Idaho rainbow trout prize

Idaho is Paying Anglers to Help Thin Out South Fork Rainbow Trout Population

Any angler who turns a rainbow trout head in to the Idaho Department of Game and Fish will earn prize money.

If you have any plans of throwing a line into Idaho waters this year—specifically the South Fork of the Snake River—you could earn yourself some cash in the process.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is awarding anglers cash prizes from $50 to $1,000 for turning in any rainbow trout head that has a tiny coded wire tag, which is situated inside their snouts.

According to a report from the Idaho State Journal, a few hundred fishermen take part in the strategy, which yields results in roughly 4 percent of the submitted heads.

"Harvest is one spot where we can really improve and do the most good," IDFG Regional Manager Brett High told the Idaho State Journal. "The biggest threat to our cutthroat in the river are the rainbow trout, which can interbreed with and compete with the cutthroat."

With invasive Idaho rainbow trout populations through the roof, IDFG officials say they ideally need anglers to keep twice as many to protect their world-class cutthroat fishery.

There were 1,295 rainbow trout per mile two years ago, according to an IDFG survey. Today there are 3,073 rainbows per mile. 

"For the first time on record, we're over 6,000 fish per mile," High added. "We'll be looking as a department at really getting after those (rainbows) as best as we can. We may be manually removing fish and taking them to stock kids' fishing ponds."

With numbers like these, it's hard to fathom how there aren't people lining up to fish the area, isn't it? First off, who doesn't like the sound of a fishing trip to Idaho? But you're also basically guaranteed to bring in a boatload of rainbow trout and possibly some cash.