DARCY MCCARRICK Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game
KETCHUM – Every three years, staff at Idaho Fish and Game conduct a Big Wood River population survey. Three sections of the river will be studied: north of Ketchum, near Gimlet and near Hailey. Monitoring population trends allows fisheries biologists to assess the overall health of the population and assess the effectiveness of regulations.
Biologists use electric fishing gear to temporarily stun fish so that they can be net-caught and placed in a livewell. Once the fish have been caught, a count of how many fish of each species are caught and information such as length, weight and growth measurements are taken. Once all the biological data has been collected, the fish are released into the river.
This year the fishing and hunting teams will inspect the highest section (north of Ketchum) on September 15 and 22, the Gimlet section on September 16 and 23 and the Hailey section on September 17 and 24. If anyone sees fishing crews sampling and using electrofishing equipment, please stay out of the water for the safety and security of the crew.
The Big Wood River is a diverse trout fishery located in south-central Idaho and is considered one of Idaho’s most productive trout streams. Anglers love to catch brown trout, brook trout, rainbow trout and whitefish. The Big Wood River is socially and ecologically important, which has made it a favorite spot for anglers, angling groups, and biologists. Surveys like this are an important step in monitoring trends in trout populations over time and help guide management decisions in the Big Wood River.