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Stocker trout


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18 replies to this topic

#1 dflanagan

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Posted 02 December 2017 - 11:56 PM

First off, sorry I don't have any pics. I very rarely have my phone ready when I'm fishing and I don't carry a camera. And sorry for the disjointed nature of this post. I have a point but I generally take the long way around to making my points.

Every year around November 1st the Missouri department of conservation stocks hatchery trout in community ponds and lakes around the state. Its a great program to give some folks who may not otherwise have the opportunity to visit one of our four trout parks and many trout streams a chance to catch rainbow trout. From November to February is really the only time of year I focus on trout. I'd like to change that because Missouri actually has a handful of streams with wild trout in them year-round and I'm close enough to world-class small stream fishing that there's really no excuse.

These stockers fight a lot harder than most of the native fish. Bass, crappie, bluegill, and others are fun to catch but nothing really beats the head shakes, death rolls, and jumps of a trout. I know every time I hook one and it jumps during the fight and bulldogs away from me when I get it close to the bank I giggle like a schoolgirl. Not much more fun to be had when the water is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.

But each time I get one in hand I wonder what I'm going to see next. Every time I'm out, which is two to three days a week, I catch five to ten fish and at least half of of them have deformities. Malformed gill plates and missing fins are the most common. These things don't seem too bother the fish but it bothers me. Why do we treat these factory farmed fish with such reverence? What makes them more noble than a native fish? Why do we go to so much trouble to protect a non-native fish? Why do we keep breeding them and putting them in places they won't survive in? And I already know there's a monetary side to the equation.

This is something that bugs me quite a bit and I'm hoping someone can help me understand why we place so much value on a a fish that has no rightful place outside of its native ecosystem.

I hope this make some sense. It's late, I've had couple drinks, and I saw more than my fair share of deformed fish today so I'm a bit perturbed.

#2 spiralspey

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 02:28 AM

It makes perfect sense to me, but I've become a bit of a wild trout snob. I'd rather not fish at all than to have to fish for malformed hatchery clones. Stocking them is one "tradition" I wish would come to an end.

#3 tjm

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 03:18 AM

About all the trout we have left in the US are stockers or descendants of stockers. Any rainbow east of the Sierras or any brown trout in America is either a stocker or an invasive. If you want to be a trout snob you must travel to Europe or the Pacific drainages.

 

As a child I asked how the fish got in the remote (6-7 hours horse back in) glacier fed lake on an Idaho mountain top and was told they were dumped from an airplane, that was rude disappointment when I had  imagined them climbing the near vertical tiny run off brook. US government started importing and stocking German trout and German carp about 1870 and soon started a rainbow stocking program, Most of the waters they put trout in were not suitable but they kept at it. The carp flourished over most of the country. 

 

As to why they are liked,  they "fight a lot harder than most of the native fish." and "nothing really beats the head shakes, death rolls, and jumps of a trout."

And of the money they generate counts too.

 

One thing about the trout is they can live in tail waters that might be unsuitable for native fish. I would gladly give up the trout if they would take out the dams that create those tail waters.

 

I haven't seen any deformities coming out of Roaring River, curios where you are seeing this and which hatchery?

Wonder if they are healed injuries?



#4 Dave G.

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 05:54 AM

They do a good job on rainbows locally, the hatchery is 2 miles from my house, the rainbows are pristine looking except for a little wear on the bottom fins from the cement tanks, but that grows back. Even better is they are pre conditioned to midge fishing because the hatchery has midges and so do the ponds. Worse than any hatchery deformity is bait fishermen ripping off half a lip and tossing the fish back in. Our brown trout are beautiful too and they survive well in the local two stage ponds. Since the stripers have come back in in the salt water well in the last few years, the ponds don't get fished as hard.

 

What I don't care for is the tiger trout program, they only do it because they are hybrid fish that grow fast, it's pure economics. I think I have a nice sized brown on and it turns out to be one of those what I call test tube fish.


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#5 Rocco

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 08:56 AM

In comparing trout to bluegils in terms of sporty fighting qualities, you can improve the latter's attraction a bit if you scale down the tackle to true UL fly gear proportional to their size.

 

A better comparison is stocked trout to natives and I have found that hands down the fresh off the truck stockers are tankers opposed to the really spirited fight of native or even holdover/'nativwe' strains. 

