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No Water Means No Chance For Special Season On Dry Bed

For decades, April 1st has marked the opening of a unique fishery in the Upper Snake Region on the Dry Bed of the South Fork of the Snake River. Traditionally, each April the headgates that were installed in 1895 by the Great Feeder Canal Company to convert the old south channel into what was then hailed as the World's largest irrigation project, were shut down for maintenance. Because installation of new headgates has been ongoing since last fall, there is no water at this time to hold fish to be salvaged.

The special rules for the Dry Bed are incorporated each year automatically into the Idaho Department of Fish & Game's (IDFG) regulations booklet, so even though the rules exist this year, no opportunity to exercise them will occur this year. According to Regional Fishery Manager Dan Garren, "Water does sub in lower on the Dry Bed, but that stretch has never been included in the special rules."

If water existed, then IDFG Regulations for the Dry Bed include the exception that from 4/1- 4/30 it is legal to also take fish using hands, dip nets or snagging. Use of seine nets, chemicals, firearms, explosives, or electric current remains prohibited. The stretch of the Dry Bed covered by these special exceptions runs from Highway 48 (near the Idahoan Fresh Pack Plant) upstream to the Great Feeder headgates.