What the heck! Pelletheads in Hosmer (rant) thoughts and a question

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by bakerite, Jul 19, 2013.

  1. bakerite

    bakerite Active Member

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    After reading Richard Olmstead's Hosmer Report I looked on the ODFW website at stocking records and saw they put 2500 pelletheads and 750 "trophy" cuts in the lake this year.....I know this lake originally was barren, but this shows how far away from any kind of 'wild' trout management ODFW is. I have been totally encouraged that they are stocking blackwaters in East and working to manage Crane better, but putting a bunch of trout right out of the "concrete pond" into Hosmer is a bad move. They are going to compete for food with the Atlantics and Brookies. I'm sure the catch rate will go up, but in my opinion the quality of the experience will be way worse.

    I digress! Last year the ODFW started planting "trophy" bows in Anthony Lake, a small high lake that you can drive to. It has a nice campground and a lot of folks go there. At 7100 feet it's a great place to beat the heat over here. There is a fair population of brookies planted who knows when. they may have even been planted n some of the upstream lakes instead of in Anthony. They top out at about 10-12 inches and most are small....the challenge is to get a good one. I went fishing there the day after they planted the "trophys". It was the first really hot spell of summer and the mating flight of carpenter ants was in full swing. There were at least several ants on every square foot of the lake, they crawled on to my tube and kept landing in my hair! There were fish rising, so I tied on a royal trude, and threw it out. I had several splashy rises, all little brookies. My buddy caught one that he thought was deformed because it had so many ants coming out of its mouth! We wanted to catch some of the 'Trophys' and didn't until we started fishing wets (so the ants were like pellets). Once we started fishing in the end of the lake where they dumped them in it was fish on almost every cast until I got tired of it and went for a walk. So here is my point..... IMHO this is a great place to stock these fish. The people that camp there will catch most of them this summer and will think it is great to catch a 15 inch fish instead of a little one. (Note to self, I should try smoking some). The ones that live until the winter will have a hard time finding enough food to maintain weight. I bet a bunch will die off and help fertilize the lake....we may even get better hatches and bigger brookies! Now in Hosmer most people won't keep them. They may grow and be an OK addition in another year, but why not add a great stock of rainbows like Pennasks from BC or cranebows if you want to change the fishery. To me pelletheads belong in catch and keep lakes where a family can go, set up some lawn chairs and throw out some powerbait!

    So here is my question. What is your favorite lake or lakes, how is it managed? Don't name it if you don't want to.

    Here are a few of mine:

    1. Theif Valley Reservoir....Big water with lots of big fish, no special rules. Stocked in the fall with 60,000 4-6 inch fish. They get to 10-12 by spring, but the main fishery is for the 2 year old 16-18 inch football and there are some big ones too. There are several other similar reservoirs over here. The best one on any given year depends on the snowpack and water demands of the farmers. ODFW has adjusted their stocking practices in TVR to fit the agricultural use and the results are impressive. Now if only one of these reservoirs was managed as a "trophy" lake!

    2. A couple of small high lakes within 20 air miles of my house that are not stocked, but have poor spawning habitat for the resident brookies. These are lakes where you won't catch 30 fish in a day, but the ones you catch will be nice fish 12 to 16 inches, with maybe a snakey 18". (By the way, Idaho has trophy high lakes!) I think these lakes could be ruined if access was easier under the current 5 fish limit.

    3. There are a couple of high lakes over here with mixed stocks of wild fish, rainbows and brookies that are fairly rich in food and have tons of fish in them. The brookies seem to occupy the best habitat and will get up to a fat 14 inches while the rainbows are in the deep water, run about the same size, but are skinny. The fish size has been staying the same over the years that I have fished them so they are "in balance"

    My last thought.... In BC it seems that the fish and game people really study their lakes and are very careful about how they stock them. As a result they have world class Stillwater fishing. I think Oregon, while having many fewer lakes has potential to have some in that category if they would just manage for fish instead of for "recreational opportunity".
     