 

Also there were Eastern native Brookies in many waters before those waters slowed and warmed and the competition from the stocked breeds reduced them to a fringe of the sport. 

 

I can't say I have ever run into such flawed specimens of stocked trout as you have. Is there a nuke plant next to the hatchery they come from?   Thank god or I'd be knitting or chasing women again. 

 

Rocco



#6 Poopdeck

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 09:39 AM

Nothing like a good stock/native discussion to start the day. Personally I find native trout to be far easier to catch. I caught them with regularity when I was under 10 with a piece of yarn on a jig hook. Caught them so much that I view them as a beginner fish along the lines of sunnies. I don't do a lot of trout fishing but do get out to the local creek and catch a few stockers a couple times a year and hope I never reach a point where I would rather sit at home.

in PA the opening day of trout is a zoo at all the locations where they stock trout. Every year the trout snobs talk of their superiority and how they won't go out on opening day. They make fun of the baitfishermen and power bait crowd. I go out every opening day. I stopped taking my rod years ago. I go because I like watching the crowds and seeing old friends. Where some people see baitfishermen, power bait, and 2nd rate anglers I see traditions with multi generations of families enjoying a day together and lots of kids cutting their angling teeth next to a grandfather who may not walk so well anymore. The opening day of trout is like A holiday bringing families and friends together. It's really not about the fish.

I certainly understand stock trout may not be for everyone but it serves to get more anglers and children into the game.

#7 bellevue.chartreuse.trout

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 09:53 AM

"Why do we treat these factory farmed fish with such reverence? What makes them more noble than a native fish? Why do we go to so much trouble to protect a non-native fish?"

 

(pretty much what everyone else has stated )

 

1. Some may, others may not so much put such high regard or reverence to stocked fish.

 

2. I think the thinking of #1 applies here too in some way - Not sure everyone thinks them as noble fish - not the stocked at least.

 

3. Many places would not have trout - if it were not for being stocked. I can understand why some would want to support this effort. I am not saying that I would but, if your only opportunity was to fish a stocked fish - some people would take that as the best they could experience.

 

I am glad I am not in that camp (but I do fish a 'stocked' water and enjoy it on occasion) - but I will respect or at least tolerate those that want to experience that sort of day.

 

As to the deformities, I'd think the hatchery would be able to answer why they are supplying such fish. If not them, the area biologist may be able to address that.

 

BCT

 

edit addition - Good 2nd paragraph by Poopdeck - I remember liking to 'people-watch' on opening days!



#8 mikechell

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 10:00 AM

I've only caught Rainbows and Browns once.  Many years ago in Wyoming, with my Dad.  I did have one Rainbow and one Brown on the hook a couple years ago in California.

 

I don't agree with the assessment that they are any better a fighter than any other fresh water fish.  I won't insult anyone by saying there are fish that are better than trout.  I do have a friend who selectively goes after Crappie, because he feels they are the only fish worth catching.

 

My location ... we don't have trout of any kind.  But I've always felt that stocking fish for repopulating reclaimed waters is a great endeavor, worthy of every license fee I've ever payed.    

 

But stocking fish in places they can't survive ... makes absolutely no sense. 

It causes all of Poopdeck's "traditions with multi generations of families enjoying a day together and lots of kids cutting their angling teeth next to a grandfather" to buy licenses they wouldn't otherwise buy.  So, I guess it's a money generating tool.  


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#9 fishinguy

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 10:34 AM

In PA,I see the trout stocking program as primarily a money maker for the fish commission. A good portion buy their license right before opening day and maybe fish a handful of times the rest of the year. If it wasn't for those fish in a barrel opportunities, they likely wouldn't buy a license at all. Where I am, they stock most places only in the spring. A select few waters (places with easy, though not often safe for long periods of time, ice fishing access. And some "artificial lure only" streams.) are stocked in the fall as well. Though I doubt it is intentional, a big plus of the trout stocking is that it takes away allot of the pressure on the local native non-stocked fish. Small mouth, walleye, and Pike go largely undisturbed for a couple months once the buckets are dumped.

