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Old 10-18-2013, 02:35 PM
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Default Small Stream Cutts - Idaho

Small Stream Cutts
I only get over to this small stream section once or twice a year. Usually I try to fish it in Oct. For much of the year it is dewatered, eroded, and too warm. It has many problems, and for most of the year the fish are stressed just from the environmental issues they face.

I am posting this because I wanted to share the beauty of these native cutts. Out of all the places I fish, I think I admire and respect these fish for thriving in a hard situation. They are survivors!

Each year I have seen fewer fish and fewer year classes. I didn't see any fingerlings at all this year. Many of the trout are longer, but more snaky. Beavers have taken over and most of the runs and pools are now slow water with lots of weeds. This stream really needs a good spring flush.

Fishing any kind of nymph through the bottom slime would be a major challenge. Even my dry flies turned pretty green from being drug through it. There were still hoppers out especially on the hillsides, but it was cold enough in the shade that there was ice on edges at noon. Hoppers and larger flies weren’t working so I switched to a parachute adams type of fly for most of the day. I probably could have switched to a caddis or hopper later on, but I stuck with the smaller flies since they seemed to be doing ok.

Sorry about the water spots on some of the pictures and how many there are. I tried to cut back on the number of pictures, but I have a hard time culling any. And no, not all the fish there are the big ones. They are just the ones I take pictures of! It does kind of give you a one sided slant to the creek though.

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This next one was the fattest and healthiest. I think it probably took care of all the small fish!

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I love the colors and different spotting patterns on the cutts.
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Old 10-18-2013, 08:56 PM
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Default Re: Small Stream Cutts - Idaho

Beautiful fish and stream. The Fall colors are spectacular.
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Old 10-18-2013, 11:01 PM
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Default Re: Small Stream Cutts - Idaho

Looks like a fine day of fishing. I really enjoyed the pictures. It's a shame to see a stream go down that way. Is there any way to restore it or clean it up ?
I wonder if there are some trappers who would like to meet the beaver families....there is an organization that often has a booth at the East Idaho State Fair who promote trapping.
Other than that, perhaps a T.U. project, or just a volunteer weekend or two may work wonders to keep this stream alive for another generation or two.
The again, maybe it needs to remain " no tellum creek "
If you ever need volunteers, PM me, and I can round up a few.
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Old 10-19-2013, 12:24 AM
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Default Re: Small Stream Cutts - Idaho

Yep, beautiful fish. I fished the Yellowstone for a couple hours this afternoon, running nymphs through a few runs wading upstream from one of the bridge accesses, and it was seeming like I could catch nothing but whitefish until I finally hooked an absolutely gorgeous cutthroat of about 19 inches. It was the only trout I caught, but it made the short trip well worthwhile!
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Old 10-19-2013, 06:29 AM
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Default Re: Small Stream Cutts - Idaho

I loved your trip report, photos of the stream and fish, thanks for sharing! I agree with Siege, sounds like that stream needs some TLC from either volunteers or a local TU Chapter or maybe some help from the local trappers to thin out the beavers. If you're inclined to organize a cleanup party, I'll certainly try to help. Might be a good idea to start by talking with your local Game and Fish fish biologists and see what they think about doing some cleanup work on the stream.

Larry
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Old 10-19-2013, 08:13 AM
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Default Re: Small Stream Cutts - Idaho

Man those sure are fat and healthy fish for that size of water. Love it!!
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:19 AM
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Default Re: Small Stream Cutts - Idaho

Mostly for now it needs to be No Tellum Cr. The worst problem is the lack of water from lack of snow pack. These last two years have been brutal. I think that the year classes are affected due to siltation, fragmentation of the stream, and the extreme low water in the last two summers.

Irrigation diversions do take out a majority of the water. This whole stream is severely fragmented by dewatered sections due to irrigation diversions. In a high water spring flow is the only time water flows all of the way down this creek and even reaches the river. Those high water events really help to clear out the silt and also to allow the fish to move to different sections. This section that I was fishing may receive most of its new year classes for somewhere upstream that has better spawning. Without high water those fish can't move between sections. The irrigation flows are off now, and the water has come up and is clear and cold.

Cows are part of the siltation and lack of cover in areas, but most of this stream is on private land. I am just thankful that we can still fish it at all.

The beavers are a mixed blessing. They create holes and deep pools that the fish can hold in. They also bring woody material into the water, but too many and all of the spawning beds get covered also. The section I was in is slower, has more willows and the deeper holes that the larger fish can survive in. It is a short area and I hike in to it. I doubt that many other people know about it or the fish that hold there. Some of the very upper sections of this stream are on public land and the fish will probably always be there to repopulate the lower sections.

I call this the "Timex" or "Eveready Bunny Creek". .... It comes down out of the hills and there is an irrigation diversion that takes all its water. It comes back from springs below there and flows down to another diversion in a few miles. Again it comes back as springs and builds up below this one also (this is some of the area I was in). It flows down past there and is dewatered again. It comes back again as springs and flows a few miles to another diversion that takes all of the water unless it is a high water year. Only in the spring does any of it ever see the river. The fish are pure native cutts that have survived there forever. I hope they always will.

It takes a lickin and keeps on tickin.

I have been talking to F&G here for several years now. They are very aware of this stream, and they have done a lot while still not highlighting it to the public. TU is also in on some of the negotiations. Some issues have already been taken care of and some are in the works. I have high hopes for it in the future. Changes are being made. It all takes time.

The biggest change we need is snow this winter!
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Last edited by cpiercem; 10-20-2013 at 11:19 AM.
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Old 10-19-2013, 09:51 AM
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Default Re: Small Stream Cutts - Idaho

Sounds like you have a good handle on trying to fix the problems you see on that small stream. Here in Wyoming G&F has been working on a number of streams to negotiate a minimum release of water flowing into the streams, in other words, the farmers and ranchers all agree to only take a certain percentage of any water available to allow the fish to survive regardless of the snow pack conditions on any particular year. The other thing that G&F can do is help educate the land owners and help with building fences to keep cattle and horses from eroding the creek bank sides. If you ever get a chance to float the Green River here in Western Wyoming you will see what I'm talking about. It's not perfect, but definitely a start in the right direction. I agree, we need more snow.

Larry
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Old 10-19-2013, 10:31 AM
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Default Re: Small Stream Cutts - Idaho

That is exactly what we are working on. We don't want to stop all of the irrigation, but to make things more efficient for both the farmers and the fish. It takes lots of cooperation. Thankfully we have had lots of good projects here in Idaho that have been a win for the farmers too, so that they can see that it isn't a case of us against them.

The stream banks are long and will take a lot of fence to do all. Really there are only a few areas that are in highest need. Maybe after we get the water issues worked out it can be next. Then we can go in and replant willows and make deeper pools in some sections. I would really love to see all of this stream produce fish like these.
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