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Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish

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2009/5/7 14:38
From Collegeville, PA
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Some people believe that stocking trout over stream born trout is bad because it deminishes the stream born trout population. The theory behind this belief is that stream born trout can't compete for food with the stocked trout.

My question is, would stocking fingerling trout rather than adult trout lessen the impact on the stream born fish?

I know that not stocking over any wild trout is the ideal solution. But, that is never going to happen. I think that stocking fingerlings, especially ones that are the same variety as the wild fish, would have less of an impact because of there smaller size. Since they would be spending most of there life in the stream, they probably wouldn't grow any larger than the stream born trout would. Also, there behavior would be very close to that of the wild fish.

TYoung

Posted on: 2009/6/10 19:29


Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish

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It's not a bad idea, but the negative I see is then there will be more harvest of wild fish than "normal" 12" stockers.

Also, most fishermen want instant gradification, so having to wait 2 years for the fish to "grow up" would be too long for them.

Going with you, I think it would benefit more streams. Take the little J for example.

I think the Kish does okay too, but they should stock fingerling browns and not bows. Plus most of the fingerling bows have a schooling mentality and get gobbled up by herons. That's also because they stock them in the slowest shallowest part of the creek.

Posted on: 2009/6/10 20:32
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Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish

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Bad idea but better than what we do now.

Quote:
Some people believe that stocking trout over stream born trout is bad because it deminishes the stream born trout population. The theory behind this belief is that stream born trout can't compete for food with the stocked trout.


Yes what you say here is very true but it also isnt that simple. There is a stream capacity of fish. It is figured by the amount of food available for the amount of fish in the stream. Lets say we stock a stream full of fingerling brown trout over wild brown trout. The bugs, shrimp, crustaceans and baitfish in this said stream are all the available food source. This amount of food in this stream can support approx. 100 fish. Well there were 75 wild browns but we placed 700 fingerling browns in the stream. 675 fish will die. Granted most fingerling stockings are unsuccessful. The reasons are always different. But there is amount of the stocked fish that will die in the first few days, then weeks, then months and then years....the questions is will the wild trout be able to compete with them and survive?

Quote:
Also, there behavior would be very close to that of the wild fish.


The answer is still NO.

The reason is that behavior of stocked adults and stocked fingerlings is different than that of a wild trout. While it is worse in adults, stocked trout will fight and fight and fight for food with each other. They will fight for lies and sometimes i think just fight for fightings sake. Wild fish will fight but not for very long. They have realized that fighting only wastes energy and takes away from feeding time. They will be pushed to inferior lies just like the adult stocked fish would do to them and become even less nourished. Look......even fingerling Lions will still bite you

Quote:
Since they would be spending most of there life in the stream, they probably wouldn't grow any larger than the stream born trout would.


Going back to the streams carrying capacity of fish and food available. Picture this: 3 BWO's floating down stream....10 fingerlings in a pool and 2 wild browns. What are the chances those wild fish will get the food? 1 in 5? Plus the amount of energy wasted in fighting for the food will only hurt them. They will also grow faster. It is in their genetics to grow faster. Especially in a stream with more food like a limestone spring creek.

Bottomline:

I agree that on SOME streams this is worth looking into. Especially the thought of stocking the same species together. Try to remember that blanket regs, blanket stockings and blanket management is NOT what PA needs. PA needs a case by case, stream by stream basis to figure out what is best. But i can assure you....stocking anything over what is already there is ALMOST NEVER a good idea.

Posted on: 2009/6/10 21:22
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Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish
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Here's my take:

A stream with a healthy wild trout population does not need to be stocked to provide a recreational fishery. A stream that cannot sustain a sufficient recreational level of wild trout may be stocked to create such a fishery where a need for such is perceived.

There are waters that have plenty of food, but poor habitat and spawning conditions, so that the wild trout population is depressed, despite sufficient food to support more trout. These are the types of waters that supplemental stockings can help. In these cases, once that decision has been made, it really doesn't matter whether the planted fish are adults or fingerlings as far as the wild fish are concerned. Just as an example/estimate, in order to achieve a recreational level of fish, probably 10 fingerlings must be stocked to 1 adult in order to create the type of fishery that would satisfy angler desires. Those 10 fingerlings will have the same impact as the one adult, so it is a wash in terms of impact.

There are two factors that favor fingerlings in these situations: first, the cost is lower because the PFBC doesn't need to grow the trout in a hatchery for quite so long, and second, fingerlings that survive are adapted better to the environment and have a better chance of holding over from year to year. If it turns out that fingerlings are not holding over in such a case, then they are not providing the desired boost to the "catchable" fish population and adult plantings would be more desirable.

The PFBC does recognize that some weak wild trout populations are worth maintaining as such without supplementation. You can see in the Wilderness Trout Stream list many such waters. However, the utilization of such waters by the angling public is not strong.

I do not agree that there is anything qualitatively inferior about planted trout, whether adults or fingerlings, such as sal suggests. I suspect that for a short period of time, perhaps two or three months, the hatchery raised trout will exhibit behaviors that streambred trout will not, such as expenditure of energy in feeding or competing for abode that is out of proportion with the advantages gained thereby. However, in stupid creatures like fish, instinctual behavior is more important than learned behavior and within a short time, they will revert to a wild mentality if they don't commit involuntary suicide in the meantime.

Posted on: 2009/6/11 6:59
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Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish

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Stocking over wild trout does hurt wild trout.

These reasons, not necessarily in this order:
1. Introduction of disease.
2. Timing of stocking is when wild trout are recovering from winter lethargy and energy depletion from spawning.
a. behavioral differences cause unnecessary additional loss of energy (if can extrapolate from Bob Bachman studies on Spruce circa 1980).
3. Inducement for increased angling pressure.

