Last week the Idaho Department of Fish and Game gave 160 rogue sturgeon a new lease on life and a chance to make up for past deeds.
According to Regional Fishery Manager Dan Garren, "All were salvaged from a lake in the Jerome area that was scheduled to be drained and renovated. The fish likely leaked from a private hatchery upstream and given their unknown genetic status, could not be planted around Jerome or any other native waters."
Because the stretch of the Snake River that runs through Idaho Falls was never home to sturgeon, the fish could be released without concern for harming native stock. They also helped to boost excitement about downtown Idaho Falls recreational fishery that Fish and Game first established in 2007.
In 2007, Fish and Game began stocking sturgeon from the aquaculture program at College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, Idaho. The first year 74 sturgeon were released. Another 401 were released in 2010, 201 in 2013, 230 in 2014, and 179 in 2015. Most of the hatchery fish released have been at least 18 inches long, although some have been a few feet in length. This last release had fish that ranged from two feet to more than four feet long.
"We've been stocking in Idaho Falls since 2007, and reports from anglers who have caught a sturgeon in town are now routine. We look forward to expanding the program in the coming years, and hope to build a quality fishery for the anglers in and around Idaho Falls." said Garren.
The white sturgeon is native to the lower Snake River complex. It has been planted in other locations to help create a unique recreational fishing opportunity. All sturgeon fishing in Idaho is catch and release only, except for certain tribal agreements. Sturgeon can grow to be extremely large, thanks to the fact that they can live to be 100 years old.
To learn more about low impact fishing rules and tips, visit: http://tinyurl.com/USSturg.