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No doubt about it - that brown's definitely the boss in his own pond. Wow.
 

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Jon,
First off thanks for being here. It's nice to have someone on the board that has your education and experience related to our beloved sport.
My question is, there is a white fungus growing on some trout that is literally rotting the fish. Do you have any idea what is the cause of this?
 

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bobco said:
hats off to YOU!! hope you have enough time because we got allot to talk about!! Lets talk Kokanee in Colorado in General. I know the CDOW wants the spawners to run back to the place of being dumped into lakes / rivers so eggs can be harvested and that hatchery success is better than wild reproduction. But why not put more effort in Colorado into getting selfsubstaining runs of Kokanee going in Colorado lakes? It seems to be a win win situation for the fisherys and fisherman. From my understanding Flaming Gorge has multiple runs of self substaining kokanee , some in the lake(marsh crk area) and some up streams(sheep crk). If a sterile lake like Dillion can have natural reproduction it only seems logical there are other lakes in the state that could have real success? I'm not talking about throwing all the eggs into this but taking a small percentage of them and attempting it, it would be a great project for the boys and girls up at CSU....
ok I will ask this again.....
 

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Discussion Starter #45
bobco said:
bobco said:
hats off to YOU!! hope you have enough time because we got allot to talk about!! Lets talk Kokanee in Colorado in General. I know the CDOW wants the spawners to run back to the place of being dumped into lakes / rivers so eggs can be harvested and that hatchery success is better than wild reproduction. But why not put more effort in Colorado into getting selfsubstaining runs of Kokanee going in Colorado lakes? It seems to be a win win situation for the fisherys and fisherman. From my understanding Flaming Gorge has multiple runs of self substaining kokanee , some in the lake(marsh crk area) and some up streams(sheep crk). If a sterile lake like Dillion can have natural reproduction it only seems logical there are other lakes in the state that could have real success? I'm not talking about throwing all the eggs into this but taking a small percentage of them and attempting it, it would be a great project for the boys and girls up at CSU....
ok I will ask this again.....
Bobco - I haven't been ignoring your question, but it will take me a little while to get the information to answer it thoroughly. I am in the process of having our librarian pull some old reports in Fort Collins for me so I can give you a detailed response. The short answer is, these questions were all answered (natural reproduction of kokanee in our large reservoirs) back in the '70's and '80's by our reservoir researcher at the time, Bill Wiltzius. Our entire spawning/hatchery/stocking program is based on the stuff that he figured out then. I'm pulling some of his old reports so that I can give you some detailed information. It will be just as good of a learning experience for me to pull up some of that old research and go through it in a little more detail than I have. One pitfall that we try to avoid is not to keep answering the same questions as we have new generations of folks. The answers he came up with 30 years ago about this subject are likely just as valid today as they were back then, so no need to repeat all the work. But stay tuned, I should be able to give you some more detailed information later on. But it will probably be several days before I can get back around to that.
 

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thanks Jon, I really apprieciate the effort of digging out that old information. Sometimes a new look at things maybe seen in a different light?? Remember we thought mysis shrimp was a great idea at one time ;D ;D
 

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A stilling basin is below the dam - probably grew large due to lack of pressure & a good source of food below the dam - not unlike the Taylor River below the dam and the large trout there.
 

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Hey Jon - any recent data on the trout species ratios or biomass in the COR around Parshall?

My catch rate is probably 20 to 1 browns to bows, which is the way I like it ;D..but in my several years of fishing that area have never seen a cuttie or brook. Does Windy Gap play a role in that, simply few and far between, or just that there are not any?
 

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BTW Jon,

Great reading and responses. It is good to pick the mind of someone in the know and fascinating to read the impacts one has to consider while doing their job. Keep up the good work and best of luck in your decision making.
 

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Ewert said:
I also know that he's got some kind of advisory group that meets and he bounces ideas off of, to make sure he's got the buy-in of the sportsmen before he makes management decisions.
Jon,

Do you have this same kind of advisory group for your waters? If so when and where?

TH
 

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First, I'd like to thank you for the information and interaction, you have provided on several topics. It has been an icredible read!

Here's a question about Kokanee management I've been wondering for a while now. It is obvious that kokanee are key in providing a good fishery whether it be for them, trout, or pike. I grew up in Utah where as soon as the kokes start spawning the inlets and tributarie are closed to all fishing to protect the kokes. I have a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of allowing snagging and the taking of kokes during the spawn and then spending the extra $$$ milking and stocking them. Now I understand that some lakes for one reason or another are not ideal for a sustained naturally reproducing population of kokes, but why not leave them alone during the spawn and then do more of a supplimental stocking as opposed to letting thousands be snagged or caught before spawning? Why is there such a huge difference in koke management philosophy between the two states? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each philosophy?
Thanks
Ryan
 

