The Year of the 19 inch Fish......over and over again.

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Vladimir Steblina, May 29, 2013.

  1. So with my measure net in hand I started out this spring measuring the fish I was catching......and then I noticed a pattern.

    I was targeting larger fish and seemed to be stuck on nineteen inches. It wasn't too bad until I fished Chopaka for five days. A few smaller fish, but the bulk were nineteen inches. I even fished at night, hopeful to break the 19 inch barrier. It got to the point where I just wanted to catch ONE fish over 19 inches. But it was not meant to be....stuck at nineteen.

    Oh well, I was sure my trip to BC would result in larger fish!! That lake never failed me. For three days I was stuck in the movie Ground Hog Day. Almost every fish....right at nineteen. Fish after fish after fish all at nineteen inches.

    Finally, on the last day fishing the lake.....ONE at 23 inches. The fish after that one were all 19. I never thought I would be bored catching 19 inch fish, but trust me....variety is the spice of life.

    What ever happened to a normal distribution curve??
  2. My heart bleeds for you Vlad.....
    constructeur and Mike Ediger like this.
  3. Get rid of the ruler.
    Gary Knowels and BASS_TURDS like this.
  4. That measure net might have been a bad idea!!

    I had three fish in BC take me into the was the 23 incher, the other two were 19 inches!! I did notice that 19 inch fish have a lot more variety in thickness. Those two that took me into the backing were thick.

    Somewhere I remember reading that diploid trout that are spawn bound tend to top out at around 19 inches. Also the lakes that I fished this year including Chopaka were a couple of years or more since rehab so they tended to have their larger fish right at 19 inches.

    I guess the real surprise is how few fish are out there over 19 inches. The lake in BC is a pay lake.....the largest we caught was 28 inches, a few at 24-25 and mine at the tail end at 23. AND a whole mess of fish at 19!!.
  5. All flyfishers increase the size of trout they report catching except me and you and I'm not so sure about you :D:D
  6. Poor guy!?!?
  7. Get a real tape, those nets are terribly inaccurate.
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  8. The problem with a real tape is the impact on fish.

    When I fished out of my float tube I did not even carry a net. A flick of the wrist while holding the fly would in most cases release the fish.

    Now that I am fishing more out of the pontoon boat a net is necessary to lift the fish close enough to you to release.

    I suspect the measure tape has probably a 5% error factor. Close enough for me.
  9. I like to measure my fish. It's the biologist in me. I like to collect data.

    I too have noticed the prevalence of measured 19" fish in WA stillwaters. I can usually count the number of true 20+" rainbows and browns I get every year on one hand. Seems to be just how it is in the waters I fish. When I travel to trophy waters in ID, MT, and WY I find bigger fish. The more interesting use for a ruler in the Basin lakes is to document the smallest fish of the day. That's a much more challenging goal in a lake like Dry Falls where a fish under 10" is quite rare but 16-19" rainbows come to the boat all day.

    I use a measure net when fishing out of my WM as well. Ira's boat has rulers on the gunnels. Another guy I fish with carries a cooler with a 21" ruler taped to the lid that we call the "Myth Buster".
    Irafly likes this.
  10. I also like to measure my fish with my measure net.

    I am often surprised at how long the fish are! I tend to underestimate fish size.

    using the net reminds me of the excellent quality of the fisheries here in E. Washington.

    Lenice put out several fish over 19 inches for me this spring.

  11. I think you should buy a lotto ticket! Make sure you use the number 19. Maybe 19, 91, 9, 1, (maybe turn it upside down) and add 16, get the idea! BINGO! WINNER!
  12. Many of the eastern Oregon 2 year fish in lakes are the 16 to 19" range by year class. then they jump to the 23 through 28 inch. if you can ever find a 28 inch fish that has survived the bait fishing slaughter! Many of these lakes have fresh water shrimp for the trout to feed on in the winter and grow very deep and strong.

    Two of the fastest - healthiest fishery I have found are = crane prairie res. and thief valley res.

    Thief valley a 20 inch fish weighs in at 4 to 4 1/2 pounds weighed by bait fisherman when I fished it last spring. they just drained the lake last summer - filled it up again and planted smolt/fry in November. the report of 10 to 14 inch fish are coming in already! next year there will already be 20 inch fish, and I will be there early in the season before they get slaughtered. I had read an article where they had brought in fresh water shrimp and planted them in some of these lakes. To me it grows huge good eating fish and seems a good management tool, but also know it can back-fire at times for some reason.

