Saturday, May, 5 Big Wood River River Clean-up
Program Schedule 2017 - 2018


Conservation is the Protect, Reconnect and Restore part of TU's Mission. The Hemingway Chapter partners with Individuals, Businesses, Non Profits and Government agencies to accomplish its missions.  


Projects are how we positively impact our local cold water fisheries and are a way for TU members to be involved.  There is nothing quite as fulfilling as working on a meaningful project with others, knowing you have helped make a difference.  Projects and Conservation opportunities vary in size, purpose and scope, from access to fish rescues to stream restoration.  Come Join us on the next project many of these only involve the time commitment of an afternoon or day.  



Silver Creek Restoration:

On October 8th,  Hemingway TU volunteers gathered at Silver Creek Preserve to partner with The Nature Conservancy  planting native plants of various sizes to help protect and restore areas of the preserve. Dayna Gross the Preserve Manager oversaw the plantings and lunch was provided for all the workers.  It was a rewarding day for all the participants.  Their will be more opportunities for planting and stream restoration in the future. Dave Spaulding, our Project chair coordinated and participated in this restoration effort.

Upper Big Lost Restoration:

 Hemingway TU Partner with TU's Idaho Water Project  to harvest Grow and Plant 750 willows on the Upper Big Lost River.   This part of the Project is completed and appears to have a high survival of willows.  Small log barriers were also removed to allow Trout to migrate and return habitat back to its natural state.  This part of the project was completed in 2008.  2011 will see a fencing of the area to protect it from Cattle.


Penny Lake Fishing Platform:

This project was done in Partnership with Sun Valley Adaptive Sports, USFS, Brian Poster Construction:

A fishing platform for Special needs persons and youths was built at Penny Lake on Warm Springs.  This platform provides improved  fishing access, and  protecting the stream banks from erosion.  It is rewarding to see how much this platform is used and enjoyed.

This project was  completed 2009 however  additional access paths and habitat improvement may be a future project


Continuing Projects

ERC's Clean Sweep Event

The Hemingway chapter is partnering with the ERC this year on its Clean Sweep Event. TU members will meet as a team and our clean-up area will be at River Run in Ketchum. This will be a fun event so I hope you can join us. We will meet at the ERC in Ketchum at 9:00. Please RSVP to Ed Northen @ or text to 949-246-9372 so we have an idea of who is on our team. Below is the information for the event.

This year, Clean Sweep falls on Saturday, May 6. Participation is free and easy. Meet at one of the following locations starting at 9am to register and pick up garbage bags and gloves: ERC Office in Ketchum (471 Washington Ave, N), KB’s in Hailey (121 N Main St), or Memorial Park in Bellevue (between Cedar and Elm). Complimentary breakfast snacks and coffee will be available. Fan out to pick up trash in your chosen area until 11:30am and then come back together with fellow participants to celebrate your good work with a free lunch provided by KB’s. During lunch, there will be raffle drawings and team and individual prizes. If you’ve filled multiple bags and kept your eye out for any “Weirdest Items,” you or your team might win an award (costumes count too)!

 Box Car Bend Clean-up & Maintenance:   

Saturday, June 10th 10:00 - 1:00        

The Hemingway Chapter of Trout Unlimited  has been partnering with The Wood River Land Trust since 2006 on this annual project. Each year we provide maintenance to the accesses and trails at Box Car Bend on the Big Wood River. 

 Participants of all ages helped  pull invasive weeds, clean trails from overgrowth and crab grass, put down wood chips on the trails and do maintenance to erosion control barriers.
A few hours of hard work are followed up by a BBQ Lunch and Snacks.    
Volunteers should bring  Clothing: Hats, Sun Glassess, and Work Gloves,  
Tools to bring: Garden Rakes, Scoop Shovels, hoe, Wheel Barrel


Contact for this project is  Carmen Northen at flyfishngirl@cox





Fishing Access Maintenance

One of the ongoing projects the Hemingway Chapter is involved in, is Access to the Big Wood River.  In 2011 we posted fishing regulation and access signs in English and Spanish on almost all of the Big Wood river accesses. We continue to maintain the accesses clearing them of overgrowth and making them visible.  This year we will again provide maintenance to these accesses and ensure regulationand access signs are posted.  Usually the project is done by 4 to 6 people over several days. We will be sending out notices of the dates for this project,  once we have them established. You can participate in one day or all of them. 


Lake Creek Project


Lake Creek Lake sits in a beautiful setting and is one of the places families in the community gather to teach their children about fishing.  There is little stream habitat below the lake  which fish can hold and survive.  This project will enhance the stream to provide better habitat for trout to live in.  
Volunteers and Staff from TU and the US Forest Service performed a stream enhancement project on Lake Creek this October.  The nehancemnt  consisted of adding large woody debris in-stream to add fish habitat and assist with stream hydraulics.  Volunteers moved log sections, secure them in-stream, and perform additional riparian enhancement work in 2014.  In 2015 phase 2, over three days   Volunteers planted a variety of streamside vegitation that will provide, shade, habitat and streamside stabilization to the habitat.  Lots of digging through rocky soils presented a challenge but the volunteers were undaunted.  

