The start of April marks the beginning of a potentially unique angling experience in Eastern Idaho. While the season is set by the Idaho Fish & Game Commission, control of the actual flows is done by the Great Feeder Canal Company. This means that flows may vary greatly and not correspond directly to regulation dates.
The Dry Bed, which is also called the Big Feeder or Great Feeder Canal, is a historic side channel of the South Fork of the Snake River. Early settlers to the area built headgates and diversion structures on the waterway, but biologically it has continued to function as an aquatic habitat capable of supporting fish populations. Fishing is allowed year round, but each year when routine maintenance work is required on the headgates, 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.
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 (Between Lewisville and Menan, near the Idahoan Fresh Pack Plant) upstream to Great Feeder Irrigation Diversion headgate northeast of Ririe. It's important to note that most access to the canal is across private ground, so it's important to get permission ahead of time.
All regular bag and possession limits remain in effect. The daily limit is six trout (including cutthroat) any size and 25 mountain whitefish. Any fish caught must be killed immediately, transport of any live fish in Idaho is illegal without a permit.
Special maps of the Big Feeder are available free of charge at the IDFG office in Idaho Falls. For further information call 525-7290.