As anglers who understand the intrinsic connection between healthy watersheds and fishing success, we can appreciate the importance of restoring and reconnecting the tributary streams that flow into our storied rivers.
Here in eastern Idaho, TU has done a lot of work to improve the tributaries of the South Fork of the Snake River, and fishing in the mainstem of the South Fork is better today than it has been in years. The reasons are simple–with healthy, connected spawning tributaries serving as nurseries for the next generation of native Yellowstone cutthroat trout, the South Fork is getting a fresh charge of fish from each and every restored tributary. Anglers are the direct beneficiaries, and through the great work of the local Snake River Cutthroats Chapter of Trout Unlimited, they’ve contributed greatly to TU’s work in the drainage.
Streams like Rainey Creek and Birch Creek are now truly viable spawning waters for big, river-dwelling fish that run upstream each spring to reproduce. Even little trickles, like Pritchard Creek and Garden Creek contribute to the river’s population of dry-fly loving native cutthroats. All of the streams mentioned above have been helped along, in one fashion or another, by TU’s South Fork of the Snake Home Rivers Initiative, which started in 2000.
This summer, with the help of Tight Line Media, we started production of a film meant to tell a simple story about how the work TU and its conservation partners do to restore and reconnect tributaries has a direct impact on fishing. The short film–Restoring Hope–is done, and I think it makes the point perfectly. As Brent Larsen, one star of the film, says right off, if we can improve tributary streams and restore lost habitat, “the fish will come.”
And, as you’ll see in the film, so will the fishing.