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Old 10-23-2011, 11:49 AM
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Default Wisconsin's Changing Trout Population

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I have kept log books on trout fishing my area since 1975.

There was a gap from 1978-1984 “Army”

I started up again in 1984.

I have ZERO special training in trout management.

I average 130 times a year fishing for trout in those years I have log books.

In 1976 prior to going in the Army I went out 132 times and my log books say I caught 1,120 trout for the year.

In 2011 I went out 137 times and my log books say I caught 2,437 trout.

DOUBLE the trout.

I re-read my logs and did some size and stream comparison.

The BIG trout in 1976 were on average “SIX” inches longer than the big trout I caught in 2011.

My log books through the years show this quite clearly.

Is TRADING numbers for size an acceptable trade off for you?
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Old 10-23-2011, 12:22 PM
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Default Re: Wisconsin's Changing Trout Population

Maybe you become better angler
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Old 10-23-2011, 12:56 PM
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Default Re: Wisconsin's Changing Trout Population

I also caught more "BIG" trout in the 70s and 80s.
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Old 10-25-2011, 07:53 AM
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Default Re: Wisconsin's Changing Trout Population

I think more trout is indicative of better management.

I'm not sure how familiar you are with walleyes, but a big walleye in a healthy body of water is very hard to catch. They can easily eat their fill in a short time, and spend a disproportionate amount of time in "uncatchable" places as compared to smaller walleyes. Doubly so anywhere there is fishing pressure.

Maybe something similar is the case with big trout? Healthier streams with more anglers might make the BIG trout much tougher to catch. What do you think?
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:18 AM
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Default Re: Wisconsin's Changing Trout Population

i believe the streams are of better quality and the c/r movement and restrictive harvest measures have done the deed.

Next thing you know a 16 inch trout will be huge.

Not enough to eat....sizes go down.
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Old 10-25-2011, 08:39 AM
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Default Re: Wisconsin's Changing Trout Population

Are they over populated?

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Old 10-25-2011, 09:50 AM
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Default Re: Wisconsin's Changing Trout Population

Quote:
Originally Posted by littledavid123 View Post
Are they over populated?

Dave

That would be my guess.
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Old 10-25-2011, 12:48 PM
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Default Re: Wisconsin's Changing Trout Population

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Originally Posted by rockriver View Post
That would be my guess.
I disagree. In a truly stunted population, you get a ton of tiny fish the same size. If you're getting a spread of sizes, the big ones can cannibalize the little ones and become truly massive. I've fished streams with overpopulations of little fish, and it seemed that every single fish was 4-6" long.

That's just my opinion, though. I don't have years of meticulous notes to back it up .

Len, it'd be interesting to compare your notes to miles of trout water available and fishing license (trout stamp) sales over time.
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Old 10-26-2011, 01:05 PM
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Default Re: Wisconsin's Changing Trout Population

There were studies released about this...

It is believed that catch & release is actually hurting many of the populations of Trout in Wisconsin streams...

I will try and find the links, there was a lot of discussion about this on some Michigan forums as many anglers were very upset about some recent gear regulation changes being made when biologists state they will have zero positive impact on the fishery. I was simply just reading through them and seen a lot of talk about Wisconsin and whatnot, will work on finding the links and post them so you guys can see...

---------- Post added at 02:05 PM ---------- Previous post was at 02:02 PM ----------

One of them, I haven't read the entire studies, mainly just read other anglers who did read them, thoughts on the matter. I will have to find some time to look through them...

http://dnr.wi.gov/fish/documents/TCCS.pdf
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:26 PM
 
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Default Re: Wisconsin's Changing Trout Population

Your survey covers a 35 year period so I would say there must have been some change. Likely the change of an entire state's trout population cannot be reflected by what is a creel survey of a person that fishes a limited area of the state.

The best method, as you know, are stream shocking surveys that are done years over year at along the same section of a river. I would be interested on how your personal creel survey correlates with a stream shocking survey of the streams you fish. That would reveal whether your catch actually reflects the population of the stream you fish. If it did, then going forward, your future personal creel survey should give you some idea of the population in the stream.

It seems to me that, this is the relevant question. It is not the assumption that your change in creel count actually means that there has been a change. It is whether your creel count is a valid measure in the first place. By validating it against what is known to be an accurate measure of changing trout populations, you can show that it is or is not.
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