Remember the song “The Old Gray Mare, She Ain’t What She To Be?” Sadly, that title applies to fly fishing on the upper Blackfoot River. Go back six to seven decades, and the run-up of Yellowstone cutthroat trout from the reservoir to spawn in and to inhabit the river was unbelievable in number and size of fish. The fishing was phenomenal! But the accumulated effects of several happenings have reduced fishing in the upper river to a state that could be described as OK. Mining, grazing, each a legitimate form of human activity, reservoir water management, creel rates being too liberal, and an influx of birds of preys all contributed to make the demise. Nevertheless the river remains a major Yellowstone cutthroat trout stronghold. Fisheries managers, land owners, concerned fly fishers, and private individuals observed this decline and began an effort to bring back a good share of the river’s ability to host more cutthroat trout. As a result an exemplary piece of cooperation from land owners, mining companies, agency folks, Trout Unlimited, Idaho Conservation League and other organizations are combining to turn things around.
Check out the video link below to observe what is going on and who is involved to bring back a good share of the mid twentieth century quality to the upper river and to show what people who care can combine to accomplish. In this case it is to retain and improve the habitat for a unique part of the Rocky Mountain fauna, the Yellowstone cutthroat trout.