During my teen age years through late 20's I used to fish this chain of lakes a minimum 50 times a year. From the early 80's to mid 90"s it was no uncommon to catch 20-30 fish averaging 17"-21" with a few monsters in the mix. Every year we would catch at least a couple gigantic browns. I can remember a few tigers around 5lbs and some 8lb Triploids as well in the late 90's. If I recall most of the stockings were fingerlings and these fish looked very clean and were quite strong. I can remember hundreds of schools of sunfish splash the surface as i trolled by while at the same time hooking marvelous hard fighting trout. For me these were the good old days here.
I appreciate Mike's comments and efforts. I am not a fisheries scientist and am no way prepared to begin to explain complexities involved in the lakes decline. Is the ecosystem changing on a lake that didn't exist before we altered the water table? Does fingerling plants vs stoker plants make a difference on how the fish adapt to the environment, feed and fight? Could browns escape, populate and devastate the Columbia? How long does rotenone effect the rebound of food supply. Did the presence of larger meat eating pigs help to control sun fish populations? Are there other environmental issues yet undocumented and understood? What effects from the recent fires can we expect? Budget considerations. Etc. There are infinite amount of issues to comprehend when assessing a management plan and I have an unwavering belief that our fishery biologists are truly doing their very best to assess these and other issues.
IMHO I believe that the majority of people fishing these selective fisheries are there for the higher quality of fish not quantity. This is my issue with the current management plan for these and few other lakes. As @Toadthefly eluded to there are lots of lakes with thousands of stockers and holdovers to play with. Just not many with true toads. This is purely my opinion, presented without evidence and not meant to offend anyone. BRING BACK THE TOADS PLEASE!
One thing that I keep recommending is to explore some of the general regulation seep lakes as you never know what you'll find in them. The not-so-easy hikes and difficulty of even finding some of those lakes keeps out 98% of the fishermen, so you usually don't have to worry about running into lots of people. But, once in a while you'll run into a lake that has better quality fish than our popular "quality" lakes, like Lenice. For example, I recently fished a small seep lake that I won't name and here is what I found and I was the only one who fished that lake that day:
(Since I measure fish from the tip of the nose to the fork in the tail, most fishermen would probably measure those 18 inchers to the end of the tail and call them 19 inchers. A Measure Net is used to quickly measure the fish.)
Due to the lack of fishing pressure, these fish are husky, pull hard and jump a lot.
These fish are planted as fry, so they are about as "wild" as you're going to find with planted fish.
Sure, I can understand it if you want to go to Lenice to see old friends, socialize, and grouse about the good old days, but for me personally, I'd rather be out on a little lake by myself and enjoy a quality fishery that I found by myself using a fly that I tied myself. Somehow it all seems more rewarding that way...
Following up on my previous message, a friend and I went to a different unnamed seep lake this week that I'd only fished once before many years ago, and although we found fewer fish, they were larger, as you can see on my chart (which includes the 23 incher and two 21 inchers my friend caught):
I'm not sure what happened to all the smaller fish in this lake, but I like quality over quantity any day.
The rainbows all had good girth, like this one:
Most of them looked like they had never seen a hook or net and fought like it. I had one fish that jumped 8 times, which is really something for a fish of that size.
Just saying that sometimes you can find better quality fish in a general regulation lake than in some of our "quality" fisheries, like Lenice. We saw no other fishermen out there, so we had the lake all to ourselves, practicing good social distancing. I'm not saying it is easy, as it requires some hiking and a lot of effort to sift through a number of lakes to find the diamonds, but if a 65 year old guy like me can do it, I don't see why you can't do it too. If you put in the time and effort, you'll eventually get rewarded.