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FFIM is a non-profit organization devoted to promoting and preserving Maine's fisheries
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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2018, 9:15 am 
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Joined: May 16th, 2013, 10:33 am
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Location: Norridgewock Maine
Makes for some interesting morning reading over coffee. I love wild trout fisheries, but most of the fisheries in Maine that I enjoy are somehow a result either directly or indirectly of stocking and wild fish combined, (as are many fisheries). perspectives are different for different people in different situations. when I was kid learning to fly fish stockies were great fun. Many of the mature tougher fish that I pursue today in fresh water are holdovers from stockings, Brown Trout in the K for example. The wild rainbows in Maine are the result of stockings, the wild browns in the Letort in PA. etc. etc. I was shocked when I spent a summer in Alaska how many smolts were introduced in some rivers to boost the salmon returns( or egg stocking similar to the upper sandy's Atlantics). In the end it is ALL about perspective. I have friends who are total trout snobs. They would never fish for smallies with a fly rod. They have no idea what they are missing!!( from my perspective). My brother wont "waste his time" on Shad. The poor fool is missing out on some great action (from my perspective). I have been frustrated by hordes of stocked fish on the dead or the Kennebec at times but some of my biggest fish on those rivers were holdovers from previous hordes of stockies. Post got me thinking about the sport of fly fishing in a different way this morning , which is never a bad thing.


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2018, 9:59 am 
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Hats off to the father for taking his son fishing. Good for the son to not be sitting in front of a video game. Good for IFW for allowing the experience to happen.


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2018, 1:34 pm 
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I much prefer native fisheries and that's why I fish the West Branch and Nesowadnehunk lake most of the year. BUT We do fish the EO and the Roach as well and know for certain the state dumps 1000s of Brookies into the EO.

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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2018, 5:03 pm 
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Stocked fish are used for enhancing fishing opportunities within the state of Maine. And I'd love to focus that on getting people who don't fish much out there where they can succeed.

My opinion is that they'd be better off putting the fish closer to the people, whether they be tourists or residents, and putting them somewhere they are somewhat confined and catchable. I know the department gets rid of hatchery stock each fall, but it always seemed to make sense to me to open some more waters to fishing through the winter where things tend to be ice free, and then stock those spots in November, rather than in warmwater lakes for ice fishing season. I have no idea how many fish get caught out of those stockings, but I bet it's pretty low. In raw terms, my question is, how many fish caught by the public do we get per dollar spent on stocking in different places. I'm fine stocking trout in places where they won't survive past July 4th if they are likely to get caught before that.

I remember when I figured out that one of my favorite brook trout ponds, that required a half mile hike each way after a 2 hour drive, had received large annual stockings of brookies. That seemed like kind of a waste when there were ponds a lot closer to where I lived that didn't require an airplane ride or a whole day committed to getting there and back.

And I guess I'd rather compromise a little on the stocking of hatchery trout over wild trout in high population density areas in exchange for more restrictive regs and creating more remote trophy-managed trout ponds where that's appropriate. GLS might be kind of an in-between sort of spot, because there is a significant tourism boost, so I imagine some folks in town to hang out on the lake are pleased to see some brookies to fish for. Yes, it's remote, but not from the tourists who are visiting there.

What's interesting out West is that they will absolutely stock the hell out of all of these ponds that offer marginal trout habitat at best while they simultaneously have great unstocked trout habitat nearby. There's one about a 5 minute drive from my house that usually has 5-20 people fishing it whenever it's free of ice. It has stocked trout, crappie, catfish, sunfish, and maybe some bass. I think the state stocking that with trout keeps people from bothering the nearby moving water fishery, that has a good population of wild browns and stocked rainbows.


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2018, 8:03 pm 
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Location: Manchester, ME
And of course the landlocks are not native to the West Branch but were introduced long ago and now sustain themselves


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2018, 8:20 pm 
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As for "untouched by stocking" rivers--very little historic or current stocking in the Allagash watershed, but a few headwaters ponds get some stocked brookies and the musquacooks and Umsaskis get some togue.

