WDFW trout stocking

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by Stonefish, May 27, 2013.

  1. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Perhaps someone knows this. Is there a formula WDFW uses in regards to fish stocked per lake acres?
    Is it different for selective fishery lakes versus catch and keep lakes?
    I've looked at the stocking reports and it seems to be all over the board as far as fish per acre.
  2. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

    SF -
    Are you interested in the fry or catchable plants?

    Because each lake is unique the stocking rates are typically "tweaked" according to the productivity of water, angler use and management objecvtives.

  3. Mark Yoshida

    Mark Yoshida Active Member

    Maybe a silly question, but what is meant by "productivity of water"?
    Survival rate, food source availability, growth rate potential or other criteria to sustain the number of fish?

  4. Vladimir Steblina

    Vladimir Steblina Retired Forester...now fishing instead of working

    That's a good question.

    In Forestry, it is the base productivity of the soil. Everything else changes. However, Foresters measure the base productivity by measuring free to grow trees.

    In my fisheries classes we talked about productivity and it was always related to water chemistry.

    It has been 40 years since those classes so I am not sure what fisheries biologist use today and how they measure it. However, it is probably still related to water chemistry.

    The most important variable was PH level. Other variables such as water temperature, depth, etc. also come into play.

    Surely, a fish head will chime in......it is a good thing fish biologists are not licensed....otherwise I would be accused of practicing without a license.
  5. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    I was interested in both catchable and fry. It seems to me they over plant some lake and under plant others. I'd be interested to know as well why a lake would get fry rather then stockers.
    Any other info you can add on how they determine what a lake gets stocked with would be appreciated.
  6. zen leecher aka bill w

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

    I think the fry lakes have good survival, good feed, and a lack of birds. The catchable plant lakes seem to lack some of that, either with too many birds, competition with other fish or other issues. The fry lakes are usually the ones that close in September as that lets the fry grow up between then and the opener. The catchable plant lakes are usually year round or close late in the year.

    This is what I gleaned from a Chad Jackson presentation in April at my local Fly Club. I always wondered why the best fishing lakes were shut down early. Now I know.
  7. troutpocket

    troutpocket Active Member

    I will just add that the District bio's are given a pretty free hand to try adjusting the composition and quantities of the fish stocked. I've had some conversations with WDFW bio's about how they approach lake management for trout. If the goal is happy families on opening day, the stocking regimen is much different than if the objective is to develop a trophy fishery.
  8. Fry are cost-effective to produce and they grow up in the lake in which they are planted, resulting in a much more 'natural' fishery. Some people appreciate that (myself included). They also can be planted in relatively inaccessible lakes where they have to be carried in on someone's (or some horse's) back.

    Catchables tend to go into lakes where the primary clientele is the weekender who wants to catch fish to take home and isn't too concerned about having anything approaching a natural experience. These are often lowland lakes near population centers, some of which can't readily sustain a population year 'round, so they have to be planted every year. The numbers they get sometime are a simple calculation based on the number of fishermen expected and their catch rate, so that they are about killed off by fisherman before the lake warms too much to be able to sustain the fish.

    As far as numbers go, the food base (aquatic vegetation and the invertebrate life they sustain) is a primary factor in determining numbers of adults that a lake can sustain. Since there is an expectation of substantial juvenile mortality (from other fish, birds, etc.) for fry before then mature to adults (one year from plant to ca. 8" in many lakes), many more fry are planted in an otherwise similarly productive lake than would be stocked as catchables.

  9. GAT

    GAT Active Member

    I don't believe the ODF&W stocks any lake with trout below the legal limit. I've never caught a hatchery trout smaller than the legal limit so I believe that is deal. The ODF&W is currently hot and heavy into "angling opportunity" so they can sell more fishing licenses. They are convinced anglers only fish to take the fish home... so... they only plant trout that are of legal "take" size.

    When it comes to the lake and the numbers they dump in, it depends more on fishing pressure than the size of the lake. I'm sure some planters don't last long before they end up eating someone's Power Bait. The plant thousands and thousands of trout in the Oregon coastal lakes but by mid-summer, you're hard pressed to catch much at all.

    Considering the short survival rate of the legal size planters, I don't think the ODF&W gives it much thought as to the size of the lake for an indication of the number of clones they dump in for the Power Bait folks.

