Boise Valley Fly Fishers
Since 1971



News and information on BVFF conservation projects

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   Next >  Last >> 
  • 16 Jul 2022 1:42 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    Owyhee River Gravel Augmentation Study

    The Owyhee River has an amazing brown trout population. Initially when the dam was built, the river below  was intended to just be a put-and-take fishery but the stocked brown trout  were able to successfully spawn and their population exploded. The best habitat for brown trout extends from the dam down 15 miles to Snively Springs but the density of the brown trout population is notably higher in the first 5 miles of the river. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has been counting brown trout redds on the Owyhee River for over 15 years and one consistent trend is that even though water temperatures and quality are excellent down through the lower reaches, there are significantly fewer redds per mile there compared to upstream.

    BVFF has been volunteering with ODFW to help count redds on the Owyhee river for several years and has been talking with Oregon fish biologists Dave Banks and Kirk Handley about the possibility of doing a gravel augmentation on the river to increase the amount of spawning in the lower reaches of the river. For an area to be suitable for a gravel augmentation it needs to have the right water depth and velocity for brown trout to spawn plus logistically be close enough to the river for us to add the gravel. Working with ODFW we have identified a riffle and run below an intermittent creek called Sand Hollow that looks promising as well as a tail-out nearby below the lower concrete bridge.

    In November and December of 2021 BVFF volunteers met at the Owyhee river to help ODFW to evaluate the suitability of the proposed gravel augmentation sites. We started by measuring the depth, flow and bottom composition at redd locations in a highly successful spawning run in the upper river, below the Hollywood Hole. We found that browns typically built their redds in water depths of 1 – 2 feet in riffles but would build their redds as shallow as 6 inches deep in a riffle to as deep as 3 feet as the riffle dropped into a run.

    We then took cross-sections of the proposed augmentation sites to compare with the successful spawning area and we counted brown trout redds in the area. We found a total of only 20 redds in the 2 ½ mile lower spawning reach below Sand Hollow with none of the redds being in the proposed augmentation areas. For comparison in the riffle and run below the Hollywood Hole we there are 65 or more redds in a 100 yard riffle. Our depth and flow measurements have confirmed that our proposed augmentation sites are suitable locations to add gravel. Having these measurements not only validate that the sites are good but gives us supporting evidence that we can use to apply for a grant from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to help fund the gravel augmentation. We are working on the grant and permit paperwork now and if all goes well, we will be doing the gravel augmentation in November 2022. Stay tuned for more information and opportunities to volunteer to help.

    This article first ran in the Hackle Bender club newsletter. Check out our old Hackle Benders!

  • 27 Jun 2022 8:19 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    BVFF has partnered with Idaho Fish and Game and the Intermountain Bird Observatory on Trout Habitat and Anti-Litter signs for the new Diane Moore Nature Center.   We are excited to be able to call this a "Wild Trout Area" and encourage Catch and Release fishing and to get our first wildlife-focused anti-litter sign on the Boise River!

    The signs will be installed along the newly restored side-channel in August. Watch for a BVFF event announcement soon.

  • 12 Jun 2022 11:56 AM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    Trout make their living by eating bugs. During non-hatch times they feed opportunistically subsurface but during a hatch they get tuned-into looking for a specific “bug-target”—ignoring everything else. During these times the angler who matches the size, shape and color of the “bug-target” will get more fish to take their fly.


    Matching size is critical for success but anglers often midjudge it or don’t give it much thought. To us the difference between a size #16 and size #18 fly doesn’t look like much but realize that a size #16 is 25% larger—enough for an educated trout to notice.


    To accurately measure the size of the hatching bug you need to obtain a sample. Wade in below the rising fish and use a small aquarium net to scoop up your prize. Compare the bug sample to your flys and choose something that matches the size, shape and color. It helps to measure the bug-size for future reference. You can use a small ruler but I recommend the Bugometer, which is a pocket sized “bug ruler” that has hook sizes printed on it. The Bugometer is a critical tool to carry to help you match the hatch and is available thru Dry Fly Innovations.


