IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - Idaho Fish and Game Department surveys indicate trout numbers are at record high levels in the South Fork of the Snake River and that Rainbow trout still comprise more of the population that desired.
Since 1986, the department has conducted estimates every October near the Conant Boat Ramp.
During this year's electro-fishing count, it was found that Rainbow trout made up 43.1% of the trout catch.
Under the state's fish management plan for the South Fork is to protect the genetic integrity and viability of native Cutthroat trout. The plan calls for reducing the number of Rainbow trout to less than 10% of the population, as measured at Conant.
As a result, Fish and Game officials said they will continue their efforts to lower Rainbow populations through angler incentive programs and other tactics.
At Lorenzo, the survey found Yellowstone cutthroat were the highest on record. Brown trout are also doing well at that location.
Rainbow trout are the biggest threat to cutthorat through competition and hybridization. But, despite the threat, Fish and Game biologists say cutthroat are doing well in the South Fork. Overall trout numbers are higher than ever recorded.
The South Fork is not supplemented by hatchery trout, ensuring anglers that abundances of natural trout will remain great into next year and beyond.