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Kids Fishing Day

By | outings & education

The Hemingway Chapter of Trout Unlimited would like to thank the many volunteers who showed up to help the youth with fly fishing day. We had three separate events this year, each event was divided into four separate groups, fishing, birding, a hatchery tour by IDFG personnel, and a conservation game. This year approximately 125 children were involved. All the children enjoyed the day and caught fish and created memories to last a lifetime!!

Save Bristol Bay- Stop Pebble Mine

By | conservation & projects

Bristol Bay, Alaska is one of the most pristine watersheds in N. America.  It is home to the world’s largest Sockeye Salmon runs.

In addition, there are tremendous runs of several other salmon species, including Kings, Chinook, Coho as well as giant Rainbow Trout

The Proposed Pebble Mine puts all of these at risk.

 Please take a few moments out of your day to help stop the Pebble mine.

Click on the link below to take action. For your convenience there is a pre-written letter or you can write your own.

Click on these video links to learn more about the threat of the Pebble Mine and a great video on Bristol Bay Salmon

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kufv8lqi5IY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_u1QejwfJf4

This mine proposal has a long history. It has been stopped before thanks to widespread opposition, thank you for taking action.

Taking Care of Idaho Steelhead

By | conservation & projects

By Chris Wood

The first time you snorkel a stream, the size of the bugs is disarming. Stoneflies tumbling down the stream look like aquatic dragons bent on taking off a limb. It is an optical illusion, of course.

We were way up in the South Fork of the Salmon River drainage. Hiking in neoprene wet suits in relatively warm weather is never a good idea. It is a downright bad idea when you are gaining several thousand feet in elevation.

I eased into the cold water, and lifted my head and yelled in fake fright to a Forest Service colleague when I saw the first stoneflies drifting down the stream. I eased around some dead-fall, and around a bend, and gasped. There they were. Two steelhead, tails fanning, beat-up, side-by-side.

And not just any steelhead but likely part of the fabled Idaho “B-run” steelhead that spawn primarily in the Salmon and Clearwater rivers. The B-run steelhead are Idaho’s largest, and with good reason; some climb more than 6,000 feet in elevation and traverse more than 800 miles to their natal mountain streams to spawn.

I thought about those two fish when I learned that Idaho had decided to close the steelhead fishing season in Idaho for the year (which typically starts in September and continues into May the next year). Threats of litigation, the Endangered Species Act, and bureaucratic wrangling are part of the official explanation, but the real problem is that there just aren’t enough wild steelhead making it back to Idaho.

The decline of Snake River wild steelhead has been dramatic. In the early 1960s, over 100,000 wild steelhead returned to the Snake River. This year, by Nov. 15, when the vast majority of wild steelhead have already returned, only 11,719 wild steelhead had passed Lower Granite Dam. And fewer than 2,000 of those wild fish are the large B-run steelhead so highly prized by anglers.

Steelhead declines over time

Even compared to recent years the 2018 run of wild steelhead is abysmal. The 10-year average wild steelhead return exceeds 39,000.

Lower Granite is the last of the eight federal hydropower dams that span the Columbia and Snake Rivers.  This dam is the last impediment to the several thousand miles of habitat – much of it five-star quality—that awaits salmon and steelhead in the Snake River Basin if they can get past the dams, and too few do.

While the eight dams that Snake River wild steelhead must pass to reach their spawning grounds are not the only cause of their decline, that gauntlet takes a heavy toll. The last four dams that the fish must pass on the lower Snake River are particularly problematic. Though there is work to be done to reduce losses of Snake River wild steelhead to predators and harvesters downstream in the Columbia, as well as the need to reform hatcheries, overwhelming scientific evidence supports either removal of the four lower Snake River dams or some other way to improve survival as the most effective way to recover Snake River salmon and steelhead to healthy, fishable levels.

Releasing a wild steelhead

The state of Idaho has spent millions of dollars restoring wild steelhead and salmon habitat in the Snake River Basin. Similarly, Idaho farmers have reduced their irrigation withdrawals from the Snake to help young salmon and steelhead with their downstream migration through the predator-filled, slackwater reservoirs that sit behind each of the four Lower Snake dams. Cold water is released from Dworshak dam on the Clearwater to help cool the lethally hot water in the lower Snake River reservoirs during the summer months when adult wild steelhead and salmon return.