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  2. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    You know the ODF&Ws new management plan is "increased angling opportunities"... meaning, more hatchery catch and kill fisheries.

    They have destroyed many unique and/or wild fisheries with their new state-wide plan. They've decided that only people who want to kill trout buy fishing licenses... so they are now dumping stockers in Hosmer. Ruining a unique flyfishing fishery. They may as well drop the flyfishing only regulation and I suppose that will be the next step.
     
  3. dbaken

    dbaken New Member

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    Or someone will put bass in Hosmer, same as Davis and Crane Prairie and Wickiup. Next thing, all the brookies will be gone, and Hosmer is another bass lake.
     
  4. bakerite

    bakerite Active Member

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    I think Hosmer needs some thought and care.....is there a fly club in CO? Someone needs to give the ODFW some input! Maybe if a bunch of us would start emailing the biologist over there! The fisheries in this end of the state don't have the people that CO does, but still my favorites are mostly protected just because they take a hike to get to, or are just so rich in food (like diamond) that general regulations work.
     
  5. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

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    I won't name any lakes....but my favorite lakes are any lakes that have healthy wild trout populations.
    My second favorite are lakes planted with fry. Sure many get taken out by birds, other fish etc, but those that survive are quality fish. The third year carryovers are large, super fighting fish.
    Any lake in Washington without triploids is a good thing in my book. They are like crack to WDFW. Note to WDFW. When properly managed, our lakes have the ability to produce large trout without using triploids. You did it for years before triploids became the in thing.
    SF
     
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  6. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    My preference is always for lakes managed for wild, naturally reproducing fish that are native to the ecosystem. Such lakes will have a +/- normal demographic distribution with fish of varying age and size. I always prefer a lake where you don't know when a fish hits just how big it is going to be when it first takes the fly, even if many of them end up being small. There's a small lowland lake in western Washington that I've fished for years that has native coastal cutts and a small population of brookies. I mostly catch fish from 6-15 inches, but a few years back I caught a 22" cutt there. It won't happen often, and I suspect that most years there isn't even a single fish that size, but it's nice to know that it is always a possibility.

    I agree with Stonefish that my next favorite are ones that only get fry plants. By the time these fish are mature, they've forgotten their early life in the tanks and are 'wild' by almost any definition that involves how they behave in the water.

    That being said, a couple of my favorite lakes this spring are ones that had plants of 11-12 bows fish last November on top of older cutthroat fry plants (2008-09). This summer catching nice 14-15 inch bows keeps me occupied between the rare 20+ inch cutts.

    2500 'catchables' in Hosmer seems like way too much; maybe 2500 fry, knowing that a significant number of them will be bird or fish food before they mature, would be about right. It seemed to me that most of the folks I saw and talked with on Hosmer last week were pretty serious C&R fly fishermen and women. It seems a shame and simply put - a mistaken understanding of fishermen - to manage that lake for catch & kill.

    Dick
     
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  7. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    Dick, in all the years I've dealt with the ODF&W (plus a friend worked for the department) I've learned they are in the business to sell fishing licenses and they are convinced anglers will not buy a fishing license unless they can kill what they catch.

    Conservation of wild trout, salmon and steelhead is not the prime directive.

    But this Hosmer thing came out of the blue. They've left Hosmer alone for decades so I don't know what the hell they are trying to do.
    Evidently, someone in the Bend area started pushing the zone biologist to dump in the pellet heads for harvest.

    There is a large and powerful flyfishing club in Bend. Maybe they support the plan. I don't know. I lost my contact to the club.

    If the idea is to give up on the Atlantics in favor of turning Hosmer into a trophy rainbow and/or cutt C&R, flyfishing only fishery, fine.
    I don't trust them. The ODF&W hasn't made a run at turning any fishery into a trophy trout fishery for as long as I've been fishing. I'd be surprised if that was the plan now.

    Do you know that regardless of the fact that the LMB pretty much wiped out the rainbow at Davis (flyfishing only), a slot limit STILL remains for the rainbow so you can kill the trout you catch if they are within that slot limit.

