pic of the week

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Stock Grey Reef?

Zach Fisher with a fall brown

The Wyoming Game and Fish have determined that the trout populations are down significantly. They blame a couple year classes not being represented on water flow issues.
They are considering stocking the upper Grey Reef section between the damn and Lusby. They already dumped a bunch of fish at Lusby last fall.
Coincidentally, the average size is up dramatically...from a pound and a half per fish to 2 and quarter pounds per trout. Our catch rates are still good and the size is reminiscent of many years ago. I like big fish and I can not lie. I also like to leave some things be. They will continue to stock downstream and always have. I would rather see them leave the "trophy section" natural(or as natural as can be) and try to deal with water flow issues instead.
We consider a big fish 25"s or better. And we have seen quite a few of these already this year.
Participate in the new poll in the right margin.


Montana Teal said...

Love the big fish, but missing a couple year classes will eventually put a hole in the size of the fish in years to come. If you do not fill that void early, it will follow the yearly growth cycle of the reefs trout population.
I have a hard time voting in your poll because choices one, two and five are smart ass comments as they are currently written. Choice four is OK and I’m sure some people do enjoy catching as many as they possible can. Choice three is sound “lets try to figure out the problem” but the “NO” does not look at the future growth cycle. I enjoy the whole wild fish population thing and the size and strength of the fish is why I have been driving miles for the past 12 or so years to fish the reef. But if Fish and Game does not do anything to try to fill the growth cycle hole, people in the future will complain of the lack of pound and a half fish. Meanwhile, they absolutely should figure out where that class of fish has gone.
All of you know that the fish and game does not do anything quick, and by the time they “figure” out what the problem is the hole will probably be huge and then all the outfitters
And clients will complain of the lack of reef size fish. Most all of us have a good idea of the problem and it lies with BLM. But since the water shed is controlled by Nebraska, we all know they will not care about our fishery only their bottom line crop industry.
The other possibility is to close the reef down April and May to fishing all together and completely ensure the spawners and their fry have a chance for survival. Only high water and lack of human contact will ensure that happens. I for one love my yearly spring floats on the reef. SO……..
My vote is: Yes to stocking and let’s try to figure out why the populations are down and see if it can be fixed.
Since the fish and game is stocking…..put some more browns in there!
Montana Teal

The Reef Fly Shop said...

I fixed the poll to represent your views. I hope the selection emulates your point Montana Teal? Your right there are several smart ass choices. Remember we are trying to make this fun.
I'm not sure a 2 month closure would be an option the Game and Fish would look at. Especially because Grey Reef is not a natural trout river. It is, in essence, a Disneyland fishery.
Poor recruitment has been an issue of wild fluctuations in river flows as I understand it. The BuRec would increase flows in mid April to 2500cfs (most recent examples) and the fish would build redds in the shallows. When the water wasn't needed downstream (because of a wet spring etc) they would drop the flows to 800cfs or even back to 500cfs. Leaving the redds high and dry. This was the case in 2006 and 2007. Were the entire year classes destroyed? My experience says no. That doesn't mean that those classes are strong.
One thing to remember is the way the survey is done. The Game and Fish shocks the same runs for a couple days in a row. But, a few of the runs are places where the guides spend little time because they know there aren't many fish holding there. It may be in the best interest of the Game and Fish to seek advice from folks who are on the river on a daily basis. Surveying different water might produce different results? The biologists are obviously educated but they don't have the local knowledge of the guides. Just a suggestion. Re vote please!

Montana Teal said...

Nicely put Reef Shop, my example of 2 month closure was an extreme "smart ass" comment. I've never heard of shocking the same runs for a couple days in a row. I'm use to seeing F & G shocking sections of rivers put in to take out. I assumed all shocking was done that way to give you the best data for the whole section. Even at my age I'm still learning that education is useless without a brain. Thank you for adding the other option and let’s hope they figure out the "problem" without destroying such a wonderful "Disneyland" fishery

Robert said...

If I want to catch 16" after 16" stoked bows I'd go to the Juan and not freeze my ass of in Alcova WY. I'd even take Abe's over the Riverview any day (more flys in the carpet).

If there is a real need to replace an entire class of fish fine; but they should think seriously about trying to keep the spring flows consistent whenever possible. My 2c-

Montana Teal said...

Good thing you fixed the poll to emulate my view! Seems like a lot of your blogers believe a steady balanced class of fish (minnow size thru gargantuan)is what keeps a fishery healthy.
I'll bet you a fly rod that your big (25" plus) trout enjoyed the fish & games offering of dumb stockers. No need to reply, we both know they did.