The River at 7,000 cfs

Check out this video from May 6, 2017 showing the South Fork Boise River with water flows running about 7,000 cfs.

The first mile or so of the river is shown in the video, including the drop at the boat ramp that was formed from the debris flows of September 12, 2013.


As of May 10 the flows are now 8,500 cfs.  This should be moving some sediment.

Trout Spawning Season

During our planting effort along the South Fork Boise River on March 28th we observed a couple of spawning redds in the river.


South Fork Boise River Riparian Planting: Saturday, March 28, 2015, at 9:00 a.m.

It is time we begin to make 2015 the year we tackle restoration on the South Fork of the Boise!

The Boise National Forest has more than 3,000 plants that we want to get into the ground along the South Fork of the Boise River.  Saturday, March 28 will be our first work outing to get these plants in the ground this spring.
P1030544If you, your friends and family can help, please sign up!  For the work day please bring a water bottle, work gloves, and a smile!  Dress appropriately for weather conditions (layers!)
We can carpool from Boise.  Whomever is willing to drive and provide a seat for others, thank you.
This helps reduce our carbon footprint on fuel expended.
Trout Unlimited will provide lunch when we are done.  Let us know if you have any dietary needs to consider.
We will try to get everyone back to Boise by about 3:00 p.m. or so.
Thanks again for joining us, it will be a great day !!!

To sign up, please email:  PHarrington@TU.org
Meeting place details will be sent to those that sign up.

South Fork Recovery Begins with You November 9th

Make plans for Saturday November 9th for volunteer planting along the South Fork Boise River to kick start the recovery of the river corridor from the recent wildfire and mud flow events.

The plan is to meet at the parking lot near Albertsons near Federal Way and Gowen Road (next to Exit 57 on I-84) at 8:30 a.m. We will organize those who want to car pool and to leave promptly at 9:00 a.m. for the drive to the South Fork of the Boise.

Thanks to the more than four dozen people who signed up to volunteer at the September 11 meeting we think we will have a core group to start.  But additional help is needed for this effort.  We are working to get the word out with the fly shops and the fishing clubs.  The Boise National Forest is determining what plants and trees will be planted, they types and quantities. Needed tools are being identified.  At this time we need you to sign up to help. You can call Bob Caldwell at (208) 322-5539 and leave a message or email BandDCaldwell@gmail.com.

There are several areas where the debris flows scoured the gound the removed vegetation.  These areas will be one to plant.  Other sites where the fire burned may also need planting, but in many cases we are already seeing willow begin to regenerate on its own from the roots that were not killed in the fire.

Knowing in advance how many people are coming will help planners determine how much we can get done.  Lunch will be provided on site.  And, there is not Boise State football game on November 9th so don’t worry about that potential conflict.

Roads Open but Forest Closed

The current status of public access to fish the South Fork of the Boise requires some explanation.  The short story is the roads are open but the Forest remains closed.  The land between the road and the South Fork of the Boise River is part of the Forest.

The longer story is more complicated and deserves some detangling.

With the Elk Complex Fire a large closure on the Mountain Home Ranger District (and adjacent portions of the rest of the Boise National Forest) went into effect as the fire spread to its current 131,258 acres.  The roads from Highway 20 leading to the South Fork are under the jurisdiction of the Mountain Home Highway District.  As the fire involved much BLM land in the 149,384 acre Pony Complex, the road closures were extensive.  Fire maps show the South Fork Boise River downstream of Anderson Ranch Dam constituted a shared border between the two wild fires.  So the south bank of the South Fork is the Pony fire and the north bank is the Elk fire, if the maps are correct.

On Tuesday August 20, with the fires reaching close to containment, the closures were adjusted.   Despite different government jurisdictions involved, a single announcement was issued and stated in part, “On the Pony Complex, all areas and roads affected by the fire will reopen, including all Elmore County roads.”  The roads leading to the South Fork Boise from Highway 20 which were involved in the Pony fire were opened to the public at 5:00 p.m.

The news release announcing the changes stated in its lede, “With the reduction of fire activity on the Pony and Elk Complexes, the current Forest closure area has been revised and will be significantly reduced effective Tuesday afternoon, August 20 at 5 p.m. In addition, all Elmore County roads and several Boise National Forest roads will reopen on the same date and time.”

However, despite conflating a smaller forest closure area and reopening of Elmore County roads in the same announcement, the fact is the areas where the Forest reopened is in a different location, mainly in the Middle Fork Boise River country well to the north.   The National Forest lands in Elmore County along the roads leading to and along the South Fork Boise River remain closed.

The closure order at the Boise National Forest website is at http://prdp2fs.ess.usda.gov/detail/boise/home/?cid=STELPRDB5035663 and sometimes it does not appear to function on some browsers.  It is also available at http://www.inciweb.org/incident/article/3616/20527/.  And better yet a closure map is here:

Previous blog posts document the variety in the extent and severity of the wild fire along the South Fork Boise River.  Many places did not burn.  Yet others did and there are many trees damaged by the fire along the streamside riparian lands that constitute a potential safety hazard to the general public.  

In addition the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management have extensive areas to assess where emergency stabilization and rehabilitation may be needed.  The Granite Creek watershed, tributary to the South Fork Boise near the Pine Tree Hole, is one example of such an area.  The agencies plan to complete a field assessment of the burn areas prior to changing the closure order.  This assessment reportedly could take up to two weeks, and it is not clear if the 11.3 mile long corridor from Anderson Ranch Dam to Danskin bridge (an area that equates to approximately 2,000 acres) will come early, middle or late in the assessment process of  the 280,642 acres affected by the two fires. Or, if areas will be opened in stages as they are assessed, versus the closure being in place everywhere until the entire assessment is complete.

So at this time anglers who are interested in visiting the South Fork are presented with the shopping equivalent of “look but don’t handle the merchandise.”