There’s something going on in the Boise River that has me scratching my head. There’s been a whole bunch of giant trout coming out of the river. I know of three over 10 pounds and several more over 20 inches. I am talking about resident trout, not planted steelhead.
Every time I see one of those big trout bonked on the head and held up for a photo, I cringe.
Now before you write me off as some holier-than-thou guy, let me clarify. If you want to take a couple fish home and eat them, you’re legally allowed to do so. If you’re lucky enough to catch a big Boise River trout and want to get it mounted for your den wall, go for it.
But don’t think you have to kill a big fish in order for someone to believe you caught it. We will believe you, honest, and we will appreciate that you left that big fish so the rest of us have a chance to catch it later. Letting them go is a neighborly thing to do.
I think releasing big trout is a social thing, not necessarily a biological one. Any fish in the Boise River that reaches trophy size is probably at the tail end of its life. It has spawned numerous times and passed its genes on to several generations, so you aren’t necessarily hurting the overall trout population.
But there’s a limited number of big fish, and once an individual fish is gone, it’s gone, and I think there’s a legitimate question whether the next generation of fish will be able to grow big enough to replace it.
Boise is growing, and I think it’s a safe bet angling pressure on the Boise River is increasing as well. I would bet more fish are being caught out of the river than there was a decade ago, and I doubt fishing pressure will decrease in the future.
We’re pretty darned lucky to have big trout swimming through Idaho’s largest city. It’s something we should all be proud of, and part of that pride is keeping them in the creek.