    Bug-size varies throughout the season and across locations. As a general trend, Nymphs and Terrestrials get larger through the season while adults get smaller. For example a Skwala nymph is a size #14 (3xl) in October, growing to a #12 in January and a #8 by the time it hatches in April. Similarly Grasshoppers will be a size #12 early in the summer but can grow to a size #2 by Fall. While Adult PMDs can be a size #14 when the hatch starts, shrinking to a size #16 a few weeks later and are often a size #18 by the end of the hatch. BWOs tend to be larger in the Spring and smaller in the Fall and have significant size variations through the hatch.


    Bug shape is generally considered if the natural has an “up-wing” (mayfly), “down-wing” (caddis) or “flat-wing” (stonefly). But it is also important to take note of the phase of the hatching bug. Does it have an emerging shuck? Does it have the outspread clear wings of a spinner? Does it have the egg-ball of an egg laying adult? Matching the phase of the bug on the water can often “crack the code” of what picky rising trout are taking.


    Color is often what anglers pay the most attention to but matching the exact shade isn’t usually needed. When matching the color pay special attention to the bottom of the bug, as this is what the trout sees.


    Paying attention to hatches pays dividends. In late June I noticed these fresh Golden Stone shucks at the river’s edge at the M.F. of the Boise—indicating a golden stone hatch was underway. I tied on a fly to match and BOOM! Fish ON, first cast.

    This article first ran in the Hackle Bender club newsletter. Check out our old Hackle Benders!

  • 09 Jun 2022 3:59 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    With the rapid increase in population in the Treasure Valley and the influx of people fishing due to the pandemic, showing consideration for fellow anglers and river stewardship is more important than ever.

    Last year BVFF submitted a request to Idaho Fish and Game to add anti-litter and fishing etiquette information to the general fishing regulations. We included some simple graphics as examples to emphasize key points, as well as asked them to adopt some of the fishing etiquette information in one of their Steelhead Fishing pamphlets. IDF&G added an excellent graphic titled “Keep Idaho Waters Clean”, which we are very happy to see, but they declined to add anything on etiquette at this time, citing limited space and publication costs.

    BVFF is continuing to look for ways to get fishing etiquette information out into the fishing community. We leveraged some excellent guidelines from Fly Fishers International into some materials for the Fly Fishing Expo last January and asked all presenters to incorporate the concepts into their presentations. We have created a new “BVFF Code Of Angling” web-page that contains all of this information.

    The FFI Angling Code document is excellent but is long and very detailed. I have reduced the FFI Angling Code to three items I feel embody the essence in concept without the details. They are:

    1. Take care of the fish. This includes proper fish handling, leaving spawning fish alone, and avoiding fishing when waters are too warm.

    2. Respect other anglers. This is the set of good  behaviors about sharing the water. 

    3. Leave it better. This is practicing river stewardship so the resource is available for the next generation

    The days of having miles of every river to ourselves are behind us. Moving forward we need to learn how to respectfully share the water as well as look for new waters that hold new challenges. We are looking for help to get this fishing etiquette information out to a wider audience. If you are interested in helping us promote the BVFF Angling Code, please contact me at

  • 17 Apr 2022 4:17 PM | Troy Pearse (Administrator)

    I am pleased to report that Rainbow Trout are spawning in the side channel where BVFF did their gravel augmentation in January of 2021! The river flows are lower than normal, but a few rainbows have started using the upper gravel area.

    The large woody debris in the side channel continues to improve. The lower gravel augmentation area had some wood fall into the side channel over the winter, but we worked with the Boise Flood District to leave it for fry protection.

    We continue to have issues with the public putting rocks and logs across the top entry to the channel so they can cross to access the area below the diversion dam.  We are working on an approach to limit the impact to inflows into the channel.

    Idaho Fish and Game has added the side-channel to their yearly fry survey and we look forward to hearing what they find this Fall.

  • 30 Mar 2022 4:42 PM | James Kazakoff (Administrator)

    Boise Valley Fly Fishers has recently honored the cooperative work by Boise Flood District #10 with their efforts to map and avoid brown trout spawning redds, and improve the area for trout spawning, during the flood district's annual Boise River flood maintenance.

    You can read about the conservation project HERE.

    KTVB Channel 7  March 30, 2022

    Idaho Press Tribute  March 31, 2022

    Capital Press April 1, 2022

<< First  < Prev   1   2   3   Next >  Last >> 
Copyright © BVFF 2013 ---. All Rights Reserved.
The Boise Valley Fly Fishermen, Inc is a non-profit corporation organized under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, incorporated in the State of Idaho
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software