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Sky Hiker
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Joined: 03 Feb 2007
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Sky Hiker
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PostThu Oct 12, 2017 11:32 am 
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Wow SS you sound kind of partial to planting Brown Trout in places like Rock Lake. What does the WDFW think about Brown trout being planted?
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SingleShot
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SingleShot
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PostFri Oct 13, 2017 12:21 pm 
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Brown trout were stocked in Rock because it had a stunted population of EB,s and it had a previous history of brown stocking. The agreement WDFW has with federal agencies allows for previous history stocking on USFS land. A SEPA (State Environmental Policy Act) is required for an introduction of a new fish species into state waters. This SEPA is published and other state, federal agencies, or organizations, can inquire about possible harmful actions of the introduction. The ESA has magnified potential downstream problems with browns. Under Section 7, the concern is these fish, through competition, potential spawning, will harm ESA listed fish and slow their recovery.

In 2009, I made a proposal to use tiger trout in Merritt Lake, Chelan County to prey on stunted brook trout. These fish are a sterile cross between brown trout and brook trout. The limit on trout, in this lake, had been raised to 16 fish years before in an attempt to deal with the stunting problem. The Wenatchee National Forest Fish Supervisor, the Yakima Nation, and the local state Wildlife Commissioner all supported the plan. Icicle Outfitters offered to take the fish in by horseback. We did a population survey, took otoliths for aging, and wrote the SEPA for the agency. Everything looked good. Here is the story

The following spring, after the WDFW Regional bio (Ephrata) had the Section 7 talks with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife, I received a call from the boss man in Olympia. He said he was sorry but the project couldn't go forward. The USFWS raised concerns about downstream issues and the WDFW was concerned they might lose some funding if they planted browns, or tiger trout, in lakes that had outlets to bull trout waters. I said I was disappointed but I asked if he knew that Fish Lake, a few miles from Lake Wenatchee, had been planted with 30,000 brown fingerlings 2 weeks previously? I added, the outlet drains to the Wenatchee River where you are tracking tagged bull trout! What I got was an "Oh S--T reply. He hadn't realized the Regional bio had his own ideas about browns.

The WDFW is still stocking browns, and tiger trout, in waters that drain to bull trout habitat. They leave it to the discretion of the local bios.

Currently, we are proposing a new apex predator for stunted lakes. One that is native and is already downstream.

--------------
WDFW Volunteer Award recipient
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Jim Mighell
Fish Rsrch Biologist



Joined: 26 Oct 2011
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Jim Mighell
Fish Rsrch Biologist
PostFri Oct 13, 2017 1:38 pm 
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Just a mention of explosives:  Back in the 50's, California used explosives very effectively, and can be useful for controlling excessive populations, thus, leaving fewer to use the available food, and grow to more exciting sizes.
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Forum Index > Stewardship > Stunted Trout in Alpine Lakes
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