    Crane's fish are known to grow 2 to 2 1/2 inches per month during the peak insect season. same with thief and diamond lake. to me year class fish are what I look for. 3 year fish in these fisheries can be as big as 24 inches and weigh in at 5 # and sometimes close to 6#. having fisheries where these fish can live that long without being slaughtered by bait fisherman filling coolers and canning case after case of canned trout is very hard to find. It seems catch and release or special regs lakes only get enough fish to barely sustain the fishing, although many times it is to preserve a native species. This is why I fish so many catch and keep lakes over east, many times these lakes on the right water year cycles can be twice to three times as good as special regulation lakes!

    I have only fished east lake in central Oregon one time some 20 years ago for browns because I mostly chase rainbows. the rainbows just never seemed to be more than 14 to 15 inches but now they have planted two different species of bows that grow very "BIG" to help with chub populations and reports of 18 and 19 inch bows were reported last year in just two years of catch and release regulations for the two species (un-marked bows must be released now to protect these fish) I will be fishing this fishery (I hope) next week for my own testing hoping that bows are now over twenty inches. this could be a fishery to watch the next few years for actual catch and release for trophy rainbows and browns since they put in special regs of browns over 16 inches must be released! this lake has mercury problems and it is suggested to only eat small amounts of fish out of east so it is a great target lake for trophy fishing catch and release!

    I think that most fish get killed before they have a chance to get to twenty inches. in leaser growth waters it may take three years for fish to reach the twenty inch mark. right now a lot of eastern Oregon lakes are only at half full because of the late summer and very little water last year late in the year. when these lakes are dropped like this there is no structure, no weed beds, very little habitat for fish. they look like great big mud puddles, a lake I fished last fall had blue-green algae bloom because it had gotten so low and warm i'm sure killing many fish. so consistant water years (3 years in a row) can decide how many big fish you will run into. The biggest problem I see with eastern lakes is irrigation, flood watering for farmers is still going on and the water rights are "owned by farmers" and they don't give a rats ass as to how the fish live or die. it would be different if they used the water responsibly but in most cases they don't.

    Watching water years and levels can be key for your best fishing over east!

    My net, from handle to tip of net is 22 inches so when I lift a fish out to release it or let it swim out of the net I can come close to it's length. but like mentioned some 20 inch fish can only weigh in at 2 pounds and some fish are 4 pounds at 20" that's why I like to use pounds as a measure rather than inches. I lost all my pics and links last month or I could show you the differences between a two year thief valley fish and a fish from less quality waters. the differences are huge. I tend to pick the quality feed waters for my efforts on long trips or when ever I can.
    Irafly likes this.
  13. Like computer mileage readouts on new cars MeasureNets are just a ballpark figure. Both have legitimized exaggeration to a certain degree. MeasureNet suggest accuracy, ApproxiNet would be a more accurate description.
    This from a retired tool and die maker where close is never good enough.

    Mark Kraniger and Islander like this.
  14. Hell... 18,19,20 inch trout... I don't care if the measurement is exact. Those are still big trout for the average stillwater angler. 18 OR 20 inches.
  15. While I understand your predicament it would take quite a few 19" before I became bored with them unless they were too easy to catch but if I had to work for them the reward of a 19" fish would keep me satisfied for quite some time.

  16. I prefer two other measurements for trout, the SPT and LPS. The first is the Smiles Per Tug method. Even the smallest of trout can meet that requirement. The Laugh Per Splash method calculates air time, the resultant splash, and the frantic thrashing of trout at or in the net. Brookies at the net seem to be the top qualifiers, but Kamloops strain trout with their air time and following splash are a close second.

    BTW, Vladimir I don't feel sorry for you at all...:rolleyes:
  17. Personally, I seem to only catch 40" steelhead when I don't have anything to measure with. It's the damndest thing...Maybe you oughta lose the net and make sure you don't have anything to measure with.
  18. Mark, TroutPocket and me have given our all for fisheries research and the mystery of the 19 inch fish.

    Show some appreciation!!
    Irafly, Mark Kraniger and troutpocket like this.
  19. Here are a couple that I will discount and say 20 to 21 in the measure net caught near my Winthrop cabin. I actually like the measure net for at least keeping you in the ball park. I will say that on a 4 wt with 4X tippet these fish were excellent fighters and gave me all the "fun factor" I need! Rick 2013-05-25 10.05.47.jpg 2013-05-25 10.06.11.jpg 2013-05-25 10.46.12.jpg
  20. Where did you get that measure net?? It looks like it is rubberized. 21 the new 19??

    Took my last "serious" fishing trip of the trip yesterday. Fishing was real slow only 5 fish to the net in six hours. 19, 21, 21, 21, 23. Water temperature was 64 degrees and the algae bloom was starting.

    Breaking down the pontoon boat today and will use the float tube for smaller lakes and fish from the point forward.

    Looking forward to serious lake fishing in the fall!!!

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