conservation & projects

Continuing Projects

By | conservation & projects

 Box Car Bend Clean-up & Maintenance:

Saturday, May 21st th 10:00 – 1:00

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 do maintenance to erosion control barriers.
A few hours of hard work are followed up by a BBQ Lunch and Snacks.    
Volunteers should bring  Clothing: Hats, Sun Glassess, and Work Gloves,
Tools to bring: Garden Rakes, Scoop Shovels, hoe, Wheel Barrel

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 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 regulationand 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. You can participate in one day or all of them.



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  which fish can hold and survive.  This project will 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.  The nehancemnt  consisted of adding large woody debris in-stream to add fish habitat and assist with stream hydraulics.  Volunteers moved log sections, secure them in-stream, and perform additional riparian enhancement work in 2014.  In 2015 phase 2, over three days   Volunteers planted a variety of streamside vegitation that will provide, shade, habitat and streamside stabilization to the habitat.  Lots of digging through rocky soils presented a challenge but the volunteers were undaunted.

A big Thank You to Staff and all the wonderful volunteers who paricipated:  Nick Alexander, John Ashton, Nick Cox, John Finnell, Butch Harper,  Bob Knoebel , Mark Milkovich, Carmen Northen, Ed Northen, March Pettygorve,Chad Stoesz, Kerri York Cathy Tyson-Foster, Dean Hovencamp, Alex Klokke and  Higher Ground volunteers :   Staff:  Erica Phillpips  USFS and Chad Chorney TU

Penny Lake Fishing Platform

By | conservation & projects

A fishing platform for Special needs persons and youths was built at Penny Lake on Warm Springs. This platform provides improved fishing access, and protecting the stream banks from erosion. It is rewarding to see how much this platform is used and enjoyed.

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

Upper Big Lost Restoration

By | conservation & projects


Hemingway TU Partner 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 return 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.

Silver Creek Restoration

By | conservation & projects


On October 8th,  Hemingway TU volunteers gathered at Silver Creek Preserve to partner with The Nature Conservancy  planting 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.  Their will be more opportunities for planting and stream restoration in the future. Dave Spaulding, our Project chair coordinated and participated in this restoration effort.

2014 Update

By | conservation & projects

July:  Each summer at the Glendale Diversion the Canal company create a earth dam across the Big Wood River and divert water down the Glendale diversion, leaving the Big Wood river Dry.  During this time many torut get stranded in the larger holes and eventually die.  This year the hemingway chapter of TU managed to rescue 475, wild rainbow and brown trout and put them back in the Big wood river abouve the diversion. Some fish as large as 15″.  While it is not a large number of fish these are 475 wild fish that will survive to reproduce and keep the native trout populations healthy.

Also in July, our chapter attempted a fish on the Big Wood River rescue below Magic reservoir.  The dates the water shutoff were changed and consequently we had to reschedule the rescue.  We waited for 24 hrs after the water was to be shut off were changed and the  water still too high when we attempted the rescue even though we waited 24 hrs. .  The previous year after 24 hrs the fish were dying and pelicans were eating the dead Trout.  It is stil uncertain why the water receeded at a much slower rate than last year.  We were not successful in rescing any fish, we did however make a step forward.  IDGF confined the fish salvage to below the Tressle on the river instead of allowing salvage on the whole river.   This meant many fish would still survive if they were able to get to one of the deep holes in the river.  TU and the Wood River Land Trust arecontinue to  try working with water users to secure water for the Big Wood River below Magic year round.

October:  This fall created some interesting challenges with Fish Rescues.  With our new Fish Rescue trailer built and ready to go to work, many of the diversions were not in shape to do rescues.  We had the usual last minute notices and date changes but TU voluteers readiliy strepped up to work hard at these rescues.  Unfortunately some rescues had to be cancelled  becasue the water levels water levels were too high, this was a result of a breach in the Distict 45  headgate (@ Howard Preserve) and a debris jam on the canal below Glendale Road.  Still we managed to save approx 500 trout from the Starweather diversion on the Big Wood River and a holding pond on Trail creek. Most of these fish were in the reproduciton range one measured17 inches.   Thanks to Chad Chorney, Eric Eberhart, John Finnell, Ed Northen, Marsh Pettygrove and Dave Spaulding for participating in these rescues..  In additon thanks to Ed Cutter, Wood Friedander, Bob Knoebel, Carmen Northen and Alan Richardson who showed up to help on the days the rescues were cancelled.


2013 Update

On August 9th 2013,  the Hemingway Chapter of Trout Unlimited conducted a fish rescue at the District 45 diversion in Bellevue.  Normally the diversion is not closed until later in the year but a repair needed to be done so the canal gate was closed stranding many trout.  Volunteers had to be rallied on a moments notice and concerned  TU members responded to the rescue.  Nine volunteers, Chad Chorney and Mark Davidson, TU Staff and Doug MeGargle from Idaho Fish and Game, rescued approximately 3,500 trout from the canal and returned them to the Big Wood River.  The water level in the canal was pretty high making the rescue more difficult.  A Electro shocker provided by Idaho Fish and Game made the rescue much more successful.  We will be conducing more rescues as the summer and fall progress.

In September:  Volunteers from the Hemingway Chapter, anglers from the RR , local Guides and Idaho Fish and Game Transferred over 1500 trout from the Purdy pond area into RR section of Silver Creek.  The transfer was necessitated because of the restoration project taking place on the pond which includes, dredging and creating channels in the former pond area, building of islands, removal of the old dam and replacement with a new dam which will allow for a fish passage and have the ability to  release water from below and over the top of the dam.   This project will provide cooler water temperatures which were dangerously high, allow for fish migration through sections of Silver Creek and mitigates issues of silt which have collected. After the Fish Transfer a delicious lunch was provided to the volunteers by Bud Purdy.

