BOISE -- The Idaho Nature Conservancy says nearly 10,000 people go fly fishing in central Idaho's Silver Creek every year, but warm water is causing the fish to die.
People flock from all over the world to fish in Silver Creek, but now rainbow and brown trout are dying off by the hundreds.
Silver Creek is an internationally known gem in Idaho. Fishing in the Wood River Valley was one of Ernest Hemingway's favorite past times. But the Idaho Nature Conservancy says the creek is changing due to sediment build up.
Now engineering students at the University of Idaho are trying to save the fish. They're running experiments in a water flume -- simulating Silver Creek to cool the water down.
“So this diversion dam has been in place for approximately the last 100 years, and over the course of its life because it slows the water down sediment has deposited in Kilpatrick Pond, and as that sediment deposits the flow extends laterally and gets very shallow," said engineering student Frank Bariglio.
Mike Homza, an engineer working on the project, says it's been a noticeable problem for the last 10 years. He says the hot and dry summers are causing the shallow water to warm up -- killing the fish which made Silver Creek famous.
"Trout like colder water and so in the summertime in those hot, hot days, it heats up and it goes downstream and then you get irrigation return water coming in so it just keeps getting elevated, and there's a point at which the trout can't survive that," said Homza.
The students are hoping to collect enough data to help engineers design improvements that will affect not only the fish at Silver Creek, but farmers and people living downstream.
"So they're gonna tell us what’s the best width and depth of the channel, right now it’s really wide and shallow and so were gonna narrow it up, move the water a little bit faster, move the sediment through a little bit faster so it doesn't fall out," said Homza.
The conservancy says they're hoping this plan will keep Silver Creek full of fish and beautiful for future generations to actually see, not just read about.
The Idaho Nature Conservancy expects to have the project completed by May 2013.