    Does that make sense to anyone out there? The ODF&W management plan for Davis is a flyfishing only, trophy trout plan but not only do the trout need to survive the illegally planting of the LMB but also anglers who want to eat a rainbow!

    This is an example of the mindset of the ODF&W. They do not relate to fly anglers or trophy trout fisheries in the least. They are dedicated to the Power Bait anglers to the max.
     
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  8. pond monkey

    pond monkey Member

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    I will throw in a little different perspective.... Regarding Atlantics they are nothing special in my view.....talk about an invasive species and they fight poorly to boot.....I haven't even fished Hosmer in years but I have long thought that rainbows would be a far better fish for that lake.......they fight much better and they may just grow faster, get bigger too....You know every year the ODFW stocks the lake with catchable size atlantics anyway..... why not try 'bows, I suspect this year they have suspended the atlantic stocking altogether substituting 'bows and cutts ....atlantics are dogs anyway ...... perhaps after a few years they can be stocking fingerlings only....Since Hosmer is fly ony I suspect most 'bows will be released anyhow.... and stocking schedules will need adjustment.
    You mention BC....I have been up there 15 times and I think BC is wonderful...it is the year's highlight for me....It is hard to compare to Oregon because BC is huge and has so many good eutrophic lakes.... but nearly all were barren of fish before the Europeans came....They have much better management for sure but generally better lakes and less fishing pressure... They stock triploids more and more now days and are are using the AF3Ns (all females) too quite a bit and with good result. .....Blackwaters are being used more and more these days and that stock comes from the Blackwater River rnear Quesnel where they don't get very big but they live among sculpins ect and apparently are more predacious as a result...Blackwater will get big in rich lakes though.... Most of the healthy lake up there are monoculture.
    CO does have a few nice lakes but most are effed up with invasisive chubs.... or sticklebacks or bass... too bad....The Lavas, Crane, Davis, East.... even Wickiup...
    You talk about "pelletheads' as if they have no genetic origins (no soul).....I assure you they do. I don't know what strain the state is using in Hosmer but I know that they are Oncorhychus mykiss and they if the lake has the biomas and if a good balance is achieved and maintained then I think the results will be a significant improvement.... give it a 3 years... Just because a strain has a certain pedigree doesn't translate automatically into a good result... The lake's qualities are the biggest determinant by far...
     
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  9. bakerite

    bakerite Active Member

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    Good points, Pond Monkey. Oregon has been using some Blackwaters in East Lake with apparently good results. I am just unhappy with the "catchables" they stock in the lakes close to me, they tend to look worn, and are pretty limp on the way to the boat. They are probably the same strain they use as fingerlings, but there is a big difference when they grow up in the lake.......so if it's rainbows for Hosmer, I agree and think that's fine, but if I show up to fish there, would like to have a shot at some nice brook trout, and can't keep the 10 inch stockers of my line I would be and unhappy camper. Just to dump them in seems like a scattergun approach to me.
     
  10. pond monkey

    pond monkey Member

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    I understand what your concerns are because "catchables" right out of the truck are unappealing no doubt..... but gives those fish a a couples months and they are stronger, looking much better overall et...then a year down the pike those "pelletheads" may very well be 15-16 chunksters. I hope so...... and if they can make it another year....there could be pretty good numbers of 18-20 inch class chrome beauties.... that would be great!
    You are right that starting with fingerlings would be optimal....right now though a jump start with catchables makes sense...
    Nearly all the lakes in BC are stocked with fingerlings and generally the result is heathy, beautifully formed, chromers......PM
     
  11. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    For me, it is the tradition of Hosmer that I'd like to maintain. Just about every lake, except for those connected to The Deschutes, are artificial fisheries and originally planted by the ODF&W. So doesn't mean a thing that the Atlantics are not native... big deal. Neither are the brookies. Hosmer is a closed system so it isn't as if the Atlantics have any effect on a native species because they don't.

