Quantity Vs Quality

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Stonefish, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. I was thinking about this today while fishing a westside selective lake. I thought I'd post this to get some other stillwater fans opinions.

    Do you think at times the state plants to many rainbows in selective fishery lakes?

    I understand there are lots of variables to this, but I'll try to explain my thoughts the best I can.
    I've been lucky enough to have lived here my whole life and have gotten to fish lots of stillwaters in the state over the past 45+ years. Don't get me wrong, a 18" bow is a very nice fish but when was the last time you or someone you know caught a legit 25" + rainbow out of a quality lake?
    I'm not talking about Rufus Woods, finless broodstock or triploids. I'm talking about small fish that are planted and grow large.
    I just think at times some of our quality selective lakes get overstocked. Catching lots of fish is fun, but the opportunity to catch some very large fish would be great as well.
    I can recall seeing a buddy catch an 8 lb rainbow in a small eastern Washington lake. This lake is put and take and planted with a small number of fingerlings. 25" trout were caught fairly often in these non-selective lakes, yet we rarely see bows of that size in our quality lakes. This was also before triploids became the in thing with WDFW.

    Perhaps part of the key to these large trout was the reduced stocking numbers plus fish getting kept throughout the season. Whatever fingerlings survived turned out be some of the most awesome hard fighting carryover fish my friends and I have ever encountered. I'm certaily not advocating catch and keep in our quality lake, but perhaps a reduction in the number of fish planted in some lakes, not all.

    I'm not a Triploids fan and in my opinion they have been a failure. Besides Rufus, where in this state have they lived up to their billing of producing really large fish. I'm talking lbs, not inches when referring to large. Anyone remember how the fishing was in Dry Falls after they planted them there?
    I just think it would be cool if we had a few public lakes here that produced BC size large fish.

    I'm just curious what other folks thoughts are on how the state plants or manages our quality or selective lakes. Thanks for your input.
    Jim Wallace likes this.
  2. I only fish in Washington a couple of times a year so I'm not an expert on tripliods. I ran into a couple of them in Dusty lake two years ago. The one I landed was well over 20 inches, was fairly chunky and fought well, I liked it. I enjoyed fishing in most of Washington's quality lakes when I lived there 20 years ago and caught lots of nice fish but no rainbows or browns that were much past the 20 inch mark. In BC where there are a lot more great stillwaters there are many that are managed to have small populations of big trout and a lot of other waters that seem to have mixed populations that change due to spawning success and/or how many are harvested. Here in Oregon we don't have as many lakes with selective regulations. I would like to see some more that are like Lenice or Dry Falls, but there are some reservoirs within an hour of me that have 25" non triploid rainbows. They have lots of feed and lots of fish are caught out of them, but the few that make it to 4 or 5 years old are BIG! It seems like WDFW could manage a few lakes to make this happen if enough people asked for it.
  3. I’ve spoken to some of the bio’s that manage the eastern WA lakes about this very issue. I travel every year to fish lakes in ID, MT, and Wyoming that produce very large trout so I’ve asked why we can’t seem to find that type of fishing in WA. The short answer I’ve received is that most anglers would rather catch several 18” trout than a couple of 24”ers and so the stocking effort is geared with that goal in mind. I’ve also been assured that most quality lakes do contain a year class or two of truly large trout but they fall out of the typical fly anglers catch because we don’t target them (i.e. fishing at night with larger baitfish patterns). The managers know they are there because they drop gillnets occasionally to index the fishery. And finally, I’ve been told that the pressure that our quality lakes in the basin receive results in a fair amount of handling mortality. The lakes are simply loved to death.
  4. What troutpocket said, but I only know that because he told me. Although the question I have about that is why when I fish other waters like in BC that I can still catch 26" (Sheridan last May) fish on chironomids. I guess it goes back to the over loved thing again.
  5. I think it was about 4 or 5 years ago was the last
    truly large bow I saw caught on an Eastside Lake.
    And yes it was Stonefish using a Chiro....thinking
    it was 26 1/2 inches? I'll check the pics.