If you are interested in helping out on with a fish rescue please send an email to:R. Chad Chorney   |  Trout Unlimited, Southern Idaho Project Manager (Ph) 208-420-4096, this will allow us to place you on the rescue list.



Big Wood River Below Magic

Trout Unlimited in partnership with the Wood River Land Trust have are working on a solution to the problem of maintain year round water flows on the Big Wood River below Magic Reservoir.

We had been working on a solution for over 3 years and thought an agreement had been reached unfortunately this did not come to fruition, when the Big Wood Canal Company stepped back from the agreement.  Disastrously this setback occurred in a year with a very warm and dry spring, less than normal snow pack and Magic Reservoir being at the lowest levels since it was built, due to a required repair.  The result was a significant fish kill with thousands of large Rainbow and brown Trout, many over 18” dying in this magnificent fishery.

We continue to work on creative solutions to obtain a permanent year round water source for this unique ecosystem and fishery.

Volunteers are needed to help collect water quality information on this portion of the Big Wood River this summer and fall.  The monitoring, including travel time, takes about 4 hrs.  Some of us make a day of it and  include some fishing somewhere.  The monitoring is a simple procedure and we will train you.

To volunteer, contact Chad Stoesz at Wood River Land Trust 788-3947 or  or Ed Northen, 949-246-9372


BWR Home Waters Initiative

The Big Wood river is part of TU National Home Rivers Initiative .

The Big Wood Home Rivers Initiative seeks to take advantage of a supportive local angling community and our long history of restoration success to restore the full wild trout potential of the Big Wood.  Our objective is to both restore fish populations and the habitat they need, and to educate landowners that live along the banks of the river and its tributaries about how to protect and steward those unique resources.  Home Rivers Initiatives are national programs that place a full-time staff member in a watershed to live and work with and within the local community and bring TU’s scientific, policy, grassroots and legal expertise to bear on watershed- scale restoration and protection.

R. Chad Chorney, Southern Idaho Project Manager is the TU’s full time staff person working on the goals of the initiative and is working out of an office in Hailey.

As is common to all of TU’s conservation work we do not hope to accomplish  our goals alone.  The list of project partners is long and growing. These partners in the Wood River Valley include; Idaho Fish and Game, The Nature Conservancy, The Wood River Land Trust, Hemingway Chapter of TU , Silver Creek Outfitters, private landowners and Idaho  Department of Water Resources .

In Febuary 2016 A Geomorphic assesment of the Big Wood River was completed and presented to the public.  This study is combined with other studies on fish populations and entomology of the Big Wood River.  Below is a definiton of what a Geomorphic assessment is about.


The Role of Watershed Assessments in River Restoration 

By: Dan Dauwalter, Ph.D., Trout Unlimited, Boise, Idaho 

The way a stream or river looks when you’re standing on the bank or while fishing reflects what is going on in the watershed, both on land and in tributary streams. Streams and rivers naturally transport water, sediments (coarse and fine), and organic materials (wood and leaves). As these as are transported downstream they interact with the stream channel, banks, and floodplain, and these interactions determine how the river looks in character – this look is commonly referred to as a river’s morphology. Since river morphology is influenced by its watershed, it also reflects human activities far from and adjacent to the river.

We often seek to restore rivers to ameliorate some of the problems we see in them due to human activities. Sometimes these problems are obvious like severe streambank erosion, but sometimes these problems are more subtle, such as when there are small changes in the streambed elevation due to changes in sediment supply. In the past, river restoration was often done in a haphazard fashion. That is, someone noticed an obvious problem and tried to fix it without a broader understanding what was causing the problem in the first place. Today, river restoration is often done by first by understanding the issues with a river and their cause before implementing any restoration projects. A common starting point in large-scale river restoration programs, therefore, is conducting a science-based watershed assessment.

Watershed assessments completed to aid river restoration planning typically have a strong focus on geomorphology and hydrology because of their strong influence on aquatic habitats and fisheries. One common assessment methodology is the Watershed Assessment of River Stability and Sediment Supply (WARSSS; Rosgen 2006). The WARSSS methodology is a multi-stepped process focused on identifying land use impacts to sediment imbalances and river stability. The assessment outcome is the identification of risks and consequences of altered sediment supply and river channel instability – two factors import to the natural functioning of river systems. Of course the natural functioning of river systems impact aquatic habitats, aquatic life, and ecosystem function. These connections between what is happening in the watershed, river function, aquatic habitats, and aquatic life are what drive the health of trout fisheries in rivers like the Big Wood River


Recent Projects

Loving Creek Fish Ladder and Revegitation Project

“On Saturday, May 17th, the Hemingway Chapter of Trout Unlimited partnered with RBC Wealth Management employees, and TU staffer Chad Chorney, to re-vegetate a recent fish passage project on Loving Creek.  During the fall of 2013, a fish ladder and bypass channel were constructed on Loving Creek (tributary to Silver Creek) where a migration barrier existed, allowing for fish passage of all age-classes of trout.  The fish passage will provide access to upstream spawning and rearing habitat for adult trout, and will enable juvenile trout to migrate to nursery areas within the watershed.

TU and RBC volunteers planted approximately 600 individual native sedges, cut and planted native willows along sensitive riparian corridors, and spread native seed along disturbed upland areas.  Re-vegetation on restoration projects is critical, and these efforts can’t be accomplished without assistance from volunteers.  Thank you to the RBC employees and Hemingway chapter volunteers that helped make this project a success!’