How to ruin a trout fishery

Peyton00

Active Member
I have a place on a lake near Shelton. 22 ft deep max. Warm as bath water and 30" lower at the end of August. It gets 3000 9-12" stockers.
2800 probably ....guessing.
.
 

longputt

Active Member
I was just thinking about this and I remember someone telling me that Lenore was overstocked and the fish ate all of the shrimp. To the point the shrimp are never coming back. Is that true?
 

bakerite

Active Member
Less and bigger fish is definitely better as far as I am concerned. I recently fished three of the other lakes in the Okanogan that had the same regulation change a few years ago. There was very fast fishing on two of them with mostly smaller fish, but a scattering of 16 inch fish. The fish looked to be in good shape at both lakes but seemed overpopulated to me. Another was slower, but mostly 16 inch bows and none of the triploid EB that were supposedly stocked as fry. They were good places to go with my new to fly fishing buddy. and much in much better shape than the lake in the video. I would like to see WDFW manage lakes more like they do in BC, where there is a mix and they change regulations if fish populations change.
 

BDD

Active Member
I have fished the lake in the video many times and my catch has ranged from lots of smaller catchables (rainbows and tigers) to quality-sized rainbows and browns in the past. While I enjoyed both scenarios I certainly have my preference. That said, I’m guessing there are people/families who may prefer more action even if the fish were smaller. You are never going to make everyone happy all the time.

We have all lamented that river fishing is spiraling downhill, with increasing measures to restrict fishing. Therefore, WDFW should do everything in its power to direct attention and opportunity to lake fishing, particularly when many lakes provide opportunity all on its own, without any additional stocking programs. Traditional “warmwater” fishes can reproduce naturally in many lakes; this fact should be considered when managing lakes.

Here would be my solution for simplifying lake fishing regulations. First I would define seasons, harvest, and gear types.

  • Standard Harvest-year round season, standard gear use and harvest regulations. 5 fish trout limits, standardize limits for all others (bass, walleye, perch, sunfish, catfish, etc.). When using bait, the first 5 are considered harvested and you stop fishing for trout.
  • Selective Gear-using the current selective gear rule definitions (no bait, barbless hooks, etc.). Year round season C&R except a special harvest season for April, May, September and October. 2 trout limit, use of bait allowed during harvest season. When using bait, the first two are considered harvested and you stop fishing.
  • Fly fishing only-same as current definition and largely use the same lakes that have these current regulations. Catch and release or possible 1-fish limit and you stop fishing.
I would start over by classifying all lakes into similar categories. This would include lowland lakes, high lakes, and reservoirs.

  • Anadromous/ESA-Manage for conservation, limited angling impact, establish blanket regulations that errs on conservation. Apply statewide and set seasons that meet management objectives.
  • Special Needs Regulation Lakes-private access, waterfowl management, etc. These are the special-case lakes that would be listed in the regulations that have separate seasons based on management needs. These should be relatively few in numbers.
  • Mixed Bag/Multi Species Lakes-Specially managed for warmwater species and trout. Standard Harvest management. Open year round for harvest and use of bait. Catchables/jumbos management plan. All these lakes would be removed from the general regulations and fall under statewide management. This would include a vast majority of the lakes found in Washington.
  • Trout Only Management Lakes-Selective gear rules open year round C&R except special harvest season using bait for part of the season. Fry plant management plan. This would include most of the traditional opening day lakes on the eastside of the state.
  • Reservoirs/Kokanee Lakes-Standard harvest, chumming permitted. Special kokanee limits depending on production levels. Fry plant (kokanee) management plan.
  • Kids/Family Lakes-Standard harvest rules with year round season. Catchable/jumbo management plan. Strategically plan for these types of lakes near urban areas but also spread out throughout the state.
  • Special Trout Management-fly fishing only year round season with C&R. Fry plant/Triploid management plan. These lakes are relatively few in number.
Something like this could go a long way in regulation simplification and standardization. Of course, poaching will always occur no matter what management plan or category you fill your lakes in. And at times you can participate in WDFW's public process all you want and still not get what you want or even expect the best use of the resource. Perhaps most importantly you need the local area bios keeping tabs on the lakes as best they can and adaptively manage as things change. This is the biggest reason the angler in the video was disappointed in the catch size and quality and the purpose for bringing it to the attention, hopefully by those who have the power and authority to make a change.
 