A big Thank You to Staff and all the wonderful volunteers who paricipated:  Nick Alexander, John Ashton, Nick Cox, John Finnell, Butch Harper,  Bob Knoebel , Mark Milkovich, Carmen Northen, Ed Northen, March Pettygorve,Chad Stoesz, Kerri York Cathy Tyson-Foster, Dean Hovencamp, Alex Klokke and  Higher Ground volunteers :   Staff:  Erica Phillpips  USFS and Chad Chorney TU



Fish Rescue

For the last ten years The Hemingway chapter of TU has been rescuing Trout, which become trapped in the canals along the Big Wood River and Silver Creek, once the water is shut off.  Volunteers showed up on a last minute notice for the rescue.  In 2014, we held fish rescues on four different days at different locations and rescued a total of 11,350 wild Trout.  We partner with Idaho Fish and Game {IDFG] , the Water Master, Canal companies and private land owners to make this happen.  In 2011 we had a wonderful addition to our rescue efforts.  John and Daralene Finnell, donated a Fish Transport Tank to the Hemingway chapter.  John an active member saw the need for better way to transport the fish back to the river, so he researched and built a Fish Transport Tank system.  An aerating stone used to deliver oxygen to the water was donated by IDFG. The transport system improved the survivability of the rescued fish and allowed for more efficient use of volunteer resources.  Thanks to the Canal Company, the last two years, at our request they did a slower draw down on the canals, which allowed most of the larger fish to transition back into the Big Wood River.  This was a successful technique and we hope to continue the practice in future years.   Our fish rescue efforts are headed up by John Finnell and Ed Northen. 

2017 Update

October:  This fall we ahve had two good opportunties for fish resuces.  The first occured at the District 45 canal.  Low water was still present and connecting much of the canal which made rescue efforts more difficult.  It is optimum if the water is still cool yet pooled up, otherwise the fish are able to move up and down the system as we attemp to use the seign nets to capture them.  We managed to rescue 525 trout several which were in 17-18" range.  Our second rescue at the Glendale diverison went a bit better.  the Canal company gave us a few days more notificaiton and even let a little water continue to flow, doing a gradual draw down until the morning of the rescue.  This allowed for better surviveability of the fish and is a practice we hope to propagate with the other canal companies.  Total fish rescued was 606, with several over 20"  bringing the total of fish rescued to 1131 trout.  An ineresting observation is this year most of the trout were much larger, with many being breeding stock.  

Thanks to our volunteers, Mike Bordenkircher,Jay Cassell, Chad Eberhard, Eric Eberhard, Carl Evenson, Daralene & John Finnell,Bob Knoebel, Cathy&Tom Mendenhall, Mark Milkovich, Carmen & Ed Northen, Dave Spaulding, Keri York



Big Wood River Below Magic

Trout Unlimited in partnership with the Wood River Land Trust have are working on a solution to the problem of maintain year round water flows on the Big Wood River below Magic Reservoir. 

We had been working on a solution for over 3 years and thought an agreement had been reached unfortunately this did not come to fruition, when the Big Wood Canal Company stepped back from the agreement.  Disastrously this setback occurred in a year with a very warm and dry spring, less than normal snow pack and Magic Reservoir being at the lowest levels since it was built, due to a required repair.  The result was a significant fish kill with thousands of large Rainbow and brown Trout, many over 18” dying in this magnificent fishery.   

We continue to work on creative solutions to obtain a permanent year round water source for this unique ecosystem and fishery. 

Volunteers are needed to help collect water quality information on this portion of the Big Wood River this summer and fall.  The monitoring, including travel time, takes about 4 hrs.  Some of us make a day of it and  include some fishing somewhere.  The monitoring is a simple procedure and we will train you. 

To volunteer, contact Chad Stoesz at Wood River Land Trust 788-3947 or  or Ed Northen, 949-246-9372

BWR Home Waters Initiative

The Big Wood river is part of TU National Home Rivers Initiative .

The Big Wood Home Rivers Initiative seeks to take advantage of a supportive local angling community and our long history of restoration success to restore the full wild trout potential of the Big Wood.  Our objective is to both restore fish populations and the habitat they need, and to educate landowners that live along the banks of the river and its tributaries about how to protect and steward those unique resources.  Home Rivers Initiatives are national programs that place a full-time staff member in a watershed to live and work with and within the local community and bring TU’s scientific, policy, grassroots and legal expertise to bear on watershed- scale restoration and protection.

Keri York, Big Wood River Inititive Project Manager is the TU’s full time staff person working on the goals of the initiative and is working out of an office in Hailey.

As is common to all of TU’s conservation work we do not hope to accomplish  our goals alone.  The list of project partners is long and growing. These partners in the Wood River Valley include; Idaho Fish and Game, The Nature Conservancy, The Wood River Land Trust, Hemingway Chapter of TU , Silver Creek Outfitters, private landowners and Idaho  Department of Water Resources .