    Actually, I don't mind. The planted lakes are much closer to my home than are the wild trout lakes and there are no wild trout in the coast lakes they plant so they can go ahead on with what they're doing.
  10. bakerite

    bakerite Active Member

    Gene, The ODFW is stocking lots of fry in lakes, at least in my part of the state. They don't have that information on the website, or it is there for only a few of the lakes (one year, not the next etc.). I know my home lake Pilcher, which is 15 minutes form home is stocked in the middle of summer with fry that are 3-5 inches. By the fall they are 7 - 10 and a nuisance...next spring 10 to 12 and pretty nice fat fish. In Thief Valley res. ( the diamond lake of NEO) they started planting in the fall because then they don't loose the fish if the irrigators drain it. They stock 60,000 there that are almost 6 inches by the time they hold them in the hatchery over the summer. The lake drained last year, but fish are alread 10-14 inches. I'm sure Diamond lake is planted with fry too as are many of the high lakes and lakes in CO. Over here they usually only stock the catchables in ponds, streams (a blasphemy) or in special cases like Phillips (where there are lots of competing fish) or Anthony (lots of customers camping).
    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  11. aplTyler

    aplTyler Inept Steelheader

    I'm pretty sure that Diamond Lake in S.Central Oregon has gone to exclusively fry stocking at this point.

    There is some creative liberty that the department bios can take, but they have their formulas that they typically follow. The answers above are pretty spot on IMO (productivity, summer/winter kill, predators, fishing pressure, location, etc).
  12. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

    I have learned that watching the fry plant lakes over in eastern Oregon is a must as it states on the odfw website malheur did not get any fry plants last spring when numbers were all ready low as stated by odfw last spring so now malheur res. will not fish well for this year and next at the least. yet last year they transplanted large-mouth bass from Davis lake to unity but didn't take the time or money to plant rainbow fry in malheur! But still planted fry in unity! I guess to feed the bass! so almost all management went to bass management in that region of Oregon the way I see it! An invasive species. I spoke with the regions bio about this and was told "well they did plant 2500 catchables in malheur last spring" just enough for the power baiters! I have been targeting the fry plant lakes because they can be such good fishing for large rainbows when managed right and getting fry every year. so knowing when they decide to skip fry planting is very important to me. And spending money on BASS and not rainbows really pisses me off!

    Sometimes knowing what Odfw or wdfw does every year is not a good thing. depending on what kind of fishing you prefer I guess!

    Central Oregon is going through all kinds of changes for the good of trophy trout with fry plants and rainbow strains being brought in to help with invasive chubs and other fish that don't belong like bass! you just have to pull up each lake or reservoirs management. they only show mostly catchables and what they call trophy plants and brood stocking. so if you really want to learn whats going on - go to the site and pull up each body of waters management plan! to start I would suggest =
    East and paulina lakes
    crane prairie res.

    Davis lake - trying to schedule killing the lake for replanting of "JUST RAINBOWS"

    They also did some changes at Lava and started planting some cranebow brood stock in it I don't know how many years ago, but a friend just got back and he landed a 8 pound bow out of lava a couple weeks ago!

    Diamond lake also has the klamath strain lake fish so if any invasive's come back in the lake they will feed on them and help keep the populations down.

    East and Paulina both have black water rainbows from Canada and a species of rainbow from California brought in and planted because of the chub population. they brought them in because they are known to feed on chubs once they get to a certain size, and it is catch and release now for all rainbows that are not marked so they did not mark these 2 species so they could be released and grow large to help the browns feed on the chubs because not all rainbow species feed on minnows or larger invasive's!

    They did not do the stocking of brood stock cranebows at crane last year because they thought the brood stock was spawning with the native cranebows! but after some studies they found the brood stock not a problem with the spawning natives so they are going to start the brood stock program again next year and plant them in the spring instead of fall because I think they were losing quite a few fish during the cold winter months being the water is so shallow and the lake freezing over during winter.

    The effects of no planting brood cranebows last year. I spent 8 days there at the first of the month and had never caught so many brook trout! in-fact I had never caught a brook trout there! although I have only fished it for 3 years the places I always caught bows had brooks and sometimes only brooks. to confirm my findings Odfw reports on crane are that the lodge says it's the best fishing he has seen in many years for brook trout. When numbers are down with the bows brook and bass can explode would be my guess! taking over food sources!

    This is just some of what's going on in Oregon. It seems Washington experimented with tiger trout for invasives and Odfw did also at Philips res. planting 1000's just to have have them die because they screwed something up with temps or age before planting! they were to help with the perch explosion. now they are thinking tiger-musky! When I asked why an invasive and wouldn't they eat the trout also I was told by the bio that half a million perch would get eaten! well from what I know spiny rays are hard to eat because of the spines! so I guess when they run out of the easy to swallow rainbows they will turn to perch.

