WSFW - Stocking lakes

Discussion in 'Stillwater' started by paulyr, Apr 20, 2006.

  1. paulyr

    paulyr Fly Line Junky

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    Curious to know if you should allow time to pass to let the fish acclimate to their new environment after a lake is stocked. Some of the local lakes have been stocked recently and the reports makes it sound like shooting in a barrel. Is that fair to the fish??:confused:
    So my question of the day is:hmmm: : Should you allow time for fish to acclimate after a lake stocking? And if so, how much time is fair?
     
  2. fredaevans

    fredaevans Active Member

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    I agree; for a week or so after stocking the fish are still 'pellet pigs.' Anything that looks like food (and they're used to eating several times per day) gets chomped on. But as 'they say,' thesse fish are "put and take."
     
  3. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

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    Most of these lakes are managed as "put and take" anyway. Maybe you could protect them a few days or weeks from fisherman, but what about the feast the mergansers, opreys, and other birds and predators would have? Point is, someone (or something) is going to get most of them within the first 2 weeks anyway.

    Even if you waited a month and had little predator problems - the effect would be about the same. With such a high concentration of fish in one small lake - it will just be easy pickings for gear, bait, and fly guys alike.

    Once the fish numbers drop down and the remaining fish learn to avoid predators and be more selective about what\how\when they eat, then the crowds of meat fishers will back off. And then you have a nice peaceful lake where, if you are somewhat skillful, you can still catch plenty of trout with a much more rewarding experience all the way around.
     
  4. hikepat

    hikepat Patrick

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    I say go out and teach those fish to not eat every thing in site its kind of fun once in a while. You might just do them a favor and save them from the frying pan for a little while longer by making them a little smarter. Just do not think to highly of your self if you have a 40 or 50 fish day on such easy pickings.
     
  5. South Sound

    South Sound Member

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    I agree. Bright gaudy patterns to teach the fish not to mess with Bright power bait.
     
  6. ceviche

    ceviche Active Member

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    Don't sweat it. Just fish the opposite side of the lake from where the stockers were put in. That way you have a greater chance at finding the carry-overs. I did that today and scored a trifecta of a very nice brown, three smallish cutties, and a very fat 18" triploid. It was a good day for Brad as well, as he scored his own trifeca before I did. :beer2:

    Meanwhile, half the boats on the lake were clustered within 30ft of the boat ramp--all soaking bait for stockers. :confused: Things were looking pretty slow for those guys when Brad and I left. :rofl:
     
  7. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Paulyr,

    I think it depends on whether you want to fish for and catch freshly stocked trout. I understand that WDFW tries to stock lakes heavily just prior to the opening day to reduce predation by cormorants, so from that perspective it's probably a good idea to fish on them before they're taken by predators. Personally, I don't want to catch pellet trout. I prefer to fish for trout that have been feeding on natural feed in hopes they'll like the fly I'm tossing. Also, if I want to keep a few to eat, I want them to taste like trout and not like pellets. So even if there are fewer trout left in the lake, I liked it when WDFW stocked fingerlings that were then left to grow naturally. Most of them are lost to predation I suppose, but then the survivors ought to be worthy of our efforts to catch them.

    Sincerely,

    Salmo g.
     
  8. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

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    FYI - I think you meant to say "WDFW" in the thread title.
     
  9. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Salmo -
    I agree that fishing on fry origin fish (those fish that have spend a year or so in the lake) was a much more attractive fishery. Up until the mid-1980s the old Game department would stock most lakes with small fry (2 to 3 inches long) in the late spring - often at rates of 300 to 500/acre. Typcially there would be 1/3 to 1/2 of those fish that survived to the following spring and depending on the stocking level and productivity of the lake they would be 10to 14 inches long. Unfortunately that management approach required a single species management approach for the typcial lowland lake. With the spread of the various warm water fish and the opposition to the use of rotenone that management option is no longer feasible in most waters.

    On the more productivity waters management biologists were often able to manage around competing warm water fish by planting 4 to 6 inch fish in the fall which would survive reasonably well into the next spring. However that was much more expensive - each fish planted costed roughly 5 to 10 times as much to produce in the hatchery. Even that option in western Washington has become not very viable due to the increased predation by fish eating birds.

    Paulyr -
    In a typcial low land lake - say a 100 acres - the fish spread out quickly and with in a day or two the "planters" can be found through out the lake. The first couple weeks the fish are in the lake they remain primarily near the surface (within the top 5 feet). If you want to avoid them and target those fish that have taken up more natural feeding paterns fish deeper with full sinking lines along drop-offs etc.

