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Well I wonder if the DOW will back off on the slaughter of Lake trout now that they are getting the egg numbers more than they can handle?


charlie meyers
Salmon egg collection looks encouraging
By Charlie Meyers
Denver Post Staff Writer

Press release: http://www.denverpost.com/search/ci_3150983

When fisherman gab turns to records, measurements usually come in pounds and inches, not numbers running into the millions.

We're talking kokanee eggs here.

After several disappointing years, the Colorado Division of Wildlife appears on pace to collect more salmon eggs than ever before in a program that totally supports a fishery dear to the hearts of anglers.

"I don't want to tell you we're going to set a record and then have to call and say we didn't, but it does look encouraging," said Rich Kolecki, state hatchery manager.

With the sun, moon and all the planets seemingly aligned for the first time in ages, the numbers are starting to pile up.

Although the timing of the kokanee runs generally has been delayed by mild weather and high water levels, the fish are there, ready to contribute their eggs to the process that perpetuates a popular activity in a couple dozen places around the state.

Crews already collected 5.7 million eggs at the primary site around the Gunnison River-East River complex, where the take shriveled to 2.75 million a year ago. With a few thousand fish still holding in the Roaring Judy Hatchery ponds, Kolecki hopes another 2 million might be forthcoming.

That alone might be almost enough to meet the state's baseline of 7.8 million required to stock those half-dozen reservoirs essential to replenish the system.

DOW aims for slightly less than 10 million eggs each year, which allows the agency to also stock several other recreation-only lakes.

But wait, there's more.

About 765,000 eggs already have been taken from the southwest duo of Vallecito and McPhee reservoirs, with a couple of million more in prospect. Still to come is the anticipated bonanza at Granby, which last season chipped in 3 million eggs, the most in many years.

A sonar survey, coupled with visual observation, reveal many thousands of fish poised to dash up the Colorado Division channel to waiting DOW nets.

"It sounds like the Granby run could be the best in a long time," said Eric Hughes, state

fish manager.
DOW crews still are waiting for the run at Williams Fork Reservoir, which added 550,000 eggs in 2004 and could contribute more. Now, for the first time, the agency will tap the ample run out of Elevenmile Reservoir.

Biologist Jeff Spohn reports about 3,500 fish in the trap at the South Platte River inlet. Just 367 are females and only 11 percent of these have come ripe, Spohn said. The Elevenmile run trickles out over a period of almost 2 months.

Males run first, and the trick is to keep them alive and well until a matching number of females arrive and ripen. Given optimum conditions, Spohn aims for a take of 1.5 million eggs.

By now, the count is really starting to pile up. Still, Kolecki isn't one to count his eggs until they're in the pan.

"A few things could go wrong, but I'm still optimistic," he said.

Thing is, state hatcheries can handle only a limited number of fry. Anything over 10 million eggs amounts to excess.

So, what if DOW collects, say, 15 million, not at all out of the question?

"We have friends who'd love us," Kolecki said of a commodity that has been in short supply among wildlife agencies all over the western United States in recent years.

DOW uses excess kokanee eggs to barter with neighboring states for a variety of fish desired to round out its aquatic package. The return this year could be particularly sweet. But, then, records usually are.
 
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bobco said:
Well I wonder if the DOW will back off on the slaughter of Lake trout now that they are getting the egg numbers more than they can handle? 
Bobco-

I don't think so. I think their changes in the regulations for Blue Mesa and Granby was just the first step in a declaration of war against lakers in Colorado.
 

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Maybe the sheer numbers of kokes stocked will help feed the remaining big fish left and make them harder to catch? Wouldn't it be funny if the DOW inadvertently ended up protecting the same fish they were trying exterminate :D
 
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This whole scenario reminds me of several years ago when the CDOW first raised the creel limit on northern pike to 10 fish and claimed that it wasn't the first step in trying to eliminate pike. It was.
 
