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-   -   A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs? (http://www.theflyfishingforum.com/forums/coldwater-fly-fishing/338855-step-further-what-if-we-stocked-bugs.html)

only adipose 12-01-2013 08:11 PM

A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?
 
My home water is a small but dynamic tail-water that has an excellent population of wild brown trout and a FEW really nice hatches. Where I live, I am pretty lucky to have such great water so close, but the vast majority of fish are pretty small. I often find myself wishing they were just a little bigger (I imagine a lot of us do this).

This tail-water was created in my lifetime, stocked, and established a wild population of browns. SO we created a exotic environment, stocked it with an exotic species of fish.... Why not go one step further and stock it with the insects?

Has anyone ever heard of the idea of stocking insects? I mean why not?

I think about possible problems of invasives, carrying capacity, etc, etc and think we have done so much already why not?

Thoughts?

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-z6PCQAKTGd...2013+001qq.jpg

ia_trouter 12-01-2013 08:44 PM

Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?
 
Interesting idea. I'm surely not going to tell you anything you haven't already considered. The life cycle of most insects is so incredibly short. It would be very hard to manage, and the overall impact on an ecosystem would be very unpredictable. Aquatic borne insects reach epidemic levels in many parts of the country when the conditions are right in any given season. Interesting concept though. We use food plots to encourage game birds in my part of the country. But this involves planting native species that are generally proven not to be invasive.

siege 12-01-2013 09:10 PM

Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?
 
As your created fishery matures, the fishing will likely improve, but it could take decades. The waterway itself will continue to develop it's own flora, the banks will develop their plant life, and bugs may follow suit.
It's an interesting proposition, but the logistics of " seeding " insects would be horrendous. Air temperature needed for a hatch, gathering bugs, disbursing them on the stream, etc. Just the fraility of the insects would be a challenge. You might consider consulting your local county agriculture agent, or maybe someone at Trout Unlimited with experience in this area.
On the other hand, imagine how popular a program like this would be, all over the world. Even on this forum we see lakes that are famous for the fat fish they produce. Doing that artificially would be amazing. Keep us posted on your findings.

scorpion1971 12-01-2013 09:40 PM

Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?
 
This is already being done in farming. Some with adverse effects. I am not sure if stocking trout is good or bad. You never can tell what will happen when you introduce non native species. Look at Maryland with the snakehead problem. Or better yet, look at the asian carp problem.

williamhj 12-02-2013 12:48 AM

Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?
 
A few thoughts:

- Stocking insects that give you the hatches you want might not lead to reproducing insects since they may not be suited for the tailwater and unlike trout which can grow in a stream for years even if they don't reproduce, insects don't live as long. If an insect wouldn't reproduce in a stream, how many would you need to stock to make a difference?

- If the browns have been able to establish I'd guess it is a fairly healthy stream and should support good insect populations. Insects can travel in ways trout can't. If the system is good and surrounding rivers and streams have the bugs they'll find their way and if it is a good fit for them should establish. I bet they are there though the bugs and their hatches might not match those on non-tailwaters. At least here in Colorado tailwaters are often tiny fly fisheries. Not sure if it is regional or a result of the artificial climate of the stream - warmer in the winter and colder in the summer than surrounding waters.

- A great way to feed a tailwater fishery is to feed the reservoir. A lot of food gets washed out of the reservoir and into the tailwater below fattening fish on food that wouldn't grow in the stream itself. Mysis shrimp and the Frying Pan are a great example of this.

These are my non-scientific thoughts.

pszy22 12-02-2013 05:22 AM

Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?
 
Many species of bugs have evolved to be very efficient at being able to exploit very specific micro niches, at the expense of not being able to survive in places that are less than optimal. Things like water chemistry, current velocity, temperature, substrate, fauna and flora which provide a source of food, etc, etc. So in many cases, unless the environment is pretty much ideal, the bugs probably won't thrive. In the places that conditions are ideal, they are probably already there.

It would seem like the other problem is one of logistics, as was previously mentioned. Where are you going to get the bugs to plant in sufficient number to have any impact? Would you set up a "hatchery"? Go out and collect wild eggs? One might be able to capture adults on the wing, and transport them about.

It would be interesting to formulate the equivalent of Purina Trout Chow to be able to farm raise bugs for planting, something along the lines of Purina Hex Chow.

Rip Tide 12-02-2013 08:30 AM

Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?
 
I was going to say something about how you can't "stock" eco-system or water quality, but do remember reading about how some Pennsylvania streams (or was it W.Virgina ?) have had their PH adjusted with the addition of lime.

