Beneath the Surface

March 9, 2015

The Art and Science of Fish Management

Story by Chelsea Chambers

 

You may have heard that eating fish is healthy. But did you know that catching them is good for you too? It has been medically proven that spending time in nature improves our well-being by as much as tenfold nearly instantaneously. Away from the constant comings and goings, separate from the noise and the obligations, that define our harried modern existence, nature provides that moment of respite necessary to living a healthy, productive life.

You may have heard that eating fish is healthy. But did you know that catching them is good for you too? It has been medically proven that spending time in nature improves our well-being by as much as tenfold nearly instantaneously. Away from the constant comings and goings, separate from the noise and the obligations, that define our harried modern existence, nature provides that moment of respite necessary to living a healthy, productive life.

Fishing is growing increasingly popular, although it has been a revered pastime for ages. An hour on the river, listening to nothing but the birds chirp and the water flow has proven to be one of the best sources of both relief and pleasure. Despite its ease of access and continuous availability, the luxury of a good fishing spot doesn’t simply happen: our rivers and their wildlife need management. The Idaho Fish and Game Department works year round to promote healthy and\ prosperous fishing experiences across the Gem State. There is always work to be done in our many lakes and rivers in order to encourage and maintain homeostasis within the waters.

One of the many tasks that the Fish and Game Department must unceasingly tend to is the constant surveying of fish populations. Over or under population of any species can prove to be detrimental, not only to another species but to the environment in which they dwell. For instance, right now in Lake Lowell, there are over one million carp inhabiting the area. These large numbers of carp can negatively impact other species, plants like algae, and may even affect water quality.

Another problem that Fish and Game encounters is poaching. There are regulations in place that dictate the amount of specific breeds that are allowed to be harvested, designed to protect more precarious fish populations. Despite the necessity of these restrictions, poachers insist on over-fishing, which may upset the delicate ecosystem’s balance. This blatant disregard for policy can have drastic implications and will be closely monitored. Fish and Game is cracking down on poaching and more penalties will be enacted for those choosing to overfish. Joe Kozfkay, Southwest Region Fisheries Manager, ensures that they will be actively watching activities at Lake Lowell.

Kozfkay and many others at the department are working diligently year-round to establish balanced habitats for the fish and all surrounding aquatic environments by continually inspecting and improving water quality, observing and maintaining habitats, updating fishing laws, removing undesirable traits through breeding programs, and continually testing and monitoring. The Fish and Game Department, their volunteers, and their employees are working non-stop to provide a positive experience for both man and fish.