Lake Foundation website.

Completion of Henrys Lake Fish Planting

September 2006

Idaho Department of Fish and Game reported the completion of the fish plant for Henrys Lake this year. The actual counts are: 149,800 Hybrids (sterile cutthroat and rainbow hybrids), 1,124,685 Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout, 107,125 Brook Trout (sterile) and 1,381,610 Total. The plantings went well with little mortality. While the total number of fish was less than planned for the cutthroat and hybrids, the size of the fish was excellent and should result in good survival. The numbers of brook trout exceeded the objective and size again was excellent. It was also noted that statewide IDFG plants 20% of all trout fingerlings (put and grow) at Henrys Lake.

Fry Trap Results on Targhee and Howard Creeks

September 2006

The Idaho Dept of Fish and Game placed traps on the two creeks earlier in the summer to measure the number of fry that move downstream into Henrys Lake. This is one way to determine the success of the natural spawning effort upstream by the cutthroat trout. The department reported a good number of fry moving down Targhee in particular and marked an upswing in natural production. The results were better than anticipated and suggest that the new natural-bottom bridges over Targhee and Howard Creeks were having an immediate positive impact.

Restoration of Duck and Kelly Creeks

August 2006

Duck and Kelly Creeks are important tributaries on the southwest side of Henrys Lake. Over the years the creeks have become silted over and no longer provide meaningful spawning habitat. In order to restore the habitat on Duck and Kelly Creeks a cooperative agreement has been reached with the US Fish and Wildlife Agency, the Henrys Lake Foundation and the owner of the property through which the creeks run. This is a $20,000 project to “improve habitat values for fish and wildlife” through restoration, enhancement, creation and management activities.” The project will begin in the spring of 2007 and will include fencing along the stream banks, re-vegetation, grade and water flow improvements.

Targhee and Howard Creek Cutthroat Trout Spawning Access Restored

June 2006

To mark the completion of the new natural-bottom bridges over Targhee and Howard Creeks, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held on June 3rd at the Targhee Bridge with a reception following at the home of HLF President Ron Slocum. In attendance were Senator Mike Crapo and members of his staff as well as representatives from Idaho Dept of Transportation, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, US Forest Service, and other organizations that assisted in this collaborative effort to restore access to the historic spawning beds for Yellowstone Cutthroat trout in these two tributaries of Henrys Lake. The replacement of the obstructive culverts on these two creeks now allows unimpeded access to miles of historical spawning habitat that was blocked by the culverts. Many trees and boulders were placed in the streams to form pools and runs thereby returning the creeks to natural grades and flow rates. The stream banks were planted with willows and other native plants to provide shade and cover.