    I would rather go for size than numbers at this point.

  6. There's two lakes over here in the Basin area I know of that can put out fish that size. One is a "quality waters" lake and the other is an anything goes lake. There's a couple more that are rumored to put out good sized fish but I've never explored them.

  7. Geez Bill, I expected you to name the lakes for all of us to see, including the trollers...

    How much of the issue is due to illegal taking of fish, poaching? It seems like there is a lot of that going on, and that is only what we see. So I would guess there is even more. And they are likely fishing at night when no one else is, so are they more likely to catch the big ones?

  8. For me the thought of the past being better is always a struggle. Yes, one could and I did, catch larger fish in the years gone by. I also realize that more factors come into play. I do not fish after dusk anymore (yes I used to) when the bigger fish get caught. Fly fishing has grown in very large numbers over the past many years and yes the internet does help the good and the bad find out where the catching is best. This site is not the one the lets people know whats going on.
    listen to the radio, talk shows & peruse Washington lakes web page and one will see why!
    I also see more fly fishers keep the regulation fish; (size limit) I don't want them to stop, I just realize that it limits the larger fish.
  9. I would take size over numbers any day. Any fish over 20" here in WA is a trophy, but pretty typical for a BC lake. Amazing what 5" will do to the girth and weight of a Kamloops strain bow. I've never caught anything over 23" in WA, but can recall precisely where, when, and how it went down. Its really a shame that WA loses alot of potential revenue to its BC lakes. Great management, quality nutrients and diverse biomass, and superior genetics all result in some fat fish. Just ask this guy, probably one of the best Chironomid fishermen that I know: http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=6897&title=almost-spotless&cat=500
  10. Ahhh, genetics. I guess in this thread we can't talk about Lenore either. I now have two fish just over 30" there and another 30+ fish past the 24" mark and countless 20+" fish. As for bows I have one (not counting the Ford) at 25+" and a handful more past 23". Granted I'm fairly sure the 25" was a recent stocked fish at desert lake. Almost everyone of these fish came on chironomids.
  11. I am a numbers guy by the way who just plain loves watching my indicator go under so a dozen or more at 16+ is better to me than 1 or 2 at 20". Just me... No, I know ther are plenty of others the same way. With that said though, I would happily support a larger trout true trophy fishery for those who would like to tackle that, but which lake?
  12. I too miss the old days. one of the problems in oregon were invasive fish in the mid 80's. bass and crappie were spread like fire across eastern lakes like philips res. I fished this lake in the early 80's and would catch tons of rainbows up to 20 inches and over, in the spring people would target the 5 to 6 pound fish where the river dumped in. I went back in the late 80's and all I could catch was bass and pearch on the fly. a true gem of a rainbow lake had been destroyed! I never see this issue brought up much on this washington stillwater forum - something that has so mu8ch to do with our trout waters and done so much devastation! the problem with this is only having a few good lakes in a region now because so many of the others have been taken over by warm water fish -invasives- now you only have a few lakes that everyone goes to including mom-dad-kids- and the power bait crews.

    The one thing B.C. has above us is that when an invasive fish gets in a lake the laws say that it gets CLOSED-POISONED-AND REPLANTED WITH A GOOD SPECIES OF TROUT! what seems to happen in oregon is the bass fisherman just take the lake over! we had a bio in central oregon that loved bass and did some damage to one of our favorite fly fishing only lakes. when largemouth bass got into it they -ODFW- made all kinds of excuses why they would not poison the lake or electro shock for trout management. I have been to odfw rule change meetings and have helped change a regulation on a river close to home. it takes groups of fisherman getting together and bringing issues to the state.

    GENETICS play a huge roll also, like in the western lakes the insect biomass is just not their to support large numbers of large fish. even a small amount wont be sustained because of food mass. the state bio's know this and stock accordingly, planting a few brooders for large fish take and then a bunch of little kill stockers to keep people happy.

