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High temperatures killing sturgeon in Idaho, part of CJ Strike Reservoir to close in response

Posted at 6:34 PM, Aug 31, 2022

IDAHO — As warm weather continues across Idaho, fish populations are suffering from deoxygenated water and abnormal living conditions.

This has forced Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) to close portions of the Snake River to study what is causing high mortality rates in sturgeon. The portion of water near CJ Strike Reservoir is closed until September 25. IDFG officials say conservation efforts are important during times of unprecedented weather.

CJ Strike closure

“These conditions basically have these fish right on the edge of what they are physiologically able to withstand,” said Art Butts, IDFG fish manager for the southwest region.

RELATED: Fishing for sturgeon with Hammett Valley Fishing Adventures at CJ Strike Reservoir

Many anglers across the state know the affects that high temperatures have on fish and are worried for future summers.

"My wife and I put our thermometers in the water and its over 70 degrees. You know the fish are poaching basically. There’s just no oxygen left in the water," said Daniel Dane, owner of Idaho Troutfitters in Twin Falls. “The fish are stressed. They’re gasping. They can’t get enough air."

IDFG officials say anglers are not the problem behind the high deaths in sturgeon and are only closing the angling in this area to get a better out look on what is causing the issue.

“This level of mortality in this population, we’ve never seen it before. It’s extremely concerning. These fish take a long time to get to these sizes” said Butts. “As an agency, we are very sensitive to shutting down Opportunity's for angling. That’s not what we do and so this is a really unique situation.”

For more information on this closure, click here.