Fish Rap: Fishing access limited at Silver Creek Preserve

F&G won't change fishing rules.

rphillips@idahostatesman.comJuly 17, 2014 

Visitor Center at The Nature Conservancy's Silver Creek Preserve.

ROGER PHILLIPS

I don't know the exact origin of "dog days of summer," but I know we tend to get dogged by annoying conditions July through September.

First is smoke. Forest fires have become a sad summer tradition. We see swaths of our favorite places burn, and even more area closed to access.

Next is warm water that becomes unhealthy to fish, particularly trout. The Nature Conservancy announced this week it is limiting fishing access at Silver Creek Preserve to between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m., which means you can't start fishing until 10 a.m. at the preserve.

Dayna Gross, conservation manager for the preserve, said that's because oxygen content in the creek is lowest early in the day. She also recommends that anglers go elsewhere until weather and water cools.

The restriction brings up a confusing and touchy subject. The Nature Conservancy can't close fishing; only Fish and Game can do that.

According to Magic Valley fisheries manager Doug Megargle, F&G has no intention of doing so at this time, nor has the agency done it in the past.

But The Nature Conservancy can restrict access to the creek through its property.

Megargle said the department is not at odds with The Nature Conservancy, but F&G doesn't see a "population effect" on the creek's trout during hot weather, although some fish may die.

Anglers also tend to be self regulating, he said. When the water gets warm, trout find pockets of cool water, hunker down and don't feed much, so fishing is slow. Anglers know catching trout in warm water can potentially kill them, so most don't fish there.

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