The Hemingway chapter had a particularly productive summer, fall and winter of 2012-2013. Fish rescues, kids’ education, access maintenance, plus fishing outings kept the chapter busy. TU staffer Chad Chorney helped lead the charge by organizing an Adopt-A-Trout program in the Wood River Valley last November. Pioneer Montessori School in Ketchum, with teacher Tom Downey and his very enthusiastic students, also participated in the event. The students and teachers, IDFG, and Hemingway volunteers gathered at the Big Wood River on a cold fall morning. While Fish and Game staff assembled the electroshocking equipment, chapter members gave the students a quick introduction to aquatic insects–flipping rocks to show them mayfly crawlers and caddis cases.
Twenty-four rainbow and brown trout were captured, placed in holding tanks with anesthesia before the radio tags were inserted into each fish. Before the procedure, the students measured and weighed each trout. Students named each fish after recording length and species information prior to returning the trout safely back to their aquatic environs. The next morning Chad released “Sparkle”, “Tiny”, “Frankenfish” and their friends to the Big Wood River.
Throughout winter the Montessori students monitored individual trout movements using radio telemetry technology noting that most of the radio-implanted fish were holding within the same reach of river where they were captured. However, some of the larger browns swam downstream toward Magic Reservoir. Carmen Northen later visited the classroom and did a presentation on aquatic insects for the students. She brought specimen bottles containing stoneflies, mayflies, scuds and caddis as well as boxes of flies. Students shared accounts of how they tracked the in-stream movements of their trout buddies. It’s encouraging to see young students so enthusiastic about trout, habitat and conservation.
The Hemingway chapter restarted their monthly meetings after taking a summer hiatus. Whiskey Jacques in Ketchum became the new host for the club’s meetings and comfortably accommodates 75 or more people with food and refreshments.
Last fall club members rescued over 11,000 fish stranded in local irrigation canals. Thanks to the cooperation of the water master and irrigators, board member Carl Evenson successfully negotiated gradual fall drawdowns on several canals. Carl’s negotiating efforts allowed most of the fish to swim back to the river or into the deepest pools below the headgates where they were captured and returned to the river. John Finnell, one of our dedicated and very creative chapter members, built a mobile 300 gallon fish rescue tank for his truck. The tank consists of bubbler stones and oxygen tanks to provide captured trout recovery time and a safe ride. John installed a 4 inch wide port with flexible hose thereby ensuring the fish a gentle “water slide” back into the river. This is yet another great example of Trout Unlimited volunteers making a difference.