    The statement that most the public dosen't care about trophy trout is spot on. it's easy to talk about management for trophy's on a fly fishing forum - I have posted these things on a public forum much bigger then this one and it's sad to see how many could give a crap about management of trout lakes. the truth is people spend money and want something for that money when they go. we have tons of rainbows lakes in central oregon and trying to get just one managed for trophy rainbows is like pulling teeth and we will have to fight the public to do so.

    oregon has taken a new turn against invasive fish and are now starting to consentrate on trophy trout waters. the first thing they knew they had to do is get a species of rainbow that feeds on minnows to plant in these multi-species lakes so the would help keep invasive numbers down. the invasives take the food source away from trout and also feed on them. so what ODFW did was start plating klamath brood stock fish in many of the lakes with problems. these fish grow large and feed on chubs and other minnows and help keep numbers of trash fish down. they also started a cranebow brood stock, these fish in the right waters -FOOD BASE- GROW 2 INCHES A MONTH. both these species of fish grow large (to 20 pounds) now they are being stocked in many of the central oregon lakes for the last 2 years.

  13. Good info and I appreciate everyones input on this. My initial post was in regards to rainbows since they are the most commonly planted trout species, but any trout of 20" + is a fine fish indeed.
    I myself enjoy numbers, but would sacrifice numbers for large fish opportunities.
  14. TRIPLOIDS do not spawn so they are using those to plant so if there is a native species in the lakes they do not interbreed the native genetics. in the right food base they grow fast and will live a long time, again "FOOD-BASE"

    Many of the private lakes bring in the kamloops strain rainbow to plant here in oregon and I too always wondered why oregon did not use these in our waters for planting. now oregon is looking at blackwater rainbows of b.c. to bring to oregon to plant in lakes. these fish are a very good strain of rainbow from b.c. that also feeds on minnows. they are taking after poisoning davis lake bringing those in for planting. also with invasive lakes the plants have to be grown to larger size so the bass do not feed on them right out of the trucks. what oregon had to start doing at crane prairie was growing them to 10 inches or so and planting the crane brood stock fish in the fall right before or afetr the season closed so that they would live through thje winter and get acclimated to the lake and be 16 to 19 inches come the first spring, they also were large enough to avoid the large mouth! this saved the lake.

    It seems washington could follow oregons lead with trout management. we have already done most of the studies and are now doing what it takes to save some of these fisheries, even philips res. netting chubs,pearch-larger good speicies planting- minnow eating rainbow strains. all 5these things are helping are waters and was not easy to get started. I was kinda against the blackwater rainbows being brought in because they are not native and our laws read against invasives. but the truth is rainbows are a native fish to oregon so strains of rainbows can be brought in! bass - crappie - pearch and every other piece of crap warm water fish is NOT NATIVE to our waters.

    Now that I fish a few lakes in washington and have come to this site there is very little info being posting on these issues which I love reading and learning about. being out of state I do not spend the time going through washingtons re-enhancement programs or follow WDFW and they're management of they're waters. maybe I should start!

    I think the "CATCHING ANYTHING THAT PULLS ATTITUDE" could be the down-fall of both our states. right now it is a battle with bass clubs and trout fisherman at the rule change meetings and let me tell you bass fisherman are very well backed- it is the widest known fish in the country and millions support them. the only thing we have against them is the native card! if fisherman can go catch bass they will and not give a damn about your-or my trophy trout! every time a lake is taken over by bass, bass federation will try and manage that lake for bass going through the correct channels of the wdfw and odfw. we have lost so many lakes in both states it's heart braking. at least oregon has made the turn and commitment to trophy fish and maybe washington can follow suit! For all our sakes I hope so! I wonder just how many of the lakes in eastern washington used to be good rainbow lakes and are now just warmwater species lakes? no wonder the few lakes that are left with trout are pounded so hard - they are the only ones left.
    triploidjunkie and Jim Wallace like this.
  15. Mark,
    Good info. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'd have to say the food base isn't an issue with the eastern Washington basin lakes. Those lakes are very fertile and have a long growing season. Some years they are ice free in February and don't freeze over until after November. What they don't have based on what I've seen versus BC lakes is the huge scud populations.
    It might be an issue in western Washington, but I tend to doubt that as well with the moderate climate and chironomids hatching year round. Most of the larger fish my friends and I have caught of this side of the hill have all come from put and take lakes.

