Two weeks ago salmonflies started showing up on the lower Henry’s Fork. Once the word got out, fisherman flooded from near and far for the opportunity to catch big fish on big dries. More than once I heard the classic “you don’t need to bring a boat, you can walk down the river on all the other ones” line. While the river was busy, it wasn’t that bad. After seeing lines of cars and trailers at Ora, Vernon, Chester, etc. with license plates from as far away as Michigan (there were probably plates from further but I was more focused on catching big Browns than taking inventory of license plates), it reminded me that we all need to be diligent about making sure we don’t transfer invasive species as we travel from river to river and state to state looking for the next hatch and the hot bite.
Here are some steps you can take to minimize the chance you inadvertently transport an invasive species1:
- Before leaving any waterbody, always inspect equipment (boats, planes, trailers, decoy anchors, SCUBA gear, and lures) for visible plants and animals. Remove this material on site. Carefully check places that are still damp. Dispose of the removed material in a trash receptacle or on high, dry ground where there is no danger of it washing into a waterbody.
- Eliminate water from all equipment, including motors, live wells, boat hulls, scuba regulators, bait buckets, waders and boots. Clean and dry anything that came in contact with water (Boats, decoys, trailers, equipment, clothing, dogs, etc.).
- Before launching any boat into new waters, allow your equipment to dry completely, ideally for five days.
- Anglers should be aware that ANS can lodge in nets and other equipment and can be unintentionally transported into noninfested waters.
- Never release animals or plants (aquarium species, bait, pets, or water garden plants) into the wild.
Also, if you plan to use a boat in Idaho it is required that you purchase an Idaho Invasive Species Sticker Fund (IISF) sticker from the Idaho State Department of Agriculture. You can do this online here, by mail, or at select locations. The Henry’s Fork Foundation in Ashton, ID (512 Main St.) is a distributor and we are more than happy to issue one during normal business hours.
Here are links if you’d like to learn more about the IISF program, how you can help, or frequently asked questions about invasive species
If you have questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to contact me at Bryce@henrysfork.org or 208-652-3567