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it is wishfull thinking that they would now backoff on the Lakers,  but it is really interesting how the data is minipulated to meet their goals and the heck with what the local fisherman wants, the bottom line with this DOW is that out of state tourist/hunters bring in money that pays thier wages and until that changes this is what we will get.......there must be a better way,,,,, :'(
 

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I would be willing to bet the large number of fishermen would view a successful day of fishing as catching a limit of kokanee than a lake trout. Sure a lake trout ends up being memorable, but Joe Fisherment would rather have abunch of tasty kokanee to take home. Therefore it would appear that the DOW is listening to the local fishermen.

Ever hear of the DOW trading lake trout to another state for another type of wildlife? I did not think so. Kokanee eggs is a very valuable barter commodity, turkeys and moose introductions in Colorado are courtesy of kokanee.
 
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hey clackaram, I think allot of fisherman would value a once in a lifetime 30 lb lake trout trophy over a few 1 lb kokonee. Hey it is all a matter of perspective. I got to ask because of your past responses are you a DOW employee?
 

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No I am not and employee. I just fish.

I recognize the value of a big laker. But how many average fishermen will put in the hours to get tha once in a lifetime fish. Most will give up fishing before they get that Mack. Why do all the people here have a passion about fishing? It is because we caught something. The chances to catch kokanee are better than that lake trout. DOW needs to ensure that catch rate to keep anglers coming back and the recuitment of new fishermen. The combination of Lake Trout and mysis had crippled probably one of the most important fisheries in Colorado. DOW had to do what they did regarding management changes at Granby. It is a "big picture" type of decision. Unfortunately the passionate and dedicated lake trout felt like they have received the short end of the stick. fisheremn
 
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ClackaRam-

My position is that we have enough waters in this state where folks can go troll for stocker rainbows and hatchery kokanee.

I want fish worth fishing for. Granby and Blue Mesa can produce them if allowed to. I say reinstitute the slot and protect the 26"-36" lakers. Everyone can be happy. Trollers can catch kokanee and rainbows and we can begin growing some big lake trout again.

But please don't "dumb down" Colorado's fishing so that we eliminate all the big predators.
 

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I do not think it is "dumbing down" our fisheries. I would contend that it is a wise use of funds as well. Should our fisheries be in balance in some way? Should the DOW have to stock kokanee in Granby to provide forage fish for a Lake Trout fishery? Should the DOW stock out smaller trout into Spinney for a pike fishery? What other waters does the DOW annually stock fishinto to provide a forage base for a sport fishery...none. From an economic standpoint alone it does not make sense. If there were natural reporduction of a forage fish in a reservoir managed for Lake Trout then I say go for it.

The bottom line is that anglers who target Lake Trout are small special interest group, when looking at the big picture of total anglers in the state. The fishing license the dedicated lake trout angler is just as valuable as the kokanee dad who takes his kid out 3X/year.

Do not get me wrong, I sympathize with the situation the dedicated lake trout fisherman. Sportfish management is not a constant., and relatively a young science (approx 125 years old). DOW has made mistakes (i.e. Mysis introductions, stocking of whirling disease infected fish) maybe when it all said and done their decisions on lake trout management will also be a mistake, or the right decision. Time will tell.
 

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i think kokanee are great fish, i like lakers too, lakers just take forever to get big, i heard that they thought the state record was around 26 years old, i think increasing the limits gets rid of the small ones, alot of people would go both ways ont this topic
 
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well I think you can have a balance of prey and preditor, even if the prey is stocked.  The limit of 10 kokes is crazy, I would rather see a balance were the lakers get a share of the 10 fish limit and we have say a 6 fish limit for kokes and some protection for the mature lake trout.  Look at it this way, what $$ value has the state of colorado already spent on getting a MAC to reach 25 lbs? It is huge, but it now only needs a annual maintence diet to keep it there, to replace it cost 20 years worth of food.......if you think there is not a large group of fisherman targeting lake trout you need to come up to Blue Mesa or go to the Flaming Gorge in the spring, it is a larger group than you think and growing....and yes the group is very passonite :)
 
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ClackaRam said:
You are correct that it is a huge investment DOW has made over the years, but also not a wise investment as it turns out. 
:mad: That all depends on your perspective. Frankly, I think the whole notion of annually stocking a fish (kokanee) that has no chance of reproducing in any body of water in this state, at tremendous expense, is absurd. But, if we're going to pay that outrageous cost, let's fatten up my lake trout in the process. :D

And, yes, I do see what the CDOW is doing as "dumbing down" these fisheries.
 