    Considering the fishery relies entirely on planted fish, they may as well plant the Atlantics to maintain the unique appeal of the lake. They can dump in hatchery rainbow anywhere and do. As it is a flyfishing only lake I'd like to know if they bothered asking the fly clubs of Oregon if they'd rather the lake was turned into a planted rainbow fishery.

    And as far as asking only the local fly clubs... that ain't going to fly because we buy an Oregon fishing license so any fly angler in Oregon should have a say in what happens at Hosmer. There is no such thing as a fishing license for specific zones so when it comes to the regs and the management plans, it is indeed a concern of any angler in Oregon.

    Instead of messing with Hosmer, I'd wish the ODF&W would take the steps necessary to return Davis to a flyfishing only trophy trout fishery as it once was before the LMB were illegally planted in the lake.
     
  12. pond monkey

    pond monkey Member

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    If the atlantics weren't such an inferior fish I'd be with you Gene....They are planted as catchables anyway. I don't think that there is any successful reproduction taking place there, except for brookies.... The atlantics might appear to be trying but that's all. Every year the ODFW plants more catchables ....I am glad that rainbows are being given a chance...
    I know that there are stories of big (5-6 pounders) atlantics existing there years ago .....but I have never once seen a single photo.... and it makes zero sense anyway..... maybe a few brooders were thrown in and some wide eyed anglers got the wrong idea...... it would tale several years for a fish to grow to that size anyway and that it so unlikely going to happen in that extremely shallow, high elevation lake... Even for the tough brook trout an specimens over 18" are uncommon.....
    Davis is a huge very expensive problem, tons of rotenone needed and then there is the lava tube. ..... The Hosmer experiment is merely requiring some tweeking...... PM
     
  13. bakerite

    bakerite Active Member

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    Gene is right there is quite a history to Hosmer Lake. This is paraphrased from "The Year of the Trout" by Steve Raymond.


    In 1957 ODFW chemically treated the carp and tench out of Hosmer although some brook trout survived, probably in the creek. A shipment of Atlantic eggs form the Gaspe Bay arrived in 1958 and were planted in Hosmer, 6,015 yearling fish averaging 6 inches and 9,014 fry. Fishing was opened in 1961 with retention of one salmon allowed. That year the largest salmon caught was 27 1/2 inches and weighed over 6 pounds. The average fish was 20 inches! The fish did spawn in Quinn Creek, but winter ice destroyed the eggs. Until 1970 fishing was wonderful.... then the fish started to disappear. Yearlings would leave over the outlet dam and since the adults were so surface oriented ospreys would take up to 50 in a day....and then there were the otters. Then they started stocking landlocked stock from Maine. Hosmer was such a success that WDFW tried to get a program going with Atlantics, both in Chopaka and Quail lakes. Neither worked out as well as Hosmer did. They were also planted in a small tarn in the Olympics where they grew to 3 pounds, but the stocking stopped and the fish are all gone now.

    There is a lot more detail in the book, but this is the gist of it. There is also a great chapter in the "Year of the Angler" about this. Many of the Atlantics were caught on dry flies, mostly mayflies and traveling sedges (the salmon candy patterns).

    The brook trout in high elevation lakes can live up to 20 years. Brookies over 18 inches are pretty rare in the west, but there are some in Hosmer (progeny of those that escaped the treatment back in 1957)and in some other CO locations. I agree that the lake needs some tweaking and a schedule of one or two days a week without Kayaks would be great! In my experience with "pelletheads" stocked in high lakes as lot of them don't make it through the winter and they often don't grow much. I've caught fish that have overwintered, before the first truckload of the year and some of them will be very skinny and in poor condition, while the brookies that have been there are small, they are well proportioned. Hosmer is a lake that can grow great fish, it has an amazing insect population, but ODFW should have a plan, not a shotgun approach to stocking it.
     