These measures, while certainly helpful, have not stopped the decline of Idaho’s wild steelhead and salmon.

Idahoans are incredibly proud of their wild salmon and steelhead. For 40 years they have been willing to shoulder sacrifices to ensure their return to their natal mountain streams. At some point, however, they will begin to question the benefit of the billions of taxpayer dollars that have been spent on wild steelhead and salmon without a clear path to recovery.

Let’s hope they do so soon. Time is running out for Idaho’s wild salmon and steelhead.

Chris Wood is the president and CEO of Trout Unlimited

Past Projects

By | conservation & projects

Upper Big Lost Project- East Fork

Hemingway TU partnered with TU’s Idaho Water Project, to harvest, grow and plant 750 willows on the upper Big Lost River.   This part of the project is completed and appears to have a high survival of willows.  Small log barriers were also removed to allow trout to migrate and to return this habitat back to its natural state.  This part of the project was completed in 2008.  2011 will see a fencing of the area to protect it from cattle.

Penny Lake Fishing Platform

A fishing platform for people with special needs and youth was built at Penny Lake on Warm Springs. This platform now provides improved fishing access, and protects the stream banks from erosion. It is rewarding to see how much this platform is used and enjoyed. This project was done in partnership with Trout Unlimited, SV Higher Ground, USFS  and Brian Poster Construction.

This platform project was completed 2009, however additional access paths and habitat improvement may be a future project.

Lake Creek Project

Lake Creek Lake sits in a beautiful setting and is one of the places families in the community gather to teach their children about fishing.  There is little stream habitat below the lake  in which fish can hold and survive.  This project was done enhance the stream to provide better habitat for trout to live in.

Volunteers and Staff from TU and the US Forest Service performed a stream enhancement project on Lake Creek this October 2015.  The enhancement  consisted of adding large woody debris in-stream to add fish habitat and assist with stream hydraulics.  Volunteers moved log sections, secured them in-stream, and performed additional riparian enhancement work in 2014.  In 2015 phase 2, took place over three days.   Volunteers planted a variety of stream side vegetation that will provide, shade, habitat and stabilization to the habitat.  Lots of digging through rocky soils presented a challenge but the volunteers were undaunted.

Restoration of this area may continue in the future.  We will evaluate the impact of work completed in a few years to see if more restoration is viable.

Continuing Projects

By | conservation & projects

 Box Car Bend Clean-up & Maintenance

Every Spring, Usually in May

The Hemingway Chapter of Trout Unlimited  has been partnering with The Wood River Land Trust since 2006 on this annual project. Each year we provide maintenance to the accesses and trails at Box Car Bend on the Big Wood River. 

 Participants of all ages helped  pull invasive weeds, clean trails from overgrowth and crab grass, put down wood chips on the trails and maintain the erosion control barriers.
A few hours of hard work are followed up by a BBQ lunch and snacks.    
Volunteers should bring appropriate clothing including  hats, sun glassess, and work gloves.
Tools to bring: garden rakes, scoop shovels, hoes, Wheel Barrows

Contact for this project is  Carmen Northen at flyfishngirl@cox

Fishing Access Maintenance

One of the ongoing projects the Hemingway Chapter is involved in, is marking and maintaining access to the Big Wood river.  In 2011 we posted fishing regulation and access signs in English and Spanish on almost all of the Big Wood river accesses. We continue to maintain the accesses clearing them of overgrowth and making them visible.  This year we will again provide maintenance to these accesses and ensure regulation and access signs are posted.  Usually the project is done by 4 to 6 people over several days. We will be sending out notices of the dates for this project,  once we have them established. Volunteers are needed to participate in one day or all of them.



