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reel man

I was wondering if anyone else has felt this way? The stocking program in the state of mn.Would it be better if we would raise the price of a trout stamp so we could increase the abilities of our stocking programs for trout.I know we put all our browns in as fingerlings,but am not sure that is working.I know we stock quite a few rainbows in our streams,but why put in 10 inchers if we are going to use that as a put and take fishery.Most get returned and killed and is simply a waste of money.Why not spend more money and raise the fish to a larger size in the streams that we use for this type of fishery.I know I would pay more money every year for that!Say 15" on up.Either that or consentrate efforts on a stronger brown trout fishery and get away from the put and take.Anyway was just wondering what everyones thoughts on this were and what people think should be done.I know there is larger rainbows stocked however to often i see hundreds of 8 to 10 inchers put in.Most people return them only to die.

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DEADhead

Definitely some loaded questions there reelman.

Here's my 2 cents; just a reminder that they are my personal opinions.

I don't believe that there is anything wrong with MN's trout stocking program. I believe that the main issue facing MN's trout program is habitat degradation. Intensive agricultural practices like row crops (i.e. corn, soybeans, etc.) contribute to increased erosion and sedimentation in rivers ands streams. Land development also contributed to this problem. This topsoil erosion contributes to deposition of sediment in streambeds. This often will affect reproductive success, due the siltation of gravel beds necessary for spawning. This problem doesn't affect only trout, but rather all fish that use the gravel beds for spawning like walleyes and smallmouth.

Another problem due to urban development is increased runoff and pollution from storm water conveyance systems. Road chemicals, garbage, fertilizers and pesticides, and all sorts of other nasty stuff find their way into storm water systems and eventually into our rivers and streams. The main threat to our coldwater streams aside from chemical pollution is increased water temps. Nothing has a larger effect on trout mortality than warm water temps. Surface water draining over concrete and asphalt will absorb heat from these surfaces, resulting in warmer water entering streams. Increase water temps reduce the amount of dissolved oxygen available to fish, highly critical to coldwater fish like trout. Low DO levels induce stress on these fish, making them more susceptible to disease that an otherwise healthy fish would not be affected by. Saprolegnia (fungus) infections are a common example of a secondary disease that affects stressed fish. Increased regulations protecting trout stream waters have been enacted over the past decade. Along with alternative storm water conveyance systems, and developments with minimal impervious surfaces, e.g. rain gardens, etc., efforts have been made to help reduce impacts on our waters. However, developments and neighborhood literally are popping up overnight, and the rush to get them to the buyer often results in cutting costs and corners. Government agencies are having trouble keeping up with this rapid development and often times oversight on these projects does not happen due to budget cuts and/or understaffing. Things tend to slip through the cracks this way, and advice on better methods, techniques, and practices fall to the wayside.

To answer your questions regarding the actual stocking of fish, the reason hatchery raised yearling trout are stocked at 10”, is that costs are prohibitive to raise them to larger adult sizes. You are able to raise more fish if they are smaller in size; the end result is still the same biomass, but a higher quantity of stockable trout. Also, larger fish have more difficulty surviving transport during stocking than smaller fish, and also don’t handle stress as well when newly stocked. The reason why MN continues a put in take fishery in many streams and lakes are that many anglers want opportunities to catch trout, including myself, in areas that do not sustain natural reproduction. Water conditions may allow for great survivability, but may not be conducive to natural reproduction. This pretty much described any water that holds rainbow trout in MN, except Lake Superior and its tributaries. Eliminating the put and take trout fishery in MN would be a travesty. It would be the equivalent of not stocking the majority of southern and central MN with walleyes, because of little to no natural reproduction. I find it interesting that you seem to question the rainbow trout stocking program as ineffective, and would rather improve the brown trout fishery instead. The brown trout fishery in many parts of the state is managed in many the same way as the rainbow trout. Similar stocking rates, similar stocked sizes, and stocked locations, etc. The brown trout is a stocked non-native fish, the same as the rainbow trout. The efforts of the DNR, Trout Unlimited, and many trout anglers in MN have been focusing on preserving the remains of the existing native brook trout populations, which evolved to adapt specifically to the waters of MN. They have even outcompeted, survived, and replaced brook trout strains that were introduced from the East Coast in the 1800s. These are “heritage trout”; you may have heard that term before. I enjoy catching rainbow and browns, regardless of their size. The fact that you believe that others return them just to die means that we, as anglers, need to teach others about better releasing techniques and encourage responsible harvesting/management. My main emphasis on trout management, however is to preserve the native brookie populations in MN, and restore historical streams with native brook trout once again. While I enjoy trout of all kinds, I will not put the management of non-native introduced fish over our native fish. This is where I believe our fish managers of the past have erred.

I agree that MN should raise the price of the trout stamp to better fund our trout program. However, it has been shown over time, that raising trout stamp prices has an adverse effect on stamp purchases and a decrease in overall revenue. Currently trout stamp sales and revenues have been in decline over the past several years. The solution to this problem? No one quite knows for sure yet, but the Trout and Salmon program managers are keenly aware of this situation and are working on a solution that will increase revenues and recruit more stamp sales.

