Tigers to the rescue at Jim Moore Pond

Tigers may soon fix Jim Moore Pond.

Tiger trout, that is.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is stocking the small pond near Roberts with 6,000 tiger trout fingerlings Friday. Biologists hope the aggressive fish — which are a cross between brook trout and brown trout — will feast on the pond’s stunted perch population and provide anglers with a fun new species to catch.

“They have a reputation as a very aggressive species, which is good for anglers,” said Dan Garren, Fish and Game’s fisheries manager in the Upper Snake Region. “They also have a reputation for eating other fish which is good for Jim Moore Pond.”

Jim Moore Pond was formerly known as Roberts Gravel Pond.

Perch are prolific breeders and have done too well in Jim Moore Pond. The size of the perch declines dramatically when they become too abundant in a lake or reservoir. It is called stunting. The perch population has been stunted in Jim Moore Pond for years. Biologists have tried introducing catfish, brown trout and bass to no avail. “We’ve used whole variety of critters that just haven’t worked,” Garren said.

Tigers, which are sterile, are the latest tool. They prey on other fish, grow quickly and apparently are working elsewhere.

“Because they are sterile, all that energy that would go to reproduction goes into growth,” said Lisa Winters, a graduate student at Utah State University, said in a 2013 article about tigers. “They are growing big and fast and there is a lot of potential for (the fishing public) to really like them because they are growing fast.”

How big? Scofield Reservoir in Utah has produced state record tiger trout each of the past two years. The standing record is a 32-inch trout that weighed 18 pounds.

Winters is studying the Scofield. It was once a hugely popular rainbow trout fishery but has become infested with Utah chub that are out-competing the rainbows. The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources introduced tiger trout to the reservoir six years ago. Winters said the program is showing some promise.

“What I have found is they are eating a lot of chubs,” she said.

Garren hopes that senario plays out at Jim Moore.

If things go as planned, he said the 3- to 4-inch stockers will feast on perch fry this summer and grow to catchable sizes by next summer, when more catchable-sized tigers will be stocked.

If things go perfectly, Jim Moore will provide great fishing for larger perch and monster tigers.

“We are excited about this,” Garren said. “It may help address the perch problem and adds some diversity to an angler’s catch.”

Garren said Fish and Game will keep a close eye on the program, but he doesn’t expect any problems.

“We have gone through a pretty rigorous analysis,” he said. “This isn’t a fly by the seat of your pants deal.”

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The best fishing in the area is on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River.

Anglers are doing well on most sections. The most consistent dry fly fishing has been on the stretch downstream of Ashton Dam where anglers are picking up fish on pale morning duns and green drakes.

Reports from Harriman State Park are mixed.

If you are interested in a great hatch, consider leaving work late in the afternoon and fishing downstream of St. Anthony near dark. The gray drake hatch can be terrific.

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The flows on the South Fork of the Snake River appear to have stabilized and fishing should improve dramatically in the coming days.

The best action has been on nymphs and streamers, but it should quickly turn to stoneflies in the coming days.

• • • • • •

The fishing reports from Henry’s Lake have been mixed.

Some anglers are doing well with leeches, lures and midge pupas, but others are struggling to find fish.

As always, the best action seems to be early and late in the day.

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Starting July 1, hunters as young as 10 years old will be able to buy a big-game license in Idaho.

The change in hunting age was approved by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor earlier this year. The change takes effect July 1.

House Bill 399 lowered the age to hunt big game in Idaho to 10 and specified that youth under the age of 12 must be accompanied in the field by a licensed adult. Those youth must also pass a mandatory hunter education program.

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The chinook salmon fishing season in the Clearwater drainage will close Sunday.

The harvest season on the lower Salmon River ends today.

Fish and Game’s harvest quotas have been met, prompting the closures.

The season is open in other parts of the state. The fishing season on the upper Salmon River near the town of Salmon opens Saturday.

For more information, go to tinyurl.com/idaho -salmon.

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One of the coolest events in eastern Idaho will be next weekend at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve.

Monument officials and members of the Idaho Falls Astronomical Society are hosting a “star party” at the Caves Area parking lot at dark June 27 and 28.

The dark skies of the monument make for perfect star viewing and astronomy club members are perfect hosts.

“Craters of the Moon is far from the glowing lights of large cities,” said Craters Superintendent Dan Buckley in a news release. “That remoteness allows for great views of the Milky Way under exceptionally dark skies.”

Buckley noted that the monument’s campground frequently fills during these popular late-night events and recommends campers arrive early to get a campsite.

Call (208) 527-1335 for information.

• • • • • •

Forest users in Island Park, Yellowstone National Park and southwestern Montana are again being warned to avoid areas where government officials are trapping grizzly bears.

Government officials trap bears to monitor populations in the greater Yellowstone area.

All access points into trapping areas will be marked with warning signs and visitors are encouraged to heed those signs.

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