Acidic waters are pretty common due to mining, acid rain, or just local geology and I'd bet if you did a PH test on you're local tailwater you'd find this may be the case.
I'd say that there's a better than even chance that this is a matter of the water quality being less than ideal for insect life.

silver creek 12-02-2013 10:20 AM

Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Rip Tide (Post 616364)
I was going to say something about how you can't "stock" eco-system or water quality, but do remember reading about how some Pennsylvania streams (or was it W.Virgina ?) have had their PH adjusted with the addition of lime.

Acidic waters are pretty common due to mining, acid rain, or just local geology and I'd bet if you did a PH test on you're local tailwater you'd find this may be the case.

I'd say that there's a better than even chance that this is a matter of the water quality being less than ideal for insect life.

Exactly! The problem is underlying fertility of the watershed.

The reason the tailwater fisheries and spring creeks have fantastic fisheries is that the water is alkaline and has a relatively high calcium and mineral content that is necessary to support aquatic insects. The insects then support the fishery.

Trying to "plant" insects is akin to the parable of the Sower in Luke 8:6 "Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture."

king joe 12-02-2013 10:52 AM

Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?
 
Ok....so...'bug stocking' as mentioned here....will not work for a myriad of reason, some of which have been already listed here.

Augmenting the food chain....does work, however and has been done on oligotrophic waters (sterile) in Northern BC with great success.

A quick Biology 101 session....food chain, visualized as a pyramid....has at its base, the widest point....primary production. Second level is secondary production which now also includes things that use the resouces created in primary production. 3rd level...uses resources of the previous 2 and so on and so forth....all the way up to the point of the triangle at which sits the top predator(s). Primary production, in this simplified model...are plants....and are the limiting feature in a food chain. I know, it seems counter...I mean, its the widest part of a triangle, how can it be limiting right?

In fisheries and/or wildlife management, this limiting factor is called 'carrying capacity'. Effectively, species using their habitat resources will have their populations effectively oscilate aound the capacity...the number of resources available. IF by some means, you could ADD resources in a sustainable way....effectively making more available, you have 'raised' the carrying capacity of this system making it able to support more individuals.

yada yada yada and so forth. Many more things going on here...but I think you get where I am going with this.

So...augmenting food chain dynamics means affecting positively, the primary production of 'that' system. For oligotrphic systems....nutrients (typically Phosphorus and Nitrogen...the basis of simple fertilzer mixes) needed to support plant growth are limited so by simply adding 'nutrients' to a system....the building blocks are there and plant growth is augmented. In this, homes for...yep....bugs....which use the plants for homes and for food....and all the things that eat bugs...benefit likewise. In this, you have NOT changed the species composition...the naturally evolved and occuring species but have affected the carrying capacity of the system that supports those natural species.

In systems I have worked in...we have done this in different ways. For Lotic (lakes) systems...usually impoundments behind dams, christmas tress....literally christmas trees were meshed together and sunk in the impoundment. Another variation...was to impregnate concrete blocks with fertilizer and again, concrete block shoals created in impoundments. Sometimes, a combination of trees and blocks was used. In these methods, homes/habitat and food for plants are created.

In lentic (flowing) systems, we have used fertilizer drips. In this system, the flow dictates (back eddies, calm runs, pools, etc...places of low energy) the collection of nutrients and the best likely site for colonization of plants followed by bugs and things that eat bugs).

So in both cases....as the trees break down....or the fertilizer in the blocks breaks down and is released, it becomes available as nutrients...or fertilizer drip accumulates and settles into the sediment of a calm back eddy...it all becomes available for plants to use in their colonization. IN this, they then 'bind' the nutrients to the system and hold them while still gathering more from the system as part of their lives . In their deaths, they too break down and are in turn taken up (this process is called "bio-accumulation", by the way). A win-win for systems with limited primary production.

Big point here....bio-introductions are typically not good ideas and typically result in some imbalance. Managing for existing conditions and enhancing those systems...typically have better outcomes.

Whew....where'd all that come from? And thus concludes my savant moment....HAH.

King Joe Outa Here!

plecain 12-02-2013 11:01 AM

Re: A Step Further.. What if we stocked Bugs?
 
This year, the bugs in my part of the country would support trout that could add a pound a month, each.

I have never seen so many bugs. Many of them viewed me as prey. No amount of Deep Woods OFF seemed to dissuade them.

I finally resorted to using mosquito netting around me. I hate it, but it works.


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