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Old 02-06-2014, 11:26 AM
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Default newbie question - stocking / sustainability

Hi all... after throwing a few flys on a whim while out in Yellowstone I think i'm hooked.

I am based in NYC and have been trying to do some research on the local opportunities. While at one of the state facilities on Long Island last weekend I started chatting with the woman at the gate who told me that everything is catch and release, and they stock 17x a year...

It struck me that if everything is catch and release, but they stock 17x a year, there must be very high mortality....

so i'm just curious of any thoughts you folks have on why is there such high die off?

where are there self sustaining populations in the tri state area?

why is it catch and release if the fish are going to die anyway?

what charitable groups are working to improve conditions for the fish in order to move toward a sustainable population?

any any thing else that you knowledgeable folks have to contribute including primary source resources so i can do a bit of home work on my own....

thanks!
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:02 PM
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Default Re: newbie question - stocking / sustainability

Most fish species produce large numbers of eggs and young, few of which make it to maturity- high mortality rates are a component of their natural history. Hatchery fish are a little more vulnerable to high mortality, because they're generally naive when it comes to predator avoidance, prey selection, and changing environmental factors (flood, drought, etc).

Many fisheries are managed as "put and take," where fish are stocked and subsequently harvested by anglers, while others are managed as catch and release- where harvesting fish, even stocked ones, is strictly prohibited. Those management decisions are based on angler preference as well as natural variables- whether water temperatures are cool enough for trout year round, whether there's enough spawning habitat for self-sustaining populations, whether the stream is impaired by pollution or runoff, access issues, etc. Goals of the agency play a big role, too- for example the primary goal in Yellowstone is to conserve native trout species, which is why cutthroat and grayling are protected while harvest is allowed on nonnative rainbows, brookies and lake trout. In a highly urbanized area such as the eastern seaboard, management goals are often different, and usually involve providing the maximum number of fish for the maximum number of anglers.

In stocked C&R waters, the goal is often, in part, to reduce stocking. If harvest were allowed there would be even fewer fish available to anglers, requiring the agency to stock even more fish- an additional expense. C&R is a way to maximize the number of anglers who get to experience the limited number of fish a given water body can hold.

As far as charitable groups, I'd recommend checking out Trout Unlimited and the Federation of Fly Fishers. Both groups deal deal with conservation issues directly related to angling. These groups often have local chapters which allow anglers to interact, share information, and help assist with conservation projects. Other groups such as the Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, and Nature Conservancy work for the conservation of native species and ecosystems, including native sportfish. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation would be an excellent place to start learning about regional fisheries, and many state fish and game biologists are happy to answer questions and provide information about local fisheries.
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:12 PM
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Default Re: newbie question - stocking / sustainability

I am not sure about this, but I heard something about stocking just the male.
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:23 PM
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Default Re: newbie question - stocking / sustainability

interesting... it seems like just continuing to stock in an area that can't sustain a population is treating the symptoms rather than the disease...

obviously these are complex ecosystems we're talking about here and treating the disease (ie trying to develop an environment that will hold a self sustaining population) involves infinite variables, but I hope the goal is to move toward self sustaining populations rather than to just keep stocking fish that will only live for a short period of time.
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Old 02-06-2014, 12:43 PM
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Default Re: newbie question - stocking / sustainability

Quote:
Originally Posted by libuck View Post
Hi all... after throwing a few flys on a whim while out in Yellowstone I think i'm hooked.

I am based in NYC and have been trying to do some research on the local opportunities. While at one of the state facilities on Long Island last weekend I started chatting with the woman at the gate who told me that everything is catch and release, and they stock 17x a year...

It struck me that if everything is catch and release, but they stock 17x a year, there must be very high mortality....

so i'm just curious of any thoughts you folks have on why is there such high die off?
In Wisconsin we have a lot of great trout water but even here, there are some areas that are stocked. Our DNR divides out trout waters into 3 classes and it would benefit you to think of trout waters as these three types.

Class 1 is high quality trout water that has a self sustaining population that needs no stocking to support a fishery.

Class 2 has natural reproduction but not enough to sustain a fishery. So this type of water either needs a very limited season or stocking to augment a fishery. This class will allow stocked trout to "hold over" or survive until teh next season if tehy are not caught or otherwise die.

Type 3 water has no natural reproduction but the water quality and temperatures will support a fishery early in the year. Almost all the fish will eventually die but some may survive if they find either a cold spring or a cold feeder creek.

Trout stream classifications - Wisconsin DNR

Yellowstone would be class 1 water, and your stocked water seems to be a class 3 water.

The high mortality is due to the fact that stocked fish do not know how to survive in a natural environment. They crowd each other, they are inefficient feeders, and they have poor genetics because their eggs are taken from other stocked fish. They lack genetic diversity.

Wisconsin has some hatcheries that trap wild fish and take their eggs to hatch and then restock rivers. It is more expensive but these stocked fish will survive and breed because their parents were wild.

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why is it catch and release if the fish are going to die anyway?
It is expensive to raise a fish in a hatchery so you want them to last as long as possible. You need to ask yourself what is the purpose of the hatcher and the fishery? Is it to provide food or is it for recreation? If it is for food then it should be a Catch and Keep fishery. Since it is Catch and Release fishing, the purpose is for recreation.

Even if the fish will eventually die, once released most of the fish will survive to be caught again, and provide sport for the angler multiple times. If it was kept, it can be caught only once and done.

So the reason you release the fish is because it is the most cost effective method of providing fishing in water that has no natural reproduction.

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what charitable groups are working to improve conditions for the fish in order to move toward a sustainable population?
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any any thing else that you knowledgeable folks have to contribute including primary source resources so i can do a bit of home work on my own....

thanks!
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Old 02-06-2014, 01:07 PM
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Default Re: newbie question - stocking / sustainability

Just a crazy idea, but when she said it was all C&R. I wonder if she was referring to when you were visiting. Might they practice C&R in the winter and have a delayed harvest season before the heat of the summer sets in?

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Old 02-06-2014, 01:26 PM
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Default Re: newbie question - stocking / sustainability

Speak with your local game wardens and ask them who is putting boots on the ground and doing stream repair. Helping groups actually doing the work can be rewarding in multiple ways, stream environment education, meeting other fishermen and no worries about your energy or money being wasted.

Dave
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Old 02-12-2014, 11:31 PM
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Default Re: newbie question - stocking / sustainability

Gents -

thank you all for your thoughts. I have alot to learn regarding this great sport, and perhaps more importantly the ecosystems that make it possible.

I look forward to the learning process, and more importantly making the experience better for myself and others!

i will be sure to post updates as they come.

in the mean time, if anyone else has any thoughts please post away
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