A different hatchery question

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Willie Bodger, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. Willie Bodger

    Willie Bodger Still, nothing clever to say...

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    So, I can't catch those big hard to catch fish (time, knowledge, skill or all of the above probably), so I spend more time in the lakes this time of year. Anyway, when we talk about lakes like Pass or Lone, did they at one time have wild native trout populations? If so, where did they spawn and does this whole hatchery vs. wild competing for resources thing apply to lakes like this? It seems to that it doesn't and is really just an issue in streams and rivers, but as I said it just 'seems' to me.

    Thx,
    Willie
     
  2. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    Well, you're not going to like the answer about a lot of lakes in Washington, but the fish just ain't natural. In some cases the introduction of fish has devistated populations of salamanders and other aqautic life.

    For instance, all of the Merry, Nunnally, etc in that chain have to be stocked as there is no place for the fish to naturally reproduce.

    For some lakes they actually have a naturally reproducing population of fish, but this is generally at the expense of native fish to the lake. From what I understand (which ain't much) coastal cutts often lived in those kinds of lakes for the most part, until the hatchery programs stuff them full of rainbows. Now it's pretty darn tough to find lakes with cutts in 'em, at least on the ones that are stocked.

    Now if more educated folks want to chime in and either refute my BS, or substaintiate my claims, I'd be more than happy to learn more!
     
  3. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    James is correct - the majority of the lakes in Washington did not support histroically salmonids.

    The minority of the our lakes had the year-round tribs to support salmonids. Those that did typcially had cutthroat and in some cases coho, kokanee and rarely other salmonids. Interestingly many of the lakes did have fish populations - usually a collections of dace, shiners, sculpins, suckers, etc.
    Many of the those populations were adversally impact by the introductions of exotics - warm water species as well as trout. They were further compormised with the onset of the Rotenone (lake rehabilation or piosoning) beginning in the late 1940s.

    Heck most of the seep lakes in the basin were not even year-round waters 60years. It was only after that the irrigation projects came to the basin that there was enough water to support those waters.

    Bottom most of the still water trout fishing available in this state are dependent on introductions of trout. In many cases that requires constant (annual) stocking.

    tight lines
    Curt
     
  4. Willie Bodger

    Willie Bodger Still, nothing clever to say...

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    OK, that is what I thought, but wanted a confirmation or two.

    Now, as for good cutthroat lakes, doesn't Lake Washington have a good Cutthroat population? Are any of those fish anadromous or do they live in the lake and then enter their natal streams to spawn adn then jsut drop back down to the lake?

    Willie
     
  5. TomB

    TomB Active Member

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    In the lake washington watershed I believe all forms of the coastal cutthroat life history are expressed: that would be resident (lives in creek or small river for its whole life), fluvial (lives in river), adfluvial (migrates to feed in lake), and anadromous (migrates to salt to feed). I believe resident and adfluvial are probably the two most common types in this system.
    -Tom
     
  6. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Willie -
    The current understand is that the vast majority of the Lake Washington cutthroat are lake resident fish. That is they drop down from the various lake tribs- usually during their first or second year of life. There in the lake they take advantage of the rich food source found in the lake. Once they reach a size sufficient to be effective predators they become serious predators on sticklebacks, long fin smelt, sculpins, crawfish and other fish (including salmonids). Those lake dwelling fish's growths far out-strip that found in anadromous coastal cutthroat. Where western Washington sea-runs are 11 to 15 inches in lenght at age 4 many of the Lake Washington fish are in the 18 to 24 inch range at that age.

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  7. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    At the Coastal Cutthroat Symposium, Robert Behnke had some interesting remarks to make about the cutthroat of Lake Washington and the unplanned and unexpected consequences that human actions can have on the environment. According to his sources, cutthroat and rainbow populations in the lake were, as recently as the 1970's, considered to be so small as to be "insignificant". He attributes the explosive growth, in size and numbers, of cutthroat and rainbow in Lake Washington to two factors; the construction of the Hiram M. Chittenden locks which allowed anadromous populations of longfin smelt to become landlocked in the lake, and the introduction of sockeye salmon to the Cedar River. These two sources eventually came to provide a much larger forage base than was previously available to predatory salmonids. Note that neither of these events had any immediate effect; decades were required for the changes to take place.
     
  8. TomB

    TomB Active Member

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    Preston- did he mention the reversal of nutrient loading and summer periods of eutrophication and anoxic conditions in the 50's as helping? I bet that cleaning up the water helped them too.
    -Tom
     
  9. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    It's important to remember that the water conditions on this side of the Cascades are generally such that there are very few nutrients in many of our lakes. I know several HiLakers who regularly monitor mountain lake water and who claim there are actually more dissolved solids in distilled water. As such, many Westside lakes were historically unable to support fish and had no native populations.

    But that didn't stop the USFS in the 1920s and 30s, long before the state got into the fish planting business. Their solution was to plant brook trout in just about any lake they could get to. They reckoned that in most cases the brookies could become self-sustaining and thus the lake would only have to be planted once. We now know the fallacy of that line of reasoning.

    Your point about the impact that these and other introduced fish species have had on invertebrate and amphibian populations is well documented. Unfortunately, this has led to a confrontation with 'revisionists' who want to see ALL fish removed from mountain lakes in order to restore them to their original, pre-contact condition.

    Today, the front lines in that battle are in the North Cascades National Park, where revisionist arguments have gained traction with the National Park Service. Groups like the Trail Blazers and the HiLakers are actively fighting to persuade the NPS that there's no *sure* way to remove fish short of chemically killing everything and that to do so will actually cause more harm to the ecology than leaving the fish there. That's one reason for the urgency to determine the viability of using tiger trout to control brookies in infested lakes.

    K
     
  10. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    TomB,
    I'm sure that the Metro cleanup of Lake Washington had a lot to do with making it more hospitable to fish, especially trout. I suspect that not many people today have any idea what a cesspool Lake Washington had become by the early 'fifties.

    It's a shame that most of the big cutthroat spend much of their time feeding in such deep water that downriggers and salmon tackle seem to be the best way to fish for them. I have, however, heard that at certain times of the year and at certain places they can be brought up to the fly.
     

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