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Jack MeHoff

Active Member
If they switched most of the lakes over to warm water fish to accommodate the global climate change . The fly fishers would all have to buy special bass & perch flyrods as the trout rods would be useless . this would be a boost to the economy.
 

b_illymac

Soap Lake Posse
WFF Moderator
For stillwater basically warmer summers=less windows for good trout fishing water temps.

The WDFW: Lets focus our seasons on the warm water months to keep things simple.

I mean this doesn't make any sense and you can't really argue it does. The late April opener is an outdated tradition that is barely hanging on and that's only because our state wastes enough tax dollars to stock a ton of catchables and brag it's gunna be a good one this year...
 

dustinchromers

Active Member
For stillwater basically warmer summers=less windows for good trout fishing water temps.

The WDFW: Lets focus our seasons on the warm water months to keep things simple.

I mean this doesn't make any sense and you can't really argue it does. The late April opener is an outdated tradition that is barely hanging on and that's only because our state wastes enough tax dollars to stock a ton of catchables and brag it's gunna be a good one this year...

IMHO the entire mentality of the wdfw and the anglers it serves needs a complete overhaul. They seem to be all to eager to embrace their role as a new age department and conservation organisation. So why then are there still in the mentality of put and take fisheries. Hell they view salmon and steelhead as a large scale put and take fishery.

A lake is a closed system and management should be easier to deal with. However the department chooses to manage for seven inch dinks on a stringer for the lowest common denominator of angler. They seem to think the power bait crew is their constituency with their freezers full of low quality pale meat mush. This culture and example that is encouraged by the department with their circus day openers ect gets carried forth from young anglers into their future "sporting" life. You then get the same stringer guys lined up at hatchery holes snagging salmon and talking numbers. Many become gear guides and talk numbers. Either way it's all about a circus opener and maximum take. It's a broken model especially with angling on the rise in popularity. Why can a few lakes not be year round quality fisheries. There used to be a few. There needs to be more and the focus should be on quality not the vast number of starved seven inch trout you can send to slaughter on the opening week of fishing.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Premium
This is probably a crazy silly idea but instead of raising so many trout. Maybe some effort should be made to planting bugs and crayfish and other tastes things that would encourage larger trout growth?
As mentioned in the video, the subject lake naturally has low productivity, as in primary production. Bugs and crayfish are secondary production that require primary production for forage, so your proposal would not work. It could be made to work by fertilizing the lake - polluting it selectively, if you will - to boost primary productivity. That would lead to increased natural production of secondary forage that fish could eat. AK and BC do this with some infertile lakes to make them good producers of sockeye smolt.
 

Paul_

Active Member
This culture and example that is encouraged by the department with their circus day openers ect gets carried forth from young anglers into their future "sporting" life
I guess that young angler was me. Their circus day openers are what started my passion to where it is today. And no, I didn’t end up becoming a stringer guy lined up at a hatchery hole snagging salmon and talking numbers…;)
 

bakerite

Active Member
While there are are a lot of lakes that are similar, they are also each unique in there own way. One has only to fish a lots of the lakes in an area to figure this out. Standardizing regulations just doesn't make sense for lakes or rivers. More people make this problem worse, not better. If WDFW insists on following what worked in the past there will be nothing but more of this. In my experience little lakes that are great one year might be terrible the next. I like some of the tiny waters in Central WA that get very small plants, but if a small group of anglers starts telling their friends, they fish out fast with power bait. It seems to me the biologists need to really be up on the current state of their waters and have some power to be in charge of regulations.
 

long_rod_silvers

WFF Premium
I have fished the lake in the video many times and my catch has ranged from lots of smaller catchables (rainbows and tigers) to quality-sized rainbows and browns in the past. While I enjoyed both scenarios I certainly have my preference. That said, I’m guessing there are people/families who may prefer more action even if the fish were smaller. You are never going to make everyone happy all the time.

