Sturgeon confirmed in merrill!

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Drifter, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    Went to Merrill lake a second time this year but this time spotted a 6 to 7 foot sturg. in 7 to 8 feet of crystal clear water. both my friend and I wearing polarized glasses could see it plaIn as day as it slowly moved away from our boat.

    This fish looked larger then the head rise we saw last time at the lake, it was 6 to 7 feet and over 100 pounds. I have fished and watched sturgeon at bonneville dam and willamette river FOR OVER 20 YEARS. watching 8 ft. sturgeon chasing shad and eels clear out of the water moving very fast to capture the food source would only tell me that these fish are taking a toll on one of the only fly fishing only lakes in the region! living in oregon I could still give info to WDFW or my friend lives in washington who also saw it very clearly!

    The question is --- WHAT SHOULD BE DONE???
     
  2. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

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    That fish probably deserves to be there more than the fly fishermen do
     
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  3. JS

    JS Active Member

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    Agreed. If it is a 6'+ long sturgeon, then it is likely that the particular fish you saw may have been 30+ years old. I'm not possitive, but I doubt Merrill has been designated a fly fishing only lake for longer than that.......you see where this is going.
     
  4. Joe Goodfellow

    Joe Goodfellow Active Member

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    Care more about the fish he could be very old.
     
  5. Peach

    Peach Peach

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    Speaking of Merrill - any sign of the Hex Hatch yet?
     
  6. jwg

    jwg Active Member

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    "Merrill Lake was formed when lava flows from Mt. St. Helens blocked the stream valley. In the early 1930's the lake was planted with eastern brook, rainbow and Montana black spots. Brown trout were introduced in 1987 and have proved to be very successful."

    So this lake was once part of a river system.

    Jay
     
  7. Irafly

    Irafly Active Member

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    I say it should be moved for its own sake and for the genetic coding it could pass on to other sturgeon. Unless there are more than one in there and they have figured out a way to spawn, that sturgeon needs to be someplace else.

    Ira..
     
  8. zen leecher aka bill w

    zen leecher aka bill w born to work, forced to fish

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    v-rib chironomid fished 6 feet under an indicator.
     
  9. JS

    JS Active Member

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    Dollars to doughnuts there is a breeding population if there is just a random 6 footer in there. They have no problem reproducing in still water. Lets leave the (mis)managing of washington's fisheries to WDFW.
     
  10. Islander

    Islander Steve

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    I expected Ira to say that!:D
     
  11. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    So some think it should stay!

    I guess sturg used to migrate up the little creek some 40 or 50 miles away from the columbia and reside in the creek. I can see sturg maybe migrating up the lewis river to be in swift-merwin-Yale but from what I know the furthest a sturgeon has been known to go up the sandy is about 4 miles (the gauge hole) and some have been caught on the lower clackamas very low in the river. I would guess the sandy smelt run would cause this but that has been gone for many years now. as far as I know merrill is much higher in elevation then the lewis system so sturgeon must of migrated up a tiny little west slope creek and live their in the 1800's so it should stay. My best guess is that it is illegally introduced and is feeding on native west slope cutthroat trout and the triploids and browns. but what the heck it's a fish and should be left alone. no wonder so many of our trout fisheries have been destroyed in both our states by warm water invasion. IT'S A FISH LET IT BE! maybe someone can give some history of sturgeon in this creek system. oh well it's your lake, seems the majority rules - rule on!
     
  12. Irafly

    Irafly Active Member

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    I seriously doubt it, if this were the case then trout fishers in the lake would be catching juveniles because when young they grow far slower than trout but they can and will feed on the same food sources. This really is not the proper place for that fish. I think Mark most likely has it right and a bucket brigader introduced it at some point.

    As for a v-rib chironomid, I would have gone dirty and said an egg cluster pattern fished right in front of it's nose, bring your 20 wt.
     
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  13. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    Peach - no hex yet that I saw but we didn't stay into the afternoon. sunny - no wind - fishing was not good for us with chiro's, nymphs under indi's or casting to the shore. trolling produced a few but nothing to keep us interested . doesn't mean on a cloudy or windy day that could change, water was very clear, nice but made it tough.

    I'm thinking a 4 to 5 inch minnow pattern trolled fast with my 12 wt. outfit - captain "we need a bigger boat"
     
  14. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    Interesting thread.

    On a lighter line, that monster is safe from me because he is over 8" long. My flies will refuse any fish over 8". I make them that way.
     
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  15. Paul_

    Paul_ Active Member

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    I think them feeding on triploids is a good thing:) .

    I'm pretty sure any lake you can drive to, that is within an hour drive of the Columbia, has had sturgeon in it at some point in time.
     
  16. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

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    I think it's pretty cool that there are at least a couple sturgeon in there that may date way back. If they are remnants of Merrill being part of a river system in the past, that are able to spawn in still water - awesome! I don't know jack about sturgeon, but, maybe someone more knowledgeable can comment as to whether the silty bottom at Merrill that also is the reason it produces one of the state's only hex hatches may be conducive to their spawning?

    I'm +1 on leave the sturgeon alone (or try to hook up on one and release it...), btw. As stated above, if there are sturgeon there of that size, they are not the result of some bucket brigade.

    I love the hex hatch there. I hope I can make it up there in the next few weeks.
     
  17. Jim Ficklin

    Jim Ficklin Genuine Montana Fossil

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    Wow, olive bugger . . . we have mastered the same patterns! And here I thought that I had cornered the market . . . silly me . . .
     
  18. JS

    JS Active Member

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    Well if it was introduced at least it is a native species to the PNW. Regardless of how it got there, I would advise against harvesting it for depredations sake. I highly doubt that WDFW will want to go after it either. So I guess everyone will just have to wait until she dies......................................I wouldn't hold your breath.
     
  19. Olive bugger

    Olive bugger Active Member

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    Other than roe, what is the target value of sturgeon?

    I have never seen fish that large so I do not know what they are about.

    I know that they are sought in the Columbia, but I have no idea what they do with them. I know there is a "slot" size limit on them and there was one caught in Idaho long ago that was something like 11 feet long.
    Other than that, to paraphrase Sgt. Schultz, I KNOW NOTHING!
     
  20. fishingcheftim

    fishingcheftim Member

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