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Idaho: Buffalo River

Since 2006, the Henry’s Fork Foundation has monitored fish movement between the Buffalo River and the world renowned wild rainbow trout fishery of the Henry’s Fork.  The spring-fed Buffalo River is the largest tributary of the Henry’s Fork in the Caldera section of the watershed and plays an important role in the winter survival of age-0 rainbow trout.  Since upstream fish passage between the two rivers was restored in 2006, HFF has observed over 30,000 rainbow trout  migrate into the Buffalo River, with most of those being young of year (<175mm).  These fish migrate to Buffalo River in search of over-wintering habitat that is limited in the main Henry’s Fork when flows from Island Park Reservoir decrease.   Re-connection of this tributary, in addition to improved winter flow management, has increased the Henry’s Fork rainbow trout population over the past decade.

In 2013, the Henry’s Fork Foundation (in partnership with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, the United States Forest Service and Fall River Electric Cooperative) launched a PIT-tag study to further study winter survival and return rates of these fish to the main Henry’s Fork.  This past fall over 1,700 age-0 rainbow trout were PIT-tagged as they migrated to the Buffalo River, and recent installation of a IS1001 MTS PIT detection system by Biomark professionals will help detect how many of these fish survive their critical first winter, and if they return to the Henry’s Fork in the spring.

Project Summary

Application Description: 

HFF and Biomark installed a 10’x 3’ PIT detection antennae and FS1001 transceiver unit to detect PIT tagged fish that emigrate from the Buffalo River to the Henry’s Fork


Buffalo River, Island Park

Products Used:

IS1001-24V Antenna Control Node
IS1001 LED Board
10’x3’ Antenna
Biomark 601 handheld PIT scanner
12.5mm 134.2 kHz ISO PIT tags


Rainbow Trout


Henry's Fork Foundation
Idaho Department of Fish and Game
United States Forest Service
Fall River Rural Electric Cooperative
Northwest Power Services

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