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Discussion Starter #52
yatahey said:
Jon,
First off thanks for being here. It's nice to have someone on the board that has your education and experience related to our beloved sport.
My question is, there is a white fungus growing on some trout that is literally rotting the fish. Do you have any idea what is the cause of this?
I've got about ten minutes right now so I'll answer an easy one. Yatahey - the fungus that you see is called saprolegnia (pronounced "sapro-linn-ee-uh"). And you're right, it is a fungus. Different rivers seem to have differing levels of it. The Colorado seems to have it the most. But you see it really take off in spawning browns, when the are stressed to begin with because of spawning season, and high temperature water in the late summer/early fall definitely seems to aggravate it. Their immune systems are weakened because they're putting all their energy into spawing, and they are fighting each other and opening up little scratches in their skin or just their slime coating, so the fungus takes hold and starts an infection there. The majority of the time, a fish that is otherwise healthy will get over it once the water cools down more and spawning season passes. Sometimes you see it heavier than normal on big, old fish and it's obvious that this is going to be that fish's last spawning season anyway. That is often the time of year that big, old fish die because it's the most stressful. So basically, you can look at it as an indicator of how stressed the fish is. Kokanee that are late in the run get it really bad; sometimes an entire fish will be basically covered. This time of year, there are some rainbows showing up with it because they're the ones going into spawning season right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #53
I actually saw a picture one time of a brown with a saprolegnia infection on its side that was in the shape of someone's fingers -- a good reminder to have your hands wet before you handle a fish!
 

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Discussion Starter #55
slowdown said:
Jon,

Great stuff.

My question is on the Colorado river iteslf. As the river movers from Granby down to state bridge, do you see a major change in the biodiversity, and if so, could you give us an example of areas with more bugs, crustacean etc. versus others?

I love that river and I definately have some of my favorite spots. Just curious if the whole is as great as some of its parts.

Thanks in advance.
Well slowdown, that's a whopper of a question. By the time it gets to state bridge, the CR is a very different river biologically than it is up toward Granby. The two electrofishing survey stations I can talk about to illustrate that the best are the Parshall reach, on the Kemp-Breeze State Wildlife Area, and what I call the Radium station, which extends exactly two river miles upstream from the Radium bridge. That puts the upstream end of the station right at the big eddy where there is an old historic cabin and the BLM has a sign there.
 

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Discussion Starter #56
I'll talk about 2008 data because that is the last year that I surveyed both of those stations in the same year, and I have a presentation that I gave about it so it's easy to paste that stuff in here. On the Kemp-Breeze, we typically see five species of fish: Browns, rainbows, longnose sucker, white sucker, and speckled dace. Below are the species we have found on the Radium reach:

 

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Discussion Starter #57


As far as the brown trout populations go, it's basically a steady decline going downstream, but the Radium reach is still nothing to sniff at. The Lyons Gulch station is down below Burns, between there and Dotsero. When we've shocked the Radium station, which has only been on two occasions, it has been about the third week of August. That is because flows are often right about 900-1000, which is the perfect level for electrofishing there. Typically it's pretty soon after that when they start dumping Green Mountain, and sometimes flows stay in the 2,000 - range until after mid-October. So that's our window of opportunity. But anyway, the brown trout distribution at that time is extremely segregated in terms of habitat. That is, we'll shock through a certain section and get big numbers, then shock through the next and get almost nothing, and back and forth that way. It's too early in the year to think that's a pre-spawning aggregation. I believe it's just more of a habitat preference at that particular time. For instance, we see very few, if any, trout in the pools along the hot spring. They're just not there at all. They're always in locations with more current and pocket water. It all makes sense; it's just that it's the only place I've worked where I've seen the concentrations so split up like that. On the Parshall reach, it's more of a classic trout stream and there are just fish everywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter #58


Here is a comparison of the size distribution of brown trout at Parshall and at Radium (sorry for the metric units! - 300 mm = 12", 356 mm = 14"). It's interesting that even though Radium has fewer fish in the 12-14" range, once you get above 14", it matches Parshall in density of large fish. And strictly in terms of really large fish, we have seen larger fish in the Radium reach than in Parshall.
 

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Discussion Starter #59
And you were asking about bugs/prey species also. It is common knowledge among folks who have been around Grand County for decades that the salmonfly hatch used to be very heavy right up to the town of Granby. Now, it doesn't seem that you can depend on it happening reliably anywhere upstream from Gore Canyon. We see a few here and there some years, but it's nothing like the freak show that occurs down below the Gore.
Also, mottled sculpin used to be abundant throughout the river. Now they seem to have disappeared from Windy Gap dam downstream to some unkown point. We just know that we don't see them in the Parshall reach, but they're there by the time you get to the Radium reach. Both of these species are known to be very important food items for the browns, and we're starting to look at this issue more closely. We've got multiple trout food studies from multiple different decades that show that nymphs of the giant stonefly (or salmonfly or willow fly) Pteronarcys californica often consist of as much as 90% of the diet of the trout in this river. We suspect that the large-scale diversion projects have played a role in the decline of these critters but we have more work to do in order to prove it.
When we do bug surveys for those stonefly nymphs, it's very consistent that they occur heavily in pretty fast riffle sections with good-size cobble substrate. They seem to be pretty particular about having that kind of habitat.
 
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