Re: Stocked Wild Or Somewhere in Between?
Great thread, glad it was revitalized. Most of my fishing is done in the high country (6K to 11K) of Colorado and Wyoming. But I don't think I've ever caught a truly "native" fish. I even catch a lot of greenback cutthroats (a native to the state) but where I catch them are areas where they've been introduced and are now self sustaining.
As far as I'm concerned the best trout fishing in the world is in the Wind River Range of Wyoming. But prior to the 1930's the range only had a handful of lakes that held native cutts. Then a guy named Finis Mitchell lost his job during the Great Depression and started up a fishing and camping guide service in the Big Sandy Openings in the southern part of the range. Within a decade he (with the help of the state F&G) was responsible for the stocking of over 500 high lakes in the Winds, including the finest golden trout fisheries in the world. There are few fisheries in the Winds that are still stocked, and the trout have held up remarkably well by themselves.
My favorite backcountry area of Colorado is the Flat Tops. I talked to a DOW guy there who said they've given up stocking the backcountry 20 years ago due to their budget. But there are many lakes and small streams that still support healthy populations of cutts and brookies.
Even though I catch no "natives," it is nice to cradle trout in your hands at 10000 feet that haven't been influenced by man in eighty years. And I also love getting to easily caught trout from a few put-n-take reservoirs around Colorado. And I also fish places like South Boulder Creek and the South Platte that are regularly stocked.
My stats would be about:
70% self sustaining