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Jim W

Hmmmmmmm? I haven't caught a rainbow in years?lol

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WxGuy

I'd like to see trout stamp fees at least doubled to help meet the needs of the resource, and in conjunction with that I'd like to see the numbers of stocked trout cut considerably (in Southeast Minnesota specifically, not necessarily the N. Shore). Even if trout stamps ran $40, if you spread that out over a season it's still some of the cheapest entertainment in town. How's that? smile.gif

However, I understand that people will stop paying for stamps if the price went up, so despite my personal opinion it's obviously not a very good idea.

85% of SE MN's designated trout streams are naturally reproducing wild brown trout streams and haven't been stocked in years. Exceptions are heavily fished areas, and locations where kids fishing days are held, and stocking shouldn't be stopped for things like this.

I will differ from DH's point of view a bit regarding brown trout. Despite being non-native, they are thriving in many of our streams, growing well, and reproducing naturally. Their adaptabilities to varying conditions and growth make for a great fish for our spring creeks in their current state. That, and wild trout are harder to catch than pellet fed pigs.

Fish will only get bigger when their habitat and forage base improves (that's where much of the money is needed). Increased stocking of easy to catch pig 'bows will only decimate the food base of the wild fish.

I also believe there needs to be additional funds for youth programs, and more adults need to get kids into fishing. Kudos to Jim and events like Trout Day for this kind of awareness. No offense to anyone, but more can and should be done.

Of course these are only my opinions.

Bring on the hounds.

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Jim W

LOL Wxguy, "bring on the hounds".

All good points and once again a very positive reflection towards fishing websites and their usefulness. The mere exchange of opinion and info is so vital.

Anyway, in addition to the comments on raising or not raising stamp rates we need to keep in mind something else.

Who is making the decision on how to spend the stamp dollars collected. The Oversight Committee in my eyes is just as political as any other at state level.

On the note of "doing more"... I need to start picking brains for next years Trout Day. I want to "do more".

I want additional activities during the day. So if you have any ideas, want to take them up at the event, or simply want to help...please let me know.

(sorry for getting off subject)

Keep the rods bendin'!!!

Jim W

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reel man

Thanks for all your replies as it's very important to learn about the sport we love and how to keep it thriving into the future.A huge group effort is needed .Opinions can differ,but we all want the same thing.A great fishery for future generations to come.Thanks again!You guys all have great knowledge on what we do.

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DEADhead

I wasn't trying to discount the brown trout populations of SE MN. My opinions on the brown trout stocking program mainly had to do with rivers and stream outside of the north shore and the driftless area. I agree that browns have thrived since their introduction to MN in the 1800s. I also agree that wild browns are indeed difficult to catch most days. I was just stating that if push came to shove, I would stand up for defending the preservation of our native fish over ones that were introduced (albeit successfully). I believe that browns, rainbows, and brook trout fisheries all serve different purposes in MN streams to MN anglers. Each species provides different recreational opportunities and a different sense of satisfaction to each angler.

My ideas may be a little "green" when it comes to trout and fish management. However, with ever looming threats of urban development, destructive land use activities, and the increasing introduction of invasive, non-native species to our lands and waters, I do not want to risk losing our native flora and fauna (especially fish) like has been seen historically in the East and West coasts. That is why I believe in prioritizing the protection of native 'heritage' brook trout over all other stream trout species in SE MN.

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WxGuy

I have an odd feeling there are a lot of people who have read this thread who have a lot of opinions regarding trout management in SE MN specifically, but aren't comfortable speaking up. One thing the DNR is seeing more and more of is less and less people showing up at public comment meetings, but they hear about their decisions after the fact. Common ground can't be found if you choose not to share your opinion. Certainly this can be done in a civil manner, yes?

What are your thoughts regarding coldwater management, stocking, regulations, easements, etc.?

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DEADhead

Quote:

One thing the DNR is seeing more and more of is less and less people showing up at public comment meetings, but they hear about their decisions after the fact.


so very true Randy frown.gif

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Roughfisher

Trout stamp sales have declined every year for the last ten years because fewer and fewer people are bothering to buy a trout stamp because of all the regulations. If a farmer's kid can't go down to the stream that runs through their farm and catch a few brookies for breakfast, then why would anyone bother paying for a trout stamp? This means less money every year for habitat improvement projects and less money for easement leasing to allow people to fish for trout. Plus, it means less landowners willing to sell easements because it contributes to the same yuppie trout culture that prevents people from using their own land. 90% of our trout stream miles are on private land and these new regulations are telling those landowners that for them, fishing for trout in the way they have been doing it for 100 years is illegal.

There are plenty of big trout in Minnesota streams. Tons of fish over twenty inches. Most fly anglers are just not smart enough to catch them. Try a live frog, if it's still legal. Which it isn't on most of the streams worth fishing.

More regulations is not going to mean more trout to catch, it's going to mean less water to fish, less trout stamps sold, and therefore less habitat improvement.

Most trout anglers in Minnesota do not live in the cities and they do not use flyrods. They don't want to deplete the streams of fish; they just want to have a fun time on stream with their kids and eat some of the plentiful fish in our very productive streams. If they can't do that, they will not buy a trout stamp, they will vote against anyone proposing more regulations, and they will still chuck a live frog into that pool below the willows on moonlit evenings whether it is legal or not.

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WxGuy

Good opinion, thanks!

The regulations have only been in effect for 2 seasons now (this being the 2nd), so there's been something else going on for the years prior with decline of stamp sales. Actually, sales of trout stamps peaked in 2000, so the decline started 4 years before the recent regulations were put in place.

And while some might not like the idea of it, the push for new regulations didn't come from Twin Cities anglers, it came from a very well organized, well funded group of people right here in SE MN.

This topic tends to be one that incites name-calling and pigeon-holing, so lets avoid having this thing shut down.

More thoughts?

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Jim W

We all love civility!

I would like to add...since the questions were broad enough... We need a universal streams and rivers program. Not just "trout" waters.

We need to take care of all species swimming in SE MN, not just trout. What makes me scratch the old noggin is why are trout so important? Why do they get the attention? Before someone jumps that...let's try to work a little with ambiguity here please.

Simply, if there is a stream with fish in it or a stream that should or could, my opinion is we need to be concerned how that stream is being taken care of.

I have a stream behind my house that is headwaters to some very good trout fishing, however, these waters aren't very fishable?

There is my half a cent............

(sorry, I gave no real Trout discussion)

I'm all for fishing..........!!!!!

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WxGuy

Good point, Jim.

Because of the unique nature of SE MN's karst geology and in-turn abundant coldwater can easily lead to trout specific management, but the other species are abundant and important too.

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DEADhead

Quote:

why are trout so important?


two reasons:

Trout supporters are more organized in the SE. Look at the involvement of TU in the driftless area. I don't hear anything about the smallmouth alliance, or other organizations, working on stream rehabilition or habitat improvement projects. Like Randy mentioned in an earlier post, if more non-trout anglers would show up at public informational meetings held by the DNR for stream management, they may be more emphasis placed on cool and warmwater species. Overall, more anglers in general need to attend these meetings when potential stream management changes are on the table.

Also, trout, being a coldwater species, are an excellent indicator of stream health. If trout are not viable in streams, then overall stream health is in decline and may not support much for aquatic life.

Quote:

Plus, it means less landowners willing to sell easements because it contributes to the same yuppie trout culture that prevents people from using their own land.


just a quick comment on this; if more landowners would attend these meetings, they might get a better understanding of what the actual management goals are. I think there are a few misconceptions landowners have regarding stream management. Yes, there may need to be some changes to livestock grazing, and changing from highly erosive row crops would be appreciated. It's possible that there may be more angler traffic on your land. What I can't understand is why some landowners are so apprehensive about trying to change or adopt practices that will improve stream health, and in turn improve riparian areas and surrounding landscapes. There is no adverse benefit to doing this, except for the arguement that this may cut down on their yields. I am under the belief that we are all stewards of the earth, you just "rent" the land while you are living, and never truly "own" the land. It is your responsibility to leave the land in the same or in better condition than when you recieved it. I've seen to many landowners milk every last drop theat they could out of their land, and then complain about how there land is not productive anymore. All I ask is for responsible land management, and that is not something exclusive to a "yuppie trout culture".

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Jim W

Simply being more organized or having more people involved in something or for something does not necessarily indicate a level of importance.

If there were a large group of people, well organized for rough fish in SE MN would it make rough fish important?(just one of a thousand examples)

Also, I believe you missed my other point. I completely understand the nature and indeed the "importance" of cold water and the species of fish that reside in them. I wasn't denying that at all.

I enjoy your enthusiasm and passion DEADhead...keep it up!

Keep the rods bendin'!!!

Jim W

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DEADhead

Quote:

Simply being more organized or having more people involved in something or for something does not necessarily indicate a level of importance.


I agree Jim, but it is important when public meetings come around and the organized group gets its members to those meetings to grease the sqeaky wheel. If DNR Fisheries only hears opinions from the public about trout management, that's all they are going to focus on, because that's what they think the public wants. If it is otherwise, then supporters of non-trout specific management need to speak up.

I believe trout specific management is put at the fore-front in SE MN, due to the jewel you guys have in the driiftless area, and also trout are the most susceptible to changing water temps and stream conditions. Like I mentioned earlier, if you can manage waters good enough for trout to survive, most all other species will thrive.

Quote:

If there were a large group of people, well organized for rough fish in SE MN would it make rough fish important?(just one of a thousand examples)


If there were concerted efforts by these organizations showing serious concerns for alternative management practices, I believe Fisheries would take notice and do something about it. If there were threatened roughfish species at risk of becoming extirpated in SE waters, I believe they wouldn't be any less imprtant than trout.

Quote:

Also, I believe you missed my other point. I completely understand the nature and indeed the "importance" of cold water and the species of fish that reside in them. I wasn't denying that at all.


I was just stating that trout were a good species indicator of stream health. Just like how mayflies are a good species indicator of clean water.

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