Thread: odd question
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Old 03-02-2009, 09:39 PM
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Default Re: odd question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildcat4040 View Post
Who is it that determines what waters gets stocked and what are their goals for stocking them (mainly I'm talking about trout)
Thanks
The state DNR will determine that- with input from individual citizens, groups like Trout Unlimited, sportsmen's, enviro groups... and chambers of commerce/local business groups. They'll usually open to receiving input from the public, but have to balance many different points of view and try and manage to the best interests of the resource. It's hard to please everyone, so they'll usually end up taking a lot of heat from somebody regardless of which way they decide.

At least around here, there are a lot of water where access to spawning grounds, or high temps, or fishing pressure makes it unlikely that trout will hold over from year to year, or be able to reproduce.

There are some excellent fisheries that depend heavily on stocking- the Great Lakes salmon and steelhead fishery, many tailwaters and impoundments, and we even have some in urban areas where trout are stocked in the spring and fall where people are encouraged to keep fish because high water temps in the summer will kill them anyway. In addition to encouraging kids and others to get interested in the outdoors, it also can be a big boon to local economies-- some incredible fishing on the Salmon River in NY draws loads of fisherman spending bucks on motels, restaurants etc etc in a basically economically depressed area.

But there are some streams designated as 'wild" where stocking isn't done and catch and release is either required or encouraged to protect naturally reproducing populations. These streams typically have good spawning areas, and stocking is discouraged to protect the genetic strain of those fish so they aren't diluted by genes from hatchery fish. And in some cases native populations can get pushed aside by introduced non-native fish that have been stocked. That has happened a lot to Brook trout here in the East and to cutthroats out west after introduction of rainbows and browns etc. Stocked fish can also be a source of disease that can spread to different watersheds very quickly if diseased fish are introduced. We recently had a problem in a hatchery here in NY, that was spread to a lot of different watersheds through stocking, and one not far from me is shutting down for at least 5 years to ensue adequate decontamination.

It can lead to pretty animated discussions about "native" fish (that occurred naturally in specific regions like brook trout east of the rockies and rainbows and cuts west of the rockies) vs "wild fish" (brown trout, originally from Europe, and rainbows originally from the west but introduced in eastern waters that have established populations from natural spawning), vs "stocked" fish. It leads to some interesting questions like whether wild nonnative brown and rainbow trout should be deliberately poisoned for a stocked native brook trout reintroduced into waters where it originally occurred. This has been a controversy in the Adirondacks where hatchery "heritage strain" brook trout have been reintroduced (by airdrop) into remote ponds.

Mark
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