Keeping Brookies?

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by 10incher, Jul 22, 2013.

  1. Anybody ever catch a 5" lake trout? The few lake trout i have caught have all been pretty good-sized - over 16" - and caught off my parents' dock (they have house on flathead lake).....

  2. I disagree that these stream were devoid of fish before brookies. By example the South, North, and Middle Fork of the Snoqulamie river are all blocked from anadromous fish passage due to Snoqualmie falls yet these rivers have populations of native & wild coastal cutthroat (likely genetically identical to their sea running brothers and sisters)

    James Prosek writes in Fly Fishing the 41st about the genetic studies of Brown Trout found in the upper Tigris River of Turkey. These fish have not been introduced and should have no business being there as the Tigris ends in the Persian Gulf/Indian Ocean (too warm to support salmonids) yet there they are as they have been since the ice age.

    Executive summary:

    Kent Lufkin likes this.

  3. Taking the question of law out of the discussion for a moment, there is a biological and ethical argument for killing these fish.

    Why do those laws exist? Because these fish are non-native invasive species that out compete the native fish for the carrying capacity of the watershed and the law is driven by a biological imperative to eradicate these fish.

    If anything the Northern Pikeminnow is getting the raw deