Blackfoot River WMA

Before You Go

Blackfoot River WMA is located at the lower end of a high valley in eastern Idaho. County roads run through the WMA where visitors will find four parking areas — two provide access to the Blackfoot River and two access the surrounding upland areas. Motorized vehicles are restricted to parking lots and established roads.

Visiting Hours:

Open year-round, seven days a week.

Contact:

Southeast Regional Office

1345 Barton Road
Pocatello, ID 83204
United States
Phone: 
(208) 232-4703

WMA facts

Primary Purpose: Protect and enhance habitat for Yellowstone cutthroat trout and waterfowl production.

Habitat: Sagebrush steppe, wet meadow, lodgepole pine, riparian

  • 2,400 acres
  • Caribou County
  • Established in 1995

things to know

Four parking areas can be found along county roads that bisect the WMA.

Vehicles must stay on public roads and parking areas.

A primitive launch site for float boats is located at the Diamond Creek Road bridge crossing.

Portable toilets are located at parking areas during the fishing and hunting seasons.

resources

Overview

The riparian, upland, and forest habitats of the Blackfoot River WMA offer a rich variety of resources for fish and wildlife.

  • Many species of waterfowl and water birds nest and rear their young on the WMA.
  • The aspen complexes provide fawning and calving areas for deer and elk.
  • Upland species on the WMA include blue and ruffed grouse and occasionally sharptailed grouse.
  • The headwaters of the Blackfoot River provides spawning and rearing habitat for native Yellowstone cutthroat trout.

Of all these habitats, the headwaters of the Blackfoot River and the cutthroat fishery are the primary focus of the WMA.

The Lanes and Diamond creeks merge at the east edge of the property to form the Blackfoot River. The first seven miles run through the WMA where it had long been an exceptional adfluvial Yellowstone cutthroat fishery. While catches of 5-pound cutthroat were not uncommon, anglers observed a decline in the fishery starting in the 1960s.

Since the property became a wildlife management area, several stream rehabilitation projects helped enhance fish habitat. A section of a tributary that had been diverted was returned to its original channel. Several bank stabilization projects, willow plantings, and removing livestock from the stream banks have all help renew vegetation and stabilize the river corridor.

Additional research identified another impact on the fishery. The number of American white pelicans on Blackfoot Reservoir was growing, and biologists discovered they were eating a lot of Blackfoot River fish, especially during their migration from the Reservoir to the headwaters to spawn. Managers have been taking steps to limit the nesting colony in order to reduce predation on Yellowstone cutthroat.

New developments are expected to adversely affect the WMA. Current phosphate mining exploration on the edges of the WMA and a proposed open pit mine on a portion of the WMA are likely to impact wildlife habitat, species composition, water quality, and wildlife use. Proper reclamation and mitigation are being sought for these activities.

News

Activities

Hunters visit the WMA to hunt deer, elk, moose and waterfowl.

Fishing for Yellowstone cutthroat trout has long been a popular activity on the WMA. Special rules apply - no bait, barbless hooks only and no harvest of cutthroat trout. Fishing season is from July 1 to November 30.

Two parking areas provide direct access to the river. Anglers will find a primitive launch site for float boats at the Diamond Creek Road bridge crossing, which will provide access to 7.5 miles of Blackfoot River within the WMA boundaries.

Historically, catching of 5-pound cutthroat trout was not uncommon, and a 10-15 pound fish was not unheard of. In more recent years, anglers and fishery biologists have observed a decline in angler success. Some of this is attributed to the growing colony of American white pelicans on the nearby Blackfoot Reservoir.

Trapping is limited to two trappers per year. Trappers must contact the Southwest Regional Office, 208-232-4703, on or after July 1 to register for the following season. Trappers will be required to report harvest at the end of the season.

Riparian and wetland habitats provide good opportunities for seeing wildlife on the WMA.

Horse access is allowed. Walk-through gates facilitate horse and foot access when motorized vehicles are restricted. Managers have been making efforts to expand parking areas to accommodate horse trailers. All animal feed, straw and bedding must be certified weed-free.

Primitive camping is allowed, however, most campers prefer abundant camping areas on U.S. Forest Service lands surrounding the WMA. Camping limit is 10 days and camps may not be left unattended more tha 48 hours. Open fires are not permitted.