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  14. pond monkey

    pond monkey Member

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    I have read Steve Raymond's account .... it raises questions though and I have yet to see a photo of a big atlantic...
    After poisoning and stocking the lake was off limits to fishing for three years....that helps of course... but how did those fish, being so "surface oriented" and vulnerable to osprey live so long ( to grow so large.) In addition the lake is super shallow ...... most less than 8 feet deep and it at over 5000 feet The article suggests that spawning was successful and that fishing was "wonderful" ..... until they then began to mysteriously "disapear" in 1970 ?....so for a dozen years fishing was wonderful (whatever that means....super subjective?)
    There is always the possibility that the article is somewhat accurate.... but it could only be so if Atlantic salmon can spawn successfully and have a decent rate survival in Hosmer.....I did not know that was possible....I know that it is stocked every year with catchables....
     
  15. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    Regardless of the historic aspect, I don't trust the ODF&W in the least. It really wouldn't surprise me in the least if the ultimate plan for Hosmer is to remove the flyfishing only restriction and turn it into a typical planted fishery.

    I'm curious as to why the decision to dump in hatchery clones was not ran past fly anglers in Oregon yet this is the first I've heard of it ... after the fact.

    I honestly think that you will not end up with a flyfishing only trophy rainbow trout fishery at Hosmer. I believe the future for Hosmer is a put and take fishery for the Power Bait folks. I hope I'm wrong but I see no reason to believe the ODF&W is suddenly changing their ways.

    "Enhanced angling opportunity" is their new motto and I see this as the reason they are now dumping hatchery fish in Hosmer, all they need to do now is remove the flyfishing only regulation.
     
  16. pond monkey

    pond monkey Member

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    I sincerely doubt that your fears are warranted Gene...... Hosmer has a long fly only history and it is extremely beautiful and unique even in it's current state...... I think Hosmer has a very good chance becoming a better fishery, maybe a much better with a rainbow trout base. We will see.
     
  17. GAT

    GAT Dumbfounded

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    We'll have to agree to disagree on this one... I'm really touchy about flyfishing only fisheries :D However, as you know, I have no problem with the coastal lakes that rely on planted trout... no problem at all.

    (I didn't make it to Munsel this year... maybe next year. But they're starting to plant some pretty big bows in Olalla plus there's the adult steelhead factor... you never know when you're going to catch one of those guys.)
     
  18. bakerite

    bakerite Active Member

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    Steve Raymond's account stated that although they attempted to spawn, they were not successful due to the winter conditions in the creek. I am really surprised that you say: There is always the possibility that the article is somewhat accurate.... but it could only be so if Atlantic salmon can spawn successfully and have a decent rate survival in Hosmer.....I did not know that was possible....I know that it is stocked every year with catchables.... about an account by one of our top NW writers, who was there and fished the lake for years. As he clearly states, the salmon have not successfully spawned in Hosmer, but the brook trout have. As for survival of the salmon, a lot has changed in the past 40 years. When I was a kid growing up in Edmonds, most of the little lakes in the area were planted with fry, because cormorants weren't a problem and illegal introductions of bass and panfish weren't as widespread. Now the stock catchables right before the opener on many lakes to minimize predation. I would be willing to bet that it would take a few years for the ospreys discover and capitalize on the new food source, thus the years of great fishing. I don't profess to know all the answers to the problems with this fishery. I'm unhappy with the ODFW for not figuring out a good way to fix this fishery.
     
  19. pond monkey

    pond monkey Member

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    Just call me a skeptic... sorry, if something doesn't make sense, I question it.... Raymond's account is all ancedotal..... he is just a writer...
    He says they do not spawn, I assume that is correct and that is why the state continues to stock it annually with catchables.... Even then for a 10 incher to grow to 4-6 pounds that would 3-4 more full years...... that just seems so unlikely in that environment and then they just disappeared and there are no photos.... this is like bigfoot....
     
  20. pond monkey

    pond monkey Member

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    BTW Cormorants love to swallow 8"-12" trout......In the Willamette valley cormorants feed on hatchery trout all winter long In the spring osprey move in until the fish learn to go deep.......
     

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