Other than that almost all our rivers have some significant historic or ongoing stocking. We can't undo the past. Going forward, the question is how much is appropriate.


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2018, 8:58 pm 
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I just read the permit application for the water withdrawal extension. The hatchery has been having serious issues with water temp, especially over the last decade, which has resulted in major fish kills. The largest was in 2016, when the department lost 3/4 of the 40,000 brook trout in the facility, plus an unmentioned total of salmon. Given that the facilities water intake has not been upgraded yet to a deeper location (almost a 2-mile extension is proposed), it’s likely those fish were expelled from the hatchery to lighten the load on remaining fish, while also providing some sport. Not sure why they don’t move some of those fish to the lake above, but I’m sure some use the fishway.

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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2018, 9:21 pm 
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Joined: March 16th, 2013, 11:04 pm
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Jeff Reardon wrote:
As for "untouched by stocking" rivers--very little historic or current stocking in the Allagash watershed, but a few headwaters ponds get some stocked brookies and the musquacooks and Umsaskis get some togue.

Other than that almost all our rivers have some significant historic or ongoing stocking. We can't undo the past. Going forward, the question is how much is appropriate.


This is what I was driving at. And nobody has named the river I'm thinking of yet. It probably isn't on many peoples minds because an 8" fish is big for that water, and most people turn their nose up at "small trout" . That's okay, more room for me. Perspectives, after all....
I've also found stocked trout in wild trout streams that entered the system from stocked ponds that share the same drainage. No,I'm not talking about the Rapid.

Part two of the question would be, can anyone say with 100% certainty that on wild trout waters stocked 100 plus years ago, that those fish are genetically wild as opposed to trout waters that have never had a hatchery fish introduced?

In the interest of full disclosure, Yes I fish for stocked trout also.


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PostPosted: June 22nd, 2018, 10:52 pm 
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RoundaboutCaddis wrote:
Jeff Reardon wrote:
As for "untouched by stocking" rivers--very little historic or current stocking in the Allagash watershed, but a few headwaters ponds get some stocked brookies and the musquacooks and Umsaskis get some togue.

Other than that almost all our rivers have some significant historic or ongoing stocking. We can't undo the past. Going forward, the question is how much is appropriate.


This is what I was driving at. And nobody has named the river I'm thinking of yet. It probably isn't on many peoples minds because an 8" fish is big for that water, and most people turn their nose up at "small trout" . That's okay, more room for me. Perspectives, after all....
I've also found stocked trout in wild trout streams that entered the system from stocked ponds that share the same drainage. No,I'm not talking about the Rapid.

Part two of the question would be, can anyone say with 100% certainty that on wild trout waters stocked 100 plus years ago, that those fish are genetically wild as opposed to trout waters that have never had a hatchery fish introduced?

In the interest of full disclosure, Yes I fish for stocked trout also.


Genetics testing holds the answers, and yes- folks are working on such in Maine right now. It would be interesting to have some fish tested and see if the genetics hold up as not having stocked fish genes.

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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2018, 8:27 am 
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Joined: December 3rd, 2001, 1:00 am
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Location: Lisbon Falls, Me
I really have to agree on this paradox.

As a father of 4 teenage boys and a flyfishing wife, this year was the year I taught all, including my wife to euro nymph. My wife had a 15 10" trout day. With one exception, a 16 inch fat brookie. She had a blast.

My boys all had 6 to 8 brookie days. 10 inch class.

After numerous 35 trout days, I would find an obvious newb on the river and help them catch their first trout. One 18 yr old, ended up catching 4 browns and was headed home to brag to his grandfather.......