    The drop off in fishing in most waters has less to do with the bait anglers removing the fish and more with fish adapting to natural feeding patterns requiring more refined matching the hatch approaches and predation from the various predators. Even 25 years ago where many of the low land lakes were managed as trout only waters it was rare than as much as 25% of the fish were removed from the lake in the first week or two. It was extremely rare for a season long fishery to catch as much as 75% of the fish stocked in a water.

    On those lakes were the bird predators are a serious issue leaving the fish alone for a week or so is a losing strategy. Pretty common to have significant numbers of fish eating birds to show up on a water within hours (less than 36 hrs) of the planting and by the end of a week they may have consumed 80% or more of the fish planted.

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  10. spanishfly

    spanishfly Steelberg

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    IMHO does it matter if the fish acclimate? These fish were planted not to create a quality catch and release fishery but rather to be caught, released, kept whatever... If the birds or other critters don’t get them the power baiters will. I personally don’t eat trout but don’t have any issues if someone wants to chuck power bait and take a stringer home.
     
  11. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Dennis, I'm with you, but up to a point. Since nearly ALL trout in this state are planters, or are descended from planters, I draw a distinction between fish in someplace like Rattlesnake Lake or Beaver Lake, and a remote alpine lake like xxxxxxx.

    IMHO, the drive-to lakes are planted to make it easy for those who equate fishing with lugging in a lawn chair, boom box and cold case, dunking worms or Power Bait, and hauling home a 'mess o' trout' for the little woman to fry up for dinner. You're absolutely right that those fish were put there for a reason - to be caught and eaten.

    OTOH, remote alpine lakes like xxxxxxx require a significant amount energy to be expended just to get to them, thus weeding out most of the meat fishers. Sure, the fish in xxxxxxx were planted, but for the most part, the people who burn up a thousand or two calories lugging themselves and their gear in to catch them are looking for additional payoffs: those that are measured in solitude, tranquility, and harmony; not just quantity and size. While the ospreys take their share, unlike the power baiters, they never take more than they need or can use.

    K
     
  12. spanishfly

    spanishfly Steelberg

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    Kent,

    I agree with you 100% I just didn't elaborate :thumb:
     
  13. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    I had a feeling you did . . . ptyd

    K
     
  14. kal

    kal Member

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    Interesting note on the predation by birds, last week I noticed huge flocks of comorants flying. I live near a couple of stocked lakes in Olympia. I assumed that they had just been stocked and the feast was on.
     
  15. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

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    Pellet Fly:

    Hook: Sz 14 Dry Fly
    Body: Bleached Deer Hair trimmed to shape

    Does the trick every time ;)
     
  16. Kyle Smith

    Kyle Smith Active Member

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    Ya know, there's one thing about lawn chair fishing: it's relaxing. My parents do it, I did it until about 9 years ago. One big difference I noticed when I fell in love with fly fishing at age 13 was how exhausting our sport is. I need to take my float tube out and just fish wherever the breeze takes me, it's like a floating lawn chair :)

    As for the fish, yeah, don't treat these fish as if they're wild SRC's or something. I equate annual put-and-take fishing as the same as the Woodland Park Zoo's trout+grizzly bear exhibit, only with humans instead of bears.
     
  17. Jim Fitz

    Jim Fitz Member

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    Quick comment about cormorants - I was in Michigan this last week and talking fishing with a local fellow. He said the cormorant population had exploded in recent year and nearly wiped out some lakes fishing wise. Steps were taken to control the comorants ;) and now the fish are rebounding.

    Is it bad enough around here to warrant steps be taken? I am as much a duck hugger as anybody but...
     
  18. IveofIone

    IveofIone Active Member

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    On the subject of cormorants I spent 4 days in the Seeps last week and cormorants have just become a plague over there. In places there were flocks of them and most lakes had 2-5 just hanging out waiting for a meal. I have no idea what is so sacred about a cormorant that there can't be an open season on them. In fact a $50 bounty would be a good idea and give the central Washington guys a chance to make a few extra bucks.

    It makes little sense to spend millions of tax dollars to raise fish and stock lakes for the benefit of these noxious birds. What kind of logic allows us to hunt beautiful birds like duck, goose, pheasent, quail, grouse, etc. while the culling of some of these ugly villains is prohibited? It's just crazy.
     

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