Spirit Lake

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by KerryS, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,534
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,525 / 0
  2. kosel80 Native Trout Fan

    Posts: 246
    Hampton Roads Virginia
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I have to admit I have mixed feelings about this one. On one hand it would be awesome to fish for trout that haven't been caught in 29 years. On the other hand its sort of cool knowing that there is a place in the lower 48 where fish don't know what humans are. Maybe I am too sentimental. Make no mistake if it opens up I'll be trying to fish there, just saying....
  3. pfournier Do it outside!

    Posts: 152
    tacoma, wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I vote FF'ing, C&R, and barbless only. If careful, that would be a hell of a place to fish and protect!
  4. cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

    Posts: 1,699
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +216 / 0
    No, I say leave it alone. Even if C&R really happens (and there is no poaching) any fishing will result in some accidental mortality. If you remember, there was similar excitement when they opened Coldwater Lake, but the size of fish has gone down steadily since it opened. These lakes are not very productive for their size and can't support much angling pressure.

    Steve
  5. Trout Master Active Member

    Leave it closed .
  6. Plecoptera Active Member

    Posts: 613
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +26 / 0
    The rainbows in there were planted by humans and are non-native so it would make sense for humans to utilize a resource we created. I know of many closed waters in this state that are loaded with huge fish. This lake isn't the only one.
  7. pfournier Do it outside!

    Posts: 152
    tacoma, wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Thats odd. The article stated that the fish mysteriously showed up. No mention of plants.
    "But when giant-sized trout mysteriously appeared a decade ago, fishermen started salivating over the area that is off limits to everyone except scientists. "

    The past being what it is, why C&R if you don't believe its safe for fish? <-- Question for cabezon. If you believe this, replace your rod for a mask, snorkel, fins, camera, and take pictures of the fish.
  8. Trout Master Active Member

  9. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,534
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,525 / 0
  10. Paul_ Active Member

    Posts: 194
    La Center
    Ratings: +79 / 0
  11. Plecoptera Active Member

    Posts: 613
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +26 / 0
    Without knowing the lake, I cant say for sure whether there are any fish bearing streams connected to it, but with the few fish that were likely to have survived, I doubt they could establish that dense of a population unless there was a major spawning trib connected to it.

    Very few lakes in this region supported trout populations (and rarely were they rainbows) before humans arrived . I would be willing to bet that the fishery in this lake prior to the eruption was entirely supported by WDFW plants. Bucket biologists have a lot more to do with what fish go where than what nature allows.
  12. colton rogers wishin' i was fishin'

    Posts: 874
    gig harbor, washington
    Ratings: +10 / 0
    as much as i would like to fish it, i say keep it closed because i don't poach but there would be somebody out there that does and then there would be nothing left. it would probably go under selective gear rules. 3 flies only/ c&R/ barbless hooks only.

    and besides i wouldn't want to eat any wierd fish that just show up, radiation, mercury, nuclear. who knows what the hell is in the lake
  13. Trout Master Active Member

    No brainer here "I would be willing to bet that the fishery in this lake prior to the eruption was entirely supported by WDFW plants." Of course it was planeted before the eruption . Talking after the fact. There is more video and papers out there regarding the fish in there. Look and you will find.
  14. flyerman New Member

    Posts: 22
    Snohomish, Wa
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Won't these fish just naturally start getting smaller as the food sources that were made available by the eruption are used up? I mean the average size of the fish. I am sure that when a lake is raised or something like this eruption happens it is a bonanza as far as food for the fish goes, but that food, like grubs in fallen trees and whatnot would eventually be used and the size of the fish would go down.

    Not a biologist I have just kind of noticed this in, like Spada after it was raised, and Lake Packwood. What do you guys think?