However,

I see nothing at all wrong with stocking strictly for recreational purposes, given:
1. it is in sections of streams or bodies of water not of suitable characteristics for spawning;
2. not nursery waters (where young grow);
3. not the over-wintering holding areas of the wild brood fish;
4. if stocked fish are adequately screened against carrying disease (not necessarily the case);
5. stocking is for put-and-take and/or the section of stream serves as high-attraction delayed harvest/C&R recreational facilities.

Otherwise, the stability of wild trout is compromised.

Without stocking, at greater risk is the loss of contiuum of angling opportunities and the loss of opportunity for the development of eventual wild trout supporters and defenders.

Fishing for stocked trout is similar to hunting for stocked birds:
It's recreational and fun, but the fisherman, the hunter and the hunter's dog never really get to develop the understanding and skills to play or appreciate the game when more variables (that's why it's wild) come into play.

Posted on: 2009/6/11 11:24


Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish

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From Collegeville, PA
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I understand and agree with what all you guys are saying. Stocking anything over wild fish hurts the wild fishery. But if it is going to be done, I think that stocking fingerlings is the lesser of the two evils.

TYoung

Posted on: 2009/6/11 12:23


Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish

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From Bozeman
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I wish I would have fished Penns when they stocked rainbow fingerlings. I'd imagine there was amazing streamer fishing for a few months.

Posted on: 2009/6/11 12:26


Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish

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I am assuming that this topic has been spawned by the recent story that the PFBC will begin studies of previously fingerling stocked streams and their success (like the LJ-to some extent). And how the PFBC will determine new streams that may fit into a more expanded and "resource-first" driven program.

IMHO, I think this is by far the best policy that I have seen come forward in sometime. Thats if the commission doesn't go on a rampage and do to much to fast and really try to site down and hash it out. This can not only prove cost effective for PA but it may begin to clear-up the gray area with stocking over wild trout populations.

Posted on: 2009/6/11 12:35
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Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish

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Quote:
I do not agree that there is anything qualitatively inferior about planted trout, whether adults or fingerlings, such as sal suggests.


I suggested that in that post?

If i need to how about the fact wild trout are free.

Posted on: 2009/6/11 12:41
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Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish

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From Greensburg, PA
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Quote:

salvelinusfontinalis wrote:
If i need to how about the fact wild trout are free.


Free? ya think? Ask Mo how much $$$ has been spent to protect, improve or restore habitat for these free fish. How much $$$ has been spent by on lawyers and lobbyists to keep these wild tour free of pollution and development. Or by free do you mean that they need NO help from us what so ever since its not like they are fragile or anything....


wait...

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Posted on: 2009/6/11 13:45


Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish

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JayL, I don't think Penns ever got fingerling bows. Fingerling browns though were definitely planted, but did not last more than a season or two. They just disappeared over time.

And here is an interesting article re hatchery reared steelhead. While the article does not speak of trout, I would venture to guess some of their findings would apply to stream-dwelling trout.

“If anyone ever had any doubts about the genetic differences between hatchery and wild fish, the data are now pretty clear,” said Michael Blouin, an OSU professor of zoology. “The effect is so strong that it carries over into the first wild-born generation. Even if fish are born in the wild and survive to reproduce, those adults that had hatchery parents still produce substantially fewer surviving offspring than those with wild parents. That’s pretty remarkable.”

Posted on: 2009/6/11 14:07


Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish

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From Bozeman
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Thanks vc. I'll have to look into it. I heard it through the grapevine.

I'd imagine many of the fingerling browns experienced the same fate.

Posted on: 2009/6/11 14:23


Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish
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Quote:

skeeter wrote:
I am assuming that this topic has been spawned by the recent story that the PFBC will begin studies of previously fingerling stocked streams and their success (like the LJ-to some extent). And how the PFBC will determine new streams that may fit into a more expanded and "resource-first" driven program.


Do you have a reference to that story? Mike, one of the fisheries managers mentioned something about the issue of fingerlings vs. adult supplementation, but I got a different suspicion from it. I surmised that PFBC believes that stocking adult trout to supplement populations may be more cost effective than the fingerling stockings because of the very low survival rate of fingerlings and they were going to test the hypothesis with such studies.

Posted on: 2009/6/11 14:24
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Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish

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Quote:
Free? ya think? Ask Mo how much $$$ has been spent to protect, improve or restore habitat for these free fish. How much $$$ has been spent by on lawyers and lobbyists to keep these wild tour free of pollution and development. Or by free do you mean that they need NO help from us what so ever since its not like they are fragile or anything....


That was Money spent for the watershed not the fish. The fish are still free. Also There are MANY more streams that have been protected by state gamelands. That money was not spent to protect wild trout, it was spent to have hunting land. Also many streams were restored to stock also. At least 6 in Lancaster County alone.....so going by your thinking....we restored streams to stock even upping the price of stocked fish. Heck just look at the Tully in Berks.
Id be willing to bet wild trout are a heck of a lot cheaper than stocked fish Tom.

Nice try!

Refer to my new avatar

Posted on: 2009/6/11 17:38
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Re: Stocking Trout Over Wild Fish

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2006/9/10 21:53
From Greensburg, PA
Posts: 13629
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You can bet whatever you want. Show me some facts that discount what I said and I'll listen. A lot of guys on this board spending a lot of time and energy pleading their case for wild fish. (not that I want to discourage that) Whats all that effort, time and energy worth.

Posted on: 2009/6/11 21:34



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