    I'd better stop there :confused:
    dryflylarry likes this.
  13. GAT

    GAT Active Member

    Well, hell.... this fry planting is news to me. Guess I rely too heavily on the experience I gain from fishing the planted lakes in my neck of the woods.

    I learned long ago that the management plans for the ODF&W are guide lines and the bio may or may not manage the fishery as per the plan. So I now take them with a grain of salt. However, if they REALLY do plan to knock off the LMB in Davis and return the fishery to a trophy trout flyfishing only lake, I'll have to give them credit for finally doing something I suggested they do 10 years ago.
  14. zen leecher aka bill w

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

    Gotta use "put and take" fish for where the largest population base is. That way the lakes are open a fair amount of the year and have fair sized fish for the weekend dabblers.
  15. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

    With "WASHINGTON" I tried pulling up Merrill lake info and found very little except what trips they planted for last year. In the ODFW website you can pull up management for the region or by body of water and find info. maybe someone who knows how to walk through the WDFW website for lake information can chime in!

    GAT, BIO'S FOR ODFW - Can only suggest what THEY THINK should happen - ODFW STAFF has the final word and decides what WILL HAPPEN. At least that's what I heard - read - think I know -

    I have watched and listened to things at ODFW meetings that have shocked the hell out of me. In central Oregon (and southern Oregon) I think they are on the right track.

    Like what has been said before - population - food source - west side high lakes have very little food source. And in west side lowland lakes the trout do not reproduce well or lakes warm to much to sustain population through the year. even if they did the POPULATION OF PEOPLE would just slaughter them.

    And I can say that the least thing the general public is concerned with is special regulation waters or catch and release no matter how passionate we might be towards them. the masses hate them and most times will fight against them.

    The battles of recent years =
    Crane prairie regulation change for this year = only one native rainbow and only one fish over 16 inches - 5 fish per day. this was fought tooth and nail in central Oregon this year.

    Management for bass in wickiup res. with limit regulations = this was fought tooth and nail by the trout fisherman of central Oregon but sadly they lost!

    Talking with people I know in eastern Oregon it seems "no one goes to meetings or even cares" - they just react and bitch afterwards. heck I have a fishing friend who lives two blocks from the ODFW office in La grande and has never been to a meeting. Jeff I know you care! :)

    There came a point when I thought "if I care so much about my fishing why am I not involved" since then I have driven to Salem on issue for the sandy river a few times and If I lived in central Oregon I would be at every lake management meeting. I even tried writing the person who was pushing for a regulation change at crane prairie to help with signatures from my area for special regulations.

    If you don't fight for what you think is right, then you have no right to bitch - the way I see it.

    Stonefish - sorry for the high-jack and writing so much about Oregon ODFW but WDFW should be close to the same in there website for info! I also thought if I posted what I have found on our site maybe it would help you with your Washington site and the kind of information you can find -
  16. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    No worry about a hi-jack. I always enjoy learning more about other fisheries and hope to someday fish some of your central Oregon lakes.
    Here are the 2013 WDFW at stocking reports if anyone is interested.
    Mark Kraniger likes this.
  17. skyrise

    skyrise Active Member

    stonefish, glad you asked this one.
    i have the same questions.
    there is a lake i fish that gets cutthroat fry. in all the times i have fished it, i have only landed 2 small cutts. so i wonder why the cutt fry plants ? they don't seem to very well.
    on the other hand the brown trout fry seem to carry over pretty well.
    hate to see the money wasted on fry plants that to my limited knowledge don't do very well ??
  18. In many Washington lakes, fry planting is done on a multi-year cycle. So, those in the know tend to plan their fishing around that part of the cycle when the fish will have some size to them.

    Planting fry is relatively inexpensive, so there can be a tendency to plant lakes where they will provide little recreational activity, either because almost no one fishes the lake (many off-trail high country lakes apply here), or where survival may not be great. If low survival is due to the presence of non-native predators (e.g., bass or brown trout), planting catchables that are big enough to avoid predation is one solution.

    WDFW posts a stocking schedule each year. It is just a plan, so sometimes lakes on the schedule are not stocked, and sometimes lakes that are not on the plan will receive some fish. You can find a downloadable pdf on the WDFW website. Past year's schedules are also on the website if you poke around, so you can determine which lakes have had recent plants and which ones have not been planted for a while.