The high water levels we continue to experience are providing one great silver lining for anglers; more places to fish.
Black's Creek, Indian Creek and Paddock Reservoirs are nearly brim full, but have been dry or nearly so for a number of years. While they look inviting to anglers, there's one small problem; none of them contain many - or possibly any - fish.
Idaho Fish and Game does not operate a warmwater fish hatchery (bass, bluegill, crappie, pumpkinseed), but does have another means of restocking fish-poor reservoirs. Using electroshocking equipment, department staff stun, net and collect these fish species from other local waters where the fish are plentiful. Collected fish are trucked to their new home and released. "We like to conduct these activities in the spring before spawning occurs," Fish and Game fisheries manager Joe Kozfkay noted. "Having that spawning activity occur in the new reservoir bolsters the fish population that much more."
Like most things, there are rules to follow when "shocking up" fish from any one water body. The number of fish removed is always well below 10 percent of the existing population and trophy fish are not part of the transplant effort. "The last thing we want to do is negatively impact an existing fishery," Kozfkay said. So far this spring, largemouth bass, bluegill and pumpkinseed have been collected from CJ Strike, Crane Falls and Brownlee Reservoirs as well as private ponds, and Mill Pond in Horseshoe Bend.
The hope of course is that within two years, and if decent snow packs continue during that time, these drought-stricken reservoirs will provide quality fishing opportunities. We don't necessarily need a "snowpocalypse" every year, but a decent winter snowpack for a few consecutive years wouldn't be a bad thing, especially for the region's fish populations.