#10 Jaydub

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 10:35 AM

This seems to be a regional. Here in the PNW, where we have wild native trout available, I would not say stockers are treated with reverence. Quite the opposite. I also find that wild native trout are harder to catch and fight harder than stocked trout.

 

Why have stocked trout? In isolated waters, they provide trout that can be kept for dinner. They are a good way to introduce kids to fishing. They provide recreation for the masses without putting undue pressure on wild trout fisheries.



#11 tjm

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 10:55 AM

Eastern brook trout are char not trout, easy caught and almost extirpated by the stocking programs, although in many places the destruction of water quality did get them first, they don't grow as fast as trout and trout not only compete with them they eat them.

 

Rainbows and browns in Wyoming would be part of some stocking program.

 

Opening Day for any season is all about the money generated by the tradition of hunting or fishing on Opening Day, had that explained to me by a Rhode Island official about 1975 when I questioned the close of trout season for only twenty days or so. A Ma. warden confirmed that yes, that was the theory. In waters where trout don't reproduce there is literally no other reason to close the season except to generate interest in Opening Day. In those states at that time it was like a circus with thousands competing for fresh stocked fish and always a clique of hard core trout killers drinking coffee and watching it for the entertainment value.

 

Think invasive trout rather than "Native", no different than common carp. Both brought to you by the US Fish Commission. They even brought over German fish managers to get those programs started. Carp may be a better fighter by sheer size and are probably a greater challenge to catch. Carp are meat eating fish.

 

Rainbows are beautiful fish and right now are in full color. They are easy to catch by comparison to many native fish so almost anyone can catch one, this makes them popular. They are very invasive and adaptable acclimatizing quickly to new waters, this make them a practical stocking fish.  They even reproduce in many places where they are stocked making them a cheap to maintain stocker.

 

The hybrid fish are no more foreign to Pa than the invasive rainbow or browns, They grow faster giving more opportunity for more people to catch bigger fish, bigger is better; after all this is America. I doubt there are or ever were any "Native Trout" in Pa. Though the char (lake trout, brook trout, etc,) were likely native in certain parts of the state. 

 

Trout do come nicely to the surface to sip our presentations and perform acrobatics for our entertainment more than many other fish. It is very hard to see what a fight a rock bass makes down there in the dark and they don't often interact with us at the surface. As mentioned above most truly native  fishes are caught on tackle much to heavy to appreciate the fight they make. I suspect that ounce for ounce many of the sunfish fight as hard as trout if we could see what they do  and measure the force with which they pull.



#12 tjm

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 11:20 AM

Growing up in Idaho, living a long time on the east coast and now in the Ozarks and having fished for "trout" about sixty years, I have (to the best of my knowledge) never taken a wild native trout. I have taken native brookies, Dolly Varden, bull trout; but they are all char. I took some cutthroats in Idaho that might have been native, but was told they likely came as a previous stocking program, I have taken many wild hold overs or possibly invasive rainbows and browns. 

 

If the stocking is sparse in a small stream with gin clear water and a few predators,  rainbow trout will be completely "wild" within a week. I fished such a place yesterday, any shadow caused panic in trout that had only been there since Tuesday. On the other hand the trout on Idaho mountain tops came to the bait like fishing a hatchery pool.

Most put and take fisheries are hugely over stocked resulting in hungry fish that are very easily caught, so people think that stocked trout are somehow different than "wild" trout. They are just competing viciously for any thing that resembles food.

 

Jaydub, very regional; all of USA except the PNW.