In Febuary 2016 A Geomorphic assesment of the Big Wood River was completed and presented to the public.  This study is combined with other studies on fish populations and entomology of the Big Wood River.  Below is a definiton of what a Geomorphic assessment is about.


 The Role of Watershed Assessments in River Restoration 

By: Dan Dauwalter, Ph.D., Trout Unlimited, Boise, Idaho 

The way a stream or river looks when you’re standing on the bank or while fishing reflects what is going on in the watershed, both on land and in tributary streams. Streams and rivers naturally transport water, sediments (coarse and fine), and organic materials (wood and leaves). As these as are transported downstream they interact with the stream channel, banks, and floodplain, and these interactions determine how the river looks in character – this look is commonly referred to as a river’s morphology. Since river morphology is influenced by its watershed, it also reflects human activities far from and adjacent to the river. 

We often seek to restore rivers to ameliorate some of the problems we see in them due to human activities. Sometimes these problems are obvious like severe streambank erosion, but sometimes these problems are more subtle, such as when there are small changes in the streambed elevation due to changes in sediment supply. In the past, river restoration was often done in a haphazard fashion. That is, someone noticed an obvious problem and tried to fix it without a broader understanding what was causing the problem in the first place. Today, river restoration is often done by first by understanding the issues with a river and their cause before implementing any restoration projects. A common starting point in large-scale river restoration programs, therefore, is conducting a science-based watershed assessment. 

Watershed assessments completed to aid river restoration planning typically have a strong focus on geomorphology and hydrology because of their strong influence on aquatic habitats and fisheries. One common assessment methodology is the Watershed Assessment of River Stability and Sediment Supply (WARSSS; Rosgen 2006). The WARSSS methodology is a multi-stepped process focused on identifying land use impacts to sediment imbalances and river stability. The assessment outcome is the identification of risks and consequences of altered sediment supply and river channel instability – two factors import to the natural functioning of river systems. Of course the natural functioning of river systems impact aquatic habitats, aquatic life, and ecosystem function. These connections between what is happening in the watershed, river function, aquatic habitats, and aquatic life are what drive the health of trout fisheries in rivers like the Big Wood River

Recent Projects

Loving Creek Fish Ladder and Revegitation Project

“On Saturday, May 17th, the Hemingway Chapter of Trout Unlimited partnered with RBC Wealth Management employees, and TU staffer Chad Chorney, to re-vegetate a recent fish passage project on Loving Creek.  During the fall of 2013, a fish ladder and bypass channel were constructed on Loving Creek (tributary to Silver Creek) where a migration barrier existed, allowing for fish passage of all age-classes of trout.  The fish passage will provide access to upstream spawning and rearing habitat for adult trout, and will enable juvenile trout to migrate to nursery areas within the watershed.
TU and RBC volunteers planted approximately 600 individual native sedges, cut and planted native willows along sensitive riparian corridors, and spread native seed along disturbed upland areas.  Re-vegetation on restoration projects is critical, and these efforts can’t be accomplished without assistance from volunteers.  Thank you to the RBC employees and Hemingway chapter volunteers that helped make this project a success!’

USGS BWR Assessment 2017

USGS Big Wood River Assessment: Volunteers needed:

In 2014, the USGS completed a biological survey on the Big Wood that provided information on habitat, invertebrates, water quality, and fish at four different sites on the Big Wood, in partnership with Trout Unlimited, the Wood River Land Trust, and The Nature Conservancy.  The USGS will be repeating their survey this fall from Sept. 18 – 22 and need volunteers!  You would be helping with electrofishing, collecting invertebrates, and doing habitat assessments.  This is a great hands-on opportunity to learn about the Big Wood and help us collect valuable information, and it’s pretty fun! 

The USGS schedule is below, along with the number of people needed each day.  Please contact Keri York, TU Big Wood Project Manager, if you are interested, at 928-7656 or  If you want to electrofish, you will need non-breathable or neoprene waders.  Please let her know if you need waders.  

Dates & Locations

Monday September 18 - Dorene (USGS) travel to Big Wood at Stanton, meet volunteers for habitat assessment around 1 pm.  Need 2-3 volunteers. 

Tuesday September 19 - Dorene meet volunteers at Big Wood near Ketchum or Hailey for habitat assessment, sample both sites.  Need 2-3 volunteers. 

Wednesday September 20 - Dorene, Bryce, and Will (from USGS) will meet volunteers (late morning or early afternoon) to sample fish community at Big Wood above Ketchum reach.  Need 6 volunteers.

Thursday September 21 - Dorene, Bryce, and Will meet volunteers (morning) to sample fish community at Big Wood at Hailey reach. Need 6 volunteers. 

Friday September 22 - Dorene, Bryce, Will meet volunteers (morning) to sample fish community at Big Wood at Stanton Crossing, USGS travels home. Need 6 volunteers.