Restoration Revolution on the Logan River.

Fly Fishing Utah

We love to see things like this going on in the fly fishing industry, especially close to home where we enjoy fly fishing Utah’s waters!  Restoration projects are challenging, but this one on the Temple Fork of the Logan River seems to be a success initially.

Great article from the Herald Journal

Also we need to give a shout out to Cache Anglers and personnel from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources for aiding in this project.

ENJOY!

“When a group of anglers and biologists planted thousands of Bonneville cutthroat trout eggs in the Right Hand Fork last year, they weren’t sure what to expect.

They were pleasantly surprised this summer when they were finally able to get back into the area and found a small but healthy population of four- to five-inch cutthroat trout gobbling up bugs and generally looking like they belonged in this stretch of the Logan River.

“It’s been a great success,” said Paul Holden, a fisheries biologist and president of the Cache Anglers. “They survived the winter and the spring runoff, and they’re about the fattest fish you’ve seen.”

The project began with members of the Cache Anglers, along with personnel from the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, the Forest Service and Utah State University, collecting some 6,000 eggs from Temple Fork, a Logan River tributary, and transplanting them in Right Hand Fork. Fertilized eggs were placed in in-stream incubators until they hatched, and volunteers checked on the site from time to time. The goal is to establish — or re-establish, since Bonneville cutthroats may well have lived there at some point — a viable population of Utah’s state fish, which was nearly wiped out but has slowly regained a foothold thanks to transplanting projects.

Last week the group used electroshocking to count 117 fish in Right Hand Fork. Given that they covered less than one-third of the stream and electrofishing captures about 50 percent of available fish, Holden said, “my feeling is there are 500 to 1,000 (cutthroats) in that stream.”

Now that the fish have imprinted on this area, they should return there to spawn each spring, something hatchery fish don’t do. USU professor Phaedra Budy suggested stocking this section of Right Hand Fork, which has been fishless as long as anyone can remember, so biologists are interested to see if the population can take hold and grow. (One good sign, Holden noted, was that the small fish had become much more wary this spring, racing for cutbanks when humans approached.)

Brett Roper, a fisheries biologist for the Forest Service and a member of the Watershed Sciences Department at Utah State University, said it would take up to a decade of steady population increase to call the project a success, “but this is as successful as you can get to begin with.”

“It’s important to try to reestablish Bonneville cutthroat trout populations where they’ve sort of disappeared,” he said, “and this shows how and what can be done.”

This approach was initiated by Paul Thompson, DWR Northern Regional Fisheries Manager, and if it continues to pan out DWR will likely use it again to further expand the reach of the Bonneville cutthroat. Holden said the project may ultimately involve poisoning the brown trout in the lower reaches of Right Hand Fork and planting cutthroats in that portion too. On Wednesday the group did face one setback, as an another outing to collect eggs from Temple Fork failed because the fish had already spawned.

But the work will continue, and whenever the next class makes their way into Right Hand Fork, they will face a threat that their forebears didn’t — predatory fish, in the form of the older cutthroats.

“The ones from last year may well eat the ones we put in (in the future),” Holden said.”

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2 Responses to “Restoration Revolution on the Logan River.”

  1. Troutdawg Says:

    Nice to hear about another Successful restoration take place!

    Reply

    Chubbs Reply:

    absolutely. this ones seems to have really done well!

    Reply

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