#13 hankinsfly

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 02:06 PM

Ah, this discussion just in time for trout camp! Camping and fishing to rainbows and browns for 5 days this week in southeast OK. In Oklahoma you have winter time put and take fisheries, where the trout will not survive past April. Stocking ends in March. Then you have our two year-round tail water fisheries, which produce cold water from the bottom of deep lakes for hydroelectric power. I won't get into the extremely poor mismanagement of these streams here- different topic. But these fisheries are making the most of an unfortunate but necessary thing- electricity for our homes! That water is cold and ruined what used to be prime native smallmouth bass water. I think it is a good thing to create trout streams here, because otherwise you would be fishing for redhorse and suckers, and the odd smallie. I've rolled this whole stocker/wild/native/invasive fish topic over in my head so many times... but all I need to know is that I like catching stocked trout. Plain and simple. As said previously, most trout in America come from stocking at some point, so don't fool yourself when you think your Rocky Mountain browns and rainbows are really any different than an Ozark brown! The only difference is that the Rockies are way bigger and prettier than the Ozarks! (I do love the Ozarks, the Ouachitas, and the Kiamichis, but the Rockies and the bomb). When I need to get all snobbish about my gamefish, I take to the Eastern Oklahoma hills and chase wild/native/awesome Ozark and Kiamichi stream smallmouth bass. Also, I'm pretty sure Snake River cutts are all native/wild, and looking forward to going to WY this year. Without a doubt, those golden football Snake cutts are awesome fish as well. It's all about perspective, ya know? To each his own. And I do have a killer bass pond, which was stocked at some point... but who cares? They sure smash on a home-made popper like nobody's business.

#14 Philly

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 02:30 PM

Most of the streams here in SE PA are stocked.  I can't remember seeing the type of deformities that you describe on any stocked fish I've caught.  Even the one wild trout stream I'm familiar with the trout are descendants of stocked trout.   The state stopped stocking trout because of PCB contamination in the mid-80's and 30 years later it has a healthy population of brown trout.  I seldom go trout fishing on opening day if I do it will be to the wild trout stream which is catch and release because of the PCBs.  It's almost impossible to find a parking place to even watch the show on my "home" creek, but a couple weeks after the opening day anglers are convinced the creek is fished out and it's easy to find a spot to fish if I want to.  Here's a couple of pictures of stocked trout I've caught.


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#15 SilverCreek

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Posted 03 December 2017 - 02:52 PM

First off, sorry I don't have any pics. I very rarely have my phone ready when I'm fishing and I don't carry a camera. And sorry for the disjointed nature of this post. I have a point but I generally take the long way around to making my points.

Every year around November 1st the Missouri department of conservation stocks hatchery trout in community ponds and lakes around the state. Its a great program to give some folks who may not otherwise have the opportunity to visit one of our four trout parks and many trout streams a chance to catch rainbow trout. From November to February is really the only time of year I focus on trout. I'd like to change that because Missouri actually has a handful of streams with wild trout in them year-round and I'm close enough to world-class small stream fishing that there's really no excuse.

These stockers fight a lot harder than most of the native fish. Bass, crappie, bluegill, and others are fun to catch but nothing really beats the head shakes, death rolls, and jumps of a trout. I know every time I hook one and it jumps during the fight and bulldogs away from me when I get it close to the bank I giggle like a schoolgirl. Not much more fun to be had when the water is cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey.

But each time I get one in hand I wonder what I'm going to see next. Every time I'm out, which is two to three days a week, I catch five to ten fish and at least half of of them have deformities. Malformed gill plates and missing fins are the most common. These things don't seem too bother the fish but it bothers me. Why do we treat these factory farmed fish with such reverence? What makes them more noble than a native fish? Why do we go to so much trouble to protect a non-native fish? [b]Why do we keep breeding them and putting them in places they won't survive in? And I already know there's a monetary side to the equation.[/b[

This is something that bugs me quite a bit and I'm hoping someone can help me understand why we place so much value on a a fish that has no rightful place outside of its native ecosystem.

I hope this make some sense. It's late, I've had couple drinks, and I saw more than my fair share of deformed fish today so I'm a bit perturbed.

 

You've answered your own question. Because trout won't survive in these places year round, stocking provides fishers an opportunity to catch trout when they would not have that opportunity otherwise. This is the best use of hatcheries and stocking.

 

As for deformities, missing gill plates as far as I know are not due to hatchery rearing, I suspect they are due to hook injuries. As for missing portions of fins, there can be abrasion of the lower parts of the tail or pectoral, pelvic or anal fin due to abrasion on the concrete raceways. there can also be fin clipping to identify the stoked trout and where they came from. Sometime the adipose fin is entirely missing due to being clipped for identification.

 

For a balanced discussion fo trout hatcheries from the perspective of steelhead, and how we can use hatcheries more efficiently without hurting native populations listen to this podcast featuring John McMillan PhD, Wildlife biologist, who heads up the TU wild steelhead project.

 

https://www.acast.co...haviour-part-2-


Regards,

Silver

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