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Native Lands

Part II: Duck Valley

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This week's IdaHoles is the second installment in a four-part series on fishing Native lands in Idaho. Last week's column discussed Jimmy, Spring and Clear creeks in the Fort Hall area, while this week's IdaHoles has BW traveling to Duck Valley.

The Owyhee River enters the reservation in Nevada in the southeast corner and exits tribal land in the northwest section. The reservation's fishing reservoirs are located in the central valley.

The two main reservoir, Sheep Creek and Mountain View, are loaded with catchable trout and have campgrounds, grills and plenty of parking. Sheep Creek, Mountain View and the East Fork of the Owyhee River from the south boundary to the China Town Diversion Dam are open water. Tributaries to the East Fork of the Owyhee River are closed to the public.

Live bait is prohibited and fishing is allowed one hour before sunrise through two hours after sunset. Overnight camping is allowed in designated areas only. Since the reservoirs are on Native land, no Idaho license is required. You must purchase a permit to fish the reservoirs.

Some of the water from Mountain View is used for irrigation by a local farmer, but in low water years, he works with the tribe to make sure the resource is not adversely affected.

Other than fishing, the area offers excellent opportunities in the spring and fall for watching the migrating birds that travel through the reservation. Visitors can view tundra and trumpeter swans, and a lot of other migrating waterfowl.

Every Arbor Day, the tribe has a celebration with traditional drum groups playing their songs followed by a free barbecue. Every Fourth of July, there is a rodeo and a powow.

There are boating restrictions, no motors on all reservoirs.

Sheep Creek Reservoir (788 acres)—This is the largest of the fishing reservoirs on the reservation and it is stocked with rainbow trout. Elevation: 5,294 feet

Mountain View Reservoir (633 acres)—The northern most of the three reservoirs is stocked with trout. Elevation: 5,322 feet

Lake Billy Shaw (430 acres)—This newly built reservoir was created with funds derived through partial mitigation of lost fish (salmon) on the reservation. It is regularly stocked with 20- to 25-inch trout. Special regulations apply here. Catch-and-release is the rule with a single-point barbless hook. Elevation: 5,370 feet

Joe Evancho is the author of Fishing Idaho, An Angler's Guide, published by Cutthroat Press in 2004 (www.cutthroatpress.com).

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