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ClackaRam said:
Do you realize that the value of kokanee consumed by a single lake trout in a year is over $200. That is per lake trout over 18".

You are correct that it is a huge investment DOW has made over the years, but also not a wise investment as it turns out.

http://www.warnercnr.colostate.edu/~brett/lab/coldwater/trophic_economics.pdf
Ok what about rainbows eating rainbows, kokanee eating rainbows, birds eating rainbows, tiger muskies eating rainbows, wipers eating rainbows... Stocked fish get eaten even lakers will eat lakers. Its a natural process its wrong that one species gets singled out because a lake cant hold a stable population of a species.
I tried bringing this topic up at DOW round table meetings and they avod it like the plague.

Not only do you have anglers like Don that spend their time chasing these large fish you have the ice fisherman who stalk these things religiously. You are right only time will tell, until a kokanee population can be established at Granby the DOW has Macks in their crosshairs.
 

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  Its a natural process its wrong that one species gets singled out because a lake cant hold a stable population of a species. 
Epic- you make my point exactly. If a stable population cannot be maintained without stocking food for the lakers then it is not a natural process. Isn't a stable population the goal of any wildlife manager? Then why should the DOW spend so much money each year feeding these lake trout? The $$$ would be better spent in land acquisitions, habitat improvements, conservation pools or instream flows, or possibly not having to ask for fee increase on our licenses.
 

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I am willing to bet that the lakers would still be there if they didnt stock kokanee, might even help with the perch problem in Blue Mesa
 

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You are right, the lakers would probably still be there, but probably very skinny.

I doubt they will help much with the perch. Lakers and perch tend to occupy different areas in lake. Fish Lake in Utah is good example of how Macks and perch interact, or in that case do not. The difference at Fish Lake is that there is third fish that acts as forrage for the Mack's which is the Utah Chub. The best thing perch will be used for is cut bait at both places.
 
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clackaram, what are you talking about stable natural balance? There is no such thing in Colorado cold water fisherys! It is all done by stocking and under DOW control. The cold water fisherys have a very small native populations so the rest is controled by the DOW gods, come on everybody knows that! The problem people like myself and Don have is that they do not listen to the people that live here as to what they want to see in a cold water fishery, they do what brings in Dollors to support their salaries, hey I understand that, but I don't have to like it! By the way I do like Kokonee fishing and eating them but I believe you can have a balance between a healthy lake trout population and a renewable kokonee fishery in a Lake like Blue Mesa that is why it kills me to see the kill all laker mentallity. Do you not believe these CSU grads are capable of managing Blue Mesa as a balanced system?
 

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Sure there is "natural balance" in coldwater fisheries in Colorado. How do you explain the waters designated as "wild trout" waters? To earn this designation, there is no hatchery stocking.

I would disagree with you about the DOW not listening to its license holders. As I previously stated I am sure there are a majority of license holders who value the ability to catch a bunch of kokanee or catchable rainbows over a minority of fishermen who target Lake Trout. I am sure creel surveys at Granby and Blue Mesa would support this.

I am sure a fish biologist could manage a balanced system at Blue Mesa, but at what cost? Again I go back to the $200/year it is estimated that it costs to feed a lake trout. Is this fair expenditure to the overall fishermen of Colorado? I think it is clear the DOW is saying no, this expenditure is not fair. If lake trout were a native species to Colorado their management would be much different.
 
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