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Old 12-02-2013, 02:19 PM
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Default Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?

The Colorado DOW has been stocking salmon flies on the Arkansas River recently. It is not yet clear if this bug population can be re-established in the Arkansas now that the mining pollution is abating.
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Old 12-02-2013, 02:44 PM
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Default Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?

I understand where you're coming from, and yes- habitat alterations such as dams and tailwaters generally reduce the foodweb in those new ecosystems. And in theory you're correct- adding new organisms could increase the prey base...but it could also wreck what you already have. Alewife were introduced in mid-south reservoirs as forage for walleye and striped bass, and through predation on and competition with juvenile sportfish, led to declines of walleye and white bass. Opossum shrimp have been stocked in many western reservoirs to boost growth of kokanee, and have had negative consequences on those food webs. We don't always know the impact a species will have when introduced outside its native habitat- it may benefit sport fisheries, it may not.


The sheer logistics would be a nightmare, too. To introduce a new species you'd need to collect thousands of individuals- conservation managers consider 10,000 invertebrates the minimum population size for genetic stability, so that's the ballpark we're talking. Collecting that many adults would be tough- you'd have to time your effort to the emergence, collect adequate numbers of both males and females, move them quickly, and hope the birds don't get them all.

I'm not sure nymphs or larvae would be any easier. Most big species- drakes, salmonflies and the like...they're juvenile aren't particularly dense, and getting 10,000 of them could be a challenge. Smaller species such as sulphurs, Hendricksons and tricos would be easier, at least on the front end.

But then...you have to ID them, to ensure you're only introducing species X, and that species Y or Z is not tagging along. Many mayfly, caddis, and stonefly species are identifiable by specialists...that means you have to take them back to a lab and have a trained individual examine gills and other structures under a microscope, ten thousand times, while keeping the animal alive. Even if a research lab was able to dedicate 2-3 people solely to the task it'd likely take weeks...and your ears will be burning the entire time


It isn't impossible, but by no means is it a cakewalk...it'd be an enormous investment in time, labor, and money...with no guarantee of benefiting the resource, and a very real possibility of damaging the resource. I'd imagine that's why many sporting groups and management agencies shy away from such ventures.
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Old 12-02-2013, 06:34 PM
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Default Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?

After a major flood, here in Oklahoma , that is what the Lower mountain river foundation did. I took an entomology class a couple years ago and the teacher told me about this. He is a member of the LMFRF plus a guide there. They replaced bugs that they knew were there before the flood.
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Old 12-02-2013, 10:33 PM
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Default Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?

This was done in England to streams where the insects had declined over the years, due to agriculture. As I recall it was described as something not terribly difficult, growing the nymphs (I think) on sheets of glass spaced close together, in tanks of circulating water, then transplanting them into the river. Evidently it was successful.

Here is a link to the article:
B.W.O supplementation programme | Frome, Piddle & West Dorset Fisheries Association
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Old 12-03-2013, 12:18 AM
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Default Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?

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Originally Posted by throssing View Post
The Colorado DOW has been stocking salmon flies on the Arkansas River recently. It is not yet clear if this bug population can be re-established in the Arkansas now that the mining pollution is abating.
And the river has fished awesome! Seen a fair amount of them this year and the fish seem very interested...

Randy
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:26 PM
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Default Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?

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Originally Posted by throssing View Post
The Colorado DOW has been stocking salmon flies on the Arkansas River recently. It is not yet clear if this bug population can be re-established in the Arkansas now that the mining pollution is abating.
Really? So was there once a good hatch of salmonflies in the river? Or is Colorado just over-managing the resource again to create a "better" fishing experience and more business? As if the Arkansas River needs it.

******************

Well a quick google answered my question. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife's "Upper Arkansas River Management Implications" states that is has long been "suggested to introduce a large forage item into the Arkansas River biota to boost trout growth and fitness." They decided the pteronarcys californica best fit the bill ... which I reckon is better than some foreign shrimp or such thing. But I find this messing with the ecology of a river for simple human pleasure gain a slippery slope.

It's on page 6.
http://goo.gl/QQnjwE
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:36 PM
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Default Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?

My thoughts are pretty simple: No stocking of bugs. Improve the habitats on river sheds that need it and let Mother Nature provide the bugs herself. Cherish/preserve/protect the ones that already have the good habitats.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?

There's a phenomenon called behavioral drift where nymphs and larva will launch themselves into the current en-mass primarily to find a less populated habitat. .
Down stream areas will eventually become populated by bugs drifting down from the head waters.
Of course the bugs can only prosper if they end up in the proper ecosystem.
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Old 12-03-2013, 03:38 PM
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Default Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?

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Originally Posted by Rip Tide View Post
There's a phenomenon called behavioral drift where nymphs and larva will launch themselves into the current en-mass primarily to find a less populated habitat. .
Down stream areas will eventually become populated by bugs drifting down from the head waters.
Of course the bugs can only prosper if they end up in the proper ecosystem.
Further, I've read some entomologists believe this drift occurs daily. So if you can figure out when it happens on your local stream, and you are not averse to dead drifting nymphs, well ...
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:46 PM
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Default Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?

Many relevant points have been made here already but I want to go on record with a provocative remark I like to make among fisheries types; "I'm in favor of stocking", I proclaim...then shocked silence and gasps of disbelief..."mayflies."

Some great tail waters, rich in nutrients, aquatic vegetation and hosting big, wild reproducing trout, have great but limited hatches. My beloved Missouri River near Craig, Montana has excellent habit for Ephemeralla species and has a fecund emergence of PMD's (E. infrequens and E. inermis). These insects no doubt drifted in and colonized the River from minor trout stream tributaries after the dams had been constructed, converting the Missouri from a warmer and muddier river to clear and cold. Evidently, rivers like the Dearborn and Prickly Pear host these native insects but lack the habitat for some other related species. Being an old Henry's Fork regular, it would thrill me no end to have Western Green Drakes (E. grandis) and Flavs (E. flavalina) STOCKED into the Missouri. OK, I am not a biologist, I just make believe I am one on this Forum. My idea has not made Montana FW&P jump up and down with enthusiasm and I surely appreciate the logistical issues...but this is a case where I see little risk in trying and potentially expanding mayfly emergences and diversity to the benefit of trout and angler alike. As it is, Brown Drakes ( Ephemera simulans) have colonized the Missouri downstream near the town of Cascade, possibly from the Sun River, and are working their way upstream each season.

I believe native mayfly stocking can be done and should be done under strict professional supervision and is a worthwhile, albeit complex, mission for some specific carefully researched habitats.
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