    Access to moving water for spawning purpose also plays a roll in producing large fish. I've heard various opinions on how long a diploid can live in a lake. 4 or 5 years max is what I've heard. Anyone else know if this is true or not?
    Over the years I've seen a number of larger dark rainbows trying to mock spawn on the launch ramp gravel on lakes without moving water.It looks like it really takes a toll on them and I wonder if the ever recover from their spawning efforts or if they die.
  16. I'm not a trained biologist, but the spawn-or-die is what I've heard as well. There was fee lake in oregon that added spawning water so the fish would grow bigger. I don't remember if they pumped water up to create the stream, or if they created a bed for an existing spring, etc.
  17. tkww,
    I'm far from being a biologist as well, lol.
    What I was told is if the fish aren't able to deposit their milt or eggs, it gets absorbed back into their bodies and reduces their lifespan or causes them to die.
    Smalma (Curt) or anyone else care to chime in on this?
  18. I'll try not to be controversial..... I could be wrong about all of this, but I'll say it anyway, just to add something to this htread, feel free to correct me .... I think that the term "kamloop rainbow" is not useful. There is no such thing per say...... just various regional strains that are from all over BC.. The Blackwater River for example is in the Cariboo region and those fish don't grow very big in that river ( a 20 incher would be about it and I believe and they are very uncommon) They will grow much bigger in a rich lake though....... All the strains are Oncorhynchus mykiss .... only with very minor differences that are not genetic..... even the scale size/count is a function of water temp (environmental) at least that is my understanding....
    BC has been using more and more all female triploids (AF3N) in recent years as the female trips do not go through any physical changes as they "ripen" ( no eggs are produced). Males develop sperm (though sterile) and change color and maybe develop a kype too..... all of which zaps energy and erodes the overall quality of the fish .... females remain looking real pretty...so the AF3N are a considered a more primo fish.....living the longest ect... Producing AF3Ns is a significantly more costly as I understand......
    my two cents.....PM
  19. Hey Mark: last move for Phillips is to add Tiger Trout, hoping they will eat some of the perch. It is a real shame what was done to that lake. The difference in 5 inches in a trout is huge. Last year my son and I were fishing in Theif Valley reservoir, a high dessert reservoir that grows big fish here. It has bass, perch, bluegill and cats too, but they drain it every few years when we have a poor snow pack years which keeps the spiny ray population low. They dump in a 30,000 rainbows in the fall and some come in from the river. Any way we had kept a couple of the typical 18 inch footballs which are they two year old fish in this lake when I got a big one on. It was about 24 or 25 inches long and was probably 4 times the weight of the other fish. I would love to find a "quality" lake where you had a honest chance at a fish like that every few couple of days of fishing.
  20. Pond Monkey,
    Good info and no concerns about being controvsial if you are referring to my personal distain of the current WDFW triploid program.
    I understand the states desire to have people catch bigger fish. In a put and take lake I have no issue with it.
    If they are going to plant them in selective or quality lakes, I'd like to see them at least try planting some of them as fingerlings. I understand predation can be a problem, but I'd like them to at least try it in a few lakes. Those that do survive and grow up in the lake will turn out to be a far superior to the concrete tank raised fish they are producing and planting now.

    I'm assuming the female triploids they are planting in BC are planted as fingerlings, correct?


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