We have all lamented that river fishing is spiraling downhill, with increasing measures to restrict fishing. Therefore, WDFW should do everything in its power to direct attention and opportunity to lake fishing, particularly when many lakes provide opportunity all on its own, without any additional stocking programs. Traditional “warmwater” fishes can reproduce naturally in many lakes; this fact should be considered when managing lakes.

Here would be my solution for simplifying lake fishing regulations. First I would define seasons, harvest, and gear types.

  • Standard Harvest-year round season, standard gear use and harvest regulations. 5 fish trout limits, standardize limits for all others (bass, walleye, perch, sunfish, catfish, etc.). When using bait, the first 5 are considered harvested and you stop fishing for trout.
  • Selective Gear-using the current selective gear rule definitions (no bait, barbless hooks, etc.). Year round season C&R except a special harvest season for April, May, September and October. 2 trout limit, use of bait allowed during harvest season. When using bait, the first two are considered harvested and you stop fishing.
  • Fly fishing only-same as current definition and largely use the same lakes that have these current regulations. Catch and release or possible 1-fish limit and you stop fishing.
I would start over by classifying all lakes into similar categories. This would include lowland lakes, high lakes, and reservoirs.

  • Anadromous/ESA-Manage for conservation, limited angling impact, establish blanket regulations that errs on conservation. Apply statewide and set seasons that meet management objectives.
  • Special Needs Regulation Lakes-private access, waterfowl management, etc. These are the special-case lakes that would be listed in the regulations that have separate seasons based on management needs. These should be relatively few in numbers.
  • Mixed Bag/Multi Species Lakes-Specially managed for warmwater species and trout. Standard Harvest management. Open year round for harvest and use of bait. Catchables/jumbos management plan. All these lakes would be removed from the general regulations and fall under statewide management. This would include a vast majority of the lakes found in Washington.
  • Trout Only Management Lakes-Selective gear rules open year round C&R except special harvest season using bait for part of the season. Fry plant management plan. This would include most of the traditional opening day lakes on the eastside of the state.
  • Reservoirs/Kokanee Lakes-Standard harvest, chumming permitted. Special kokanee limits depending on production levels. Fry plant (kokanee) management plan.
  • Kids/Family Lakes-Standard harvest rules with year round season. Catchable/jumbo management plan. Strategically plan for these types of lakes near urban areas but also spread out throughout the state.
  • Special Trout Management-fly fishing only year round season with C&R. Fry plant/Triploid management plan. These lakes are relatively few in number.
Something like this could go a long way in regulation simplification and standardization. Of course, poaching will always occur no matter what management plan or category you fill your lakes in. And at times you can participate in WDFW's public process all you want and still not get what you want or even expect the best use of the resource. Perhaps most importantly you need the local area bios keeping tabs on the lakes as best they can and adaptively manage as things change. This is the biggest reason the angler in the video was disappointed in the catch size and quality and the purpose for bringing it to the attention, hopefully by those who have the power and authority to make a change.
Good points.

One thing that I sometimes wonder is why more places don't have drop boxes for anglers to provide data. Could be really simple: how long did you fish, how many did you catch, any added comments? Could develop CPU from that and maybe see some trends, like if majority comment on diseases or skinny fish, etc.

Feedback from the public could go a long way to making managers decisions more informed.
 

Paul_

Active Member
Good points.

One thing that I sometimes wonder is why more places don't have drop boxes for anglers to provide data. Could be really simple: how long did you fish, how many did you catch, any added comments? Could develop CPU from that and maybe see some trends, like if majority comment on diseases or skinny fish, etc.

Feedback from the public could go a long way to making managers decisions more informed.
There is at least one out there. Hopefully more to come in the future.
If you fish Merrill Lake please fill out a form:).
6F2A70DE-CB96-4820-8CE8-CE939968B555.jpeg
 
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