    Greg
  15. Trout Master Active Member

    I think it all depends on alot of different things. How many fish are in there now? I thought that they get stunted from over population? I believe the feed in the lake would be quite good and self sustaining with the weed growth and the log matt providing good habitat for the insect life.
  16. cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

    Posts: 1,699
    Olympia, WA
    Ratings: +216 / 0
    Pfournier asked me a legitimate question about my C&R concerns at Spirit Lake and I think that I'm able to articulate my answer. As a scientist, I view the eruption at Mt. St. Helens as an amazing natural experiment. How large would your NSF grant have to be to achieve that much habitat change???? More seriously, what happens when a productive habitat experiences phenomenal changes in a an eyeblink? How does it recover? There has been tremendous insights into natural recovery processes as a result of the scientific research that has been conducted within the National Monument (see also Yellowstone after the fires). I would assume (but I don't know for sure) that there has been some research on Spirit Lake as well. Adding in fishing, even C&R fishing, would introduce a confounding variable that would make it more difficult to interpret the data. Like Coldwater, there would tremendous excitement among the fishing community at first - forbidden fruit and all that. But then the size of the fish would fall - see Coldwater. Now, would that decline occur because of the fishing pressure or because the productivity of the lake declined as the woody debris decayed or the mix of food sources changed through succession or some combination? Messy experiments (and "natural experiments" are already messy) lead to messy interpretation. I guess that just because a lake has fish in it, I don't feel that I have to fish it, especially when there are many others around.

    Regarding C&R in general. C&R does cause mortality. We all know it. We can argue over how much mortality occurs. I'm careful, as I'm sure we all are. I'm most comfortable C&R fishing when I know that the population is strong and healthy. I take the bass fishers philosophy - if I don't kill it today, I may be able to play with it again tomorrow. I'm less comfortable when my transitory pleasure may cause a long-term degradation in a fish population, yes even an introduced fish population. These concerns have come up in the past on this site regarding fishing for searuns in the spring or native steelhead on the OP rivers or the Skagit system. Even if a fishery is open, there are conditions in which individuals may make a choice not to participate. Others may make a different decision and I respect their decisions too.

    Steve
  17. SilverFly Ancient Steelhead Sensei

    Posts: 330
    Camas, WA
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    My Mom spent much of her summers as a kid at the YWCA camp on the east shore of the lake. God, how she used to drone on and on about how freaking beautiful it was. When I was still a teenager she conned Dad into taking her and me up there circa 1978 or so. So we drove up there on a gorgeous summer day and rented a boat from Harry Truman himself (half-plowed with a beet-red nose at the time).

    I was flabbergasted. It was the singular most beautiful place I have ever seen. Maybe not as "grand" as the Grand Canyon, but just as breath-taking. And yes, Dad and I took some spinning gear. You could see the white pumice shoreline recede into the depths 60 feet or more. If you look carefully you could see planter-sized rainbows cruising the shore. We caught several. Nothing big, but nice 8-10" hatchery dinks, just right for the frying pan. These were not fish you would find thriving in a frozen-over, sub-alpine creek. As I remember they looked like any other planters, with a chunky build and rounded fins.

    I have a hard time believing anything other than native cutthroat (or possibly brookies) could winter over in the feeder creeks, - let alone survive the eruption. It shouldn't be difficult to determine if the fish in there are native or not. If they are I believe we should leave Spirit Lake alone as a gigantic natural experiment. If they were planted, the experiment is already tainted and we might as well enjoy the "new" lake. The old one certainly wasn't conducive to fishing being so pure (devoid of nutrients). The new lake has plenty with all those magnificent trees (some 8' -10' in diameter) floating in it. Not to mention the influx of nutrient rich volcanic mud. No suprise the fish in there now are steelhead sized. Should it be opened I would argue for FF only to keep bait out of the lake. Some yahoo's using live shiners like has happened at Diamond lake in OR, is the last thing we need to happen there.

    If they open it, I'll be dragging my toon or driftboat up there in a heartbeat. Hopefully that will happen while I still have a chance to take my Dad.
  18. Trout Master Active Member

    Cabezon, I agree with you on leaving it as is. Where else can anyone get a place to study like that.
  19. ceviche Active Member

    Posts: 2,258
    Shoreline, Washington, U.S.A.
    Ratings: +22 / 0
    Anyone note the species of trout in that KATU photo? It didn't look like a rainbow. The spots looked circular.

    --Dave E.
  20. PeteM Member

    Posts: 621
    Snohomish, WA, US.
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    Cabezon Steve, very well said!

    Pete