Me.......bored! With the occasional 16 plus brown to keep me in the spot I like about fishing...a challenge. Went yesterday in the bright sun....no trout all afternoon. I loved it.....I was working my ass off for chubb. Finally the shadows started getting bigger and my last 45 minutes I landed 3 big browns, 15" to 17". But I worked 4 hours for them..........I like hunting for fish!


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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2018, 9:02 am 
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Joined: May 16th, 2013, 10:33 am
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Location: Norridgewock Maine
if you like hunting for fish then don't ever go bone fishing in the Bahamas Mike M. you may never come back to Maine :lol: :lol:


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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2018, 9:15 am 
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Joined: May 16th, 2013, 10:33 am
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Location: Norridgewock Maine
When it comes to stocked fish the Browns in the K can be as selective as any wild fish after they have held over for a couple of years in the system. There is also some wild recruitment in some stretches of the K with Browns and those fish are there, and tough to catch as well. So many of our systems are stocked and in doing so have provided great fishing that It would be tough to differentiate with most. Most wild trout I catch locally tend to be small stream bred brookies, and there are more than people realize in central Maine. I would wonder how few wild fisheries have not been influenced by the hand of man, in Maine or elsewhere. I also think it is important to differntiate between Native and wild. The rainbows in the K are wild, but not native. The landlocks in the west branch wild but not native , etc. etc.


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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2018, 10:25 am 
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Location: Manchester, ME
There are two extreme poles in this discussion.

(1) Any watershed that has any historic stocking is ruined, it's not a native fishery, so we might as well go ahead and stock for maximum return to the angler.

(2) We should never stock in any watershed that has any native wild trout.


The reality is that neither of those would be an appropriate management strategy for the entire state of Maine, although there are places--Yellowstone National Park is one--where #2 is applied on a large scale across multiple watersheds, and is appropriate and well accepted by the public.

My sense is that there are parts of Maine where #2 is both appropriate and MOSTLY applied in DIFW's management. A challenge is that for that to be meaningful it needs to be applied at a pretty large scale, because trout and salmon are migratory critters that don't stay in one place. And when you start thinking at the watershed scale, the choices get harder.

The real issue to struggle with as Maine develops its Fisheries Management Plan is where something like #2 is appropriate and where stocking is appropriate. For many places that's pretty easy. At the margins, there are some harder choices to be made.

Hypothetical: Smith River has an excellent wild brook trout fishery. In the upper watershed, Jones Pond was historically fishless, but has been stocked for decades with brook trout and carefully managed to provide a trophy fishery. A few stocked fish from Jones Pond occasionally go down the outlet to Smith River, where they may spawn with the wild brook trout that have been there for generations. Do you stop stocking Jones Pond? Does it matter if you could stock it with a local strain of brook trout vs. the standard "Maine Hatchery Strain"?



Interestingly, when DIFW polled licensed anglers--a random sample of in-state and out-of-state people who bought licenses--they asked them to rank a series of management priorities. At the top of the list ranked by those anglers was "Managing waters for the health of native fish where possible". #2 was "Managing waters for the health of threatened and endangered fish and wildlife species, even if it impacts recreational fishing opportunities". Ranked third was "Providing as many recreational fishing opportunities as possible."

https://www.maine.gov/ifw/docs/strategic-management-plans/anglersurveyresults2016.pdf See slide 34.

I think that provides some guidance on what the Department ought to do when it has hard choices to make, ad I hope the new management plan provides better policy than we've had in the past about how these decisions are made.


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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2018, 12:22 pm 
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Location: Norridgewock Maine
I remember taking that survey Jeff and I felt like some of the manner of the questioning was slightly slanted towards making sure that priority one and two were going to happen. ( my thoughts when I took the survey anyway).


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PostPosted: June 23rd, 2018, 9:08 pm 
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Location: Manchester, ME
kennebecster wrote:
I remember taking that survey Jeff and I felt like some of the manner of the questioning was slightly slanted towards making sure that priority one and two were going to happen. ( my thoughts when I took the survey anyway).


How so?

.


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