ERC Clean Sweep

Each spring since 2017 the Hemingway Chapter supports and participates with a team in the ERC “clean sweep” of the Wood River Valley.  Volunteers join together and clean up the river and banks along the Big Wood River at River Run access up and down stream.   We have found and removed a chaise lounge , burnt up guitar, a muffler system and lots of beverage bottles and cans, road cones and general debris.  Our team has won the “best spirit” award and “most unusual find” awards.  This is a fun event and accomplishes our goal of protecting our rivers.

Youth Philanthropy

By | outings & education

Thanks to the generosity of the Wood River Foundation, Louise Stumph from WOW Students, Erika Greenberg, Spanish teacher at WRHS and Mrs. Greenberg’s level 5 Spanish class, a check for $500.00 was donated today to the Hemingway Chapter of Trout Unlimited in recognition of their conservation efforts throughout the Wood River Valley. WOW Students is a nonprofit organization that promotes good works and “growing the next generation of generosity.” Students from Mrs. Greenberg’s class chose Trout Unlimited after extensive research into valley non-profits to determine the best recipient for their generosity.

Accepting the check on behalf of the Hemingway Chapter, is long time board member Bob Knoebel, and new TU board member Enrique Dolores, a Sophomore at WRHS. The funds donated will be used to support the chapter’s Youth Education Program.  New flyrods and supplies will be purchased to benefit more than 100 kids who chapter volunteers teach to flyfish each year, ensuring the future of the sport we love and inspiring the next generation of conservationists.

Adopt A Trout:  Held Tuesday Oct 30th

Location:  The Broadford Road Bridge South

Volunteers from Hemingway TU, Idaho Fish and Game and EPA met along with  teachers, students, and parents from the Pioneer Montessori School, to participate in this pilot program to get youth involved in trout and environmental education.  Twenty-five trout were captured using an electro shocker, measured, weighed, had a transmitter surgically placed in them and were put in a recovery cage overnight. The next morning all of the trout were healthy, doing well and were released back into the Big Wood River.  The children from the Montessori school gave names to each of the fish such as Big Franz for a large brown trout,  Sparkle for a beautiful rainbow trout etc, becoming personally attached to them.  The students also logged, on a tracking sheet, the number and name of each trout along with specifics about the trout and will track the movement of the trout over the next six months to see where they go in the river. This was a successful first event and we look forward to see the results of the fish movement in the Big Wood River, canals and bypasses.

What is Adopt-a-Trout?
TU’s Adopt-a-Trout (AaT) program is a placed-based educational experience catering to elementary school students. AaT programs are focused on engaging students by putting them on the ground; up close and personal with cold water fish and their habitats. The goal of AaT is to ensure that students become active citizens in their community and future stewards of local resources. AAT keeps the focus and attention of students by emphasizing hands-on, real world learning. AaT programs do this by:

  • Inspiring students’ curiosity and interest in trout, their habitat, and aquatic ecosystems.
  • Partnering students with biologists and resource professionals on research and science projects.
  • Exposing students to future aquatic restoration activities and projects.
  • Providing students with the knowledge and skills needed to have fun fishing.

Youth Leadership

By | outings & education

 Hemingway Chapter of Trout Unlimited is in the process of updating our youth leadership program.  We will select two persons to be Youth Advisor to the Hemingway TU Board of Directors.  Prospective goals for Youth Advisors  will be to help in leadership with other youths, coordinate outings and projects.  Another aspect will be social media suggestion and input.  All goals are to be nine with TU’s mission and vision.

Fish Rescue

By | conservation & projects

Every year thousands of trout and other species of fish which live in the Big Wood River migrate into irrigation diversions and canals never to return to the river. At the end of each irrigation season when the water flows are shut off, the fish become trapped and die.

The Hemingway Chapter of TU has been working with canal companies and Idaho Fish and Game ( IDFG) for over a decade to rescue these stranded trout and put them back into the Big Wood River. When water is about to be shut off, TU is notified by the canal companies or Water Master at which point we recruit volunteers to net and transport the fish from the canals back into the Big Wood River at the location closest to the collection point.

In order to do this,  the Hemingway TU Chapter applies for both fish collection and transport permits which are provided by IDFG and follow prescribed collection and transport techniques approved by IDFG. We use seine nets to collect fish from the shallow waters, put them in buckets with oxygen bubblers and then place the fish into an aerated, oxygen infused fresh water tank, where they are held until we finish the collection. Once the collection is complete we transport the fish back to the Big Wood River and put them back in.

One of the difficulties is timing. We have no way to measure how fast the water will percolate into the ground and dry up, so we make our best estimate based upon years of experience. Once we get the shutoff date we have only a couple of days to coordinate volunteers, ready equipment and get to the site to rescue the trout. Recently John Wright of the Diversion 45 Canal company has been working closely with us to provide advanced notification and even maintain some small flows to allow time to rescue the fish. This has helped our success rate in collection of fish.

John Finnell who designed, built and donated the fish rescue tank, has been involved with the fish rescues for years is the point person for this effort and deserves a great deal of credit for the success of this program.

This rescue is both fun and rewarding and volunteers of all ages are welcome to participate.   If you have never participated in a rescue,  come out and join us. It is usually a three to four hour commitment, but a person can leave whenever they need to.

If interested please contact Ed Northen, hemingwaytu@me.com mobile 949-246-9372.

photo credit Nancy Whitehead

Youth Education

By | outings & education

Each year Hemingway TU provides various opportunities to educate youth in the Wood River Valley.  Last year we worked with approximately 130 kids teaching them the value of habitat and conservation, as well as how to fish. Silver Creek Outfitters generously supports these efforts through donation of fishing gear.  Recently we had a donation of Sage and Reddington fly rod combo’s  and we purchased 16 more at cost.  This added to the 4 flyrod combos donated by LL Bean will allow us to expose Youth to catch and release flyfishng.

Students spend the day at the Hayspur Fish Hatchery where they are given a tour of the hatchery, learn about trout, are taken on a bird walk and taught how to identify birds, play a game that teaches about ecology/ conservation and are taught how to catch and release fish with fly rods. We partner with Idaho Fish and Game who lead the hatchery tours and stock the pond with rainbow trout, to ensure many bent rods and smiling faces.

For more information or to be part of this great effort please please contact:

Bob Knoebel Chairman, Youth Education
Trout Unlimited, Hemingway Chapter at Flyrodbob@aol.com  720-0005

Below are the events we held in 2018.

photos by Bob Knoebel

Alturas Elementary School:  May  2018

Hemingway TU members play an important role in teaching kids to fish and to appreciate our environment. Volunteers helped to SUSTAIN the sport we love by sharing our skills. We  will spend the day with 80 fourth  graders from the Alturas Elementary School many who are first time anglers! The day  included fishing, birding , games and a tour of the hatchery (thanks Jamie Mitchell and your staff at Hayspur!).  These enthusiastic kids had  a great day as they  caught a trout and then released it to watch it swim away. Volunteers always experience a reward for their efforts when they see the smiles on the faces of these kids.

YMCA: June,  2016

This year we had another very successful event fishing with YMCA students.  There were lots of large fish caught on flies and released, resulting in big smiles on the faces of these ambitious anglers.  Owls, yellow warblers, Northern harriers and red winged black birds, were  just a few of the bird sightings the accompanied a fun and educational tour of the fish hatchery by  the IDFG crew.

Higher Ground Youth 2014

This was our final youth education / fishing outing for the year.  It was a thrill for these youngsters to be able to catch and release Rainbow Trout, see birds and play some games that helped them learn about the environment and go through a tour of the trout hatchery.  Come out and volunteer to take some kids fishing. It is always a lot of fun for both the kids and the volunteers.   Contact Bob Knoebel, Chairman, Youth Education, 720-0005 to volunteer.

Silver Creek Restoration

By | conservation & projects

On October 8th,  Hemingway TU volunteers gathered at Silver Creek Preserve to partner with The Nature Conservancy to plant native plants of various sizes to help protect and restore areas of the preserve. Dayna Gross the Preserve Manager oversaw the plantings and lunch was provided for all the workers.  It was a rewarding day for all the participants.  There will be more opportunities for planting and stream restoration in the future. Dave Spaulding, our project chair coordinated and participated in this restoration effort.