IDAHO FALLS - The coming of spring means different things to different people. To some, itÔs a time to start their gardens or clean out the garage, but to certain individuals it means that it is time to check out whether a rather unique angling opportunity will exist or not. The start of April marks the time that the IDFG starts getting calls about the Big Feeder being shut down for repairs.
The Dry Bed, which is also called the Big Feeder or Great Feeder Canal, was once a natural side channel of the South Fork of the Snake River. Early settlers to the area built head gates and diversion structures on the waterway, basically converting it into a canal even though it continued to also function as an aquatic habitat capable of supporting fish populations. Fishing is allowed year round, except during that period when maintenance work is required on the head gates, then certain standing exceptions in IDFG Fishing Regulations come into play. These special rules were created because a stretch of the canal is de-watered due to the repairs and fish are stranded in deep pools or large puddles as water levels drop. The use of pumps to accelerate the draining process to make the fish more accessible is a prohibited practice, even though some people have tried to do so over the past few years.
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 remain prohibited. The stretch covered by this special exception runs from the Highway 48 near the Lewisville Fresh-Pak Potato Plant upstream to the Union Pacific Railroad bridge located 1.5 miles northeast of Ririe. It is important to note that most access to the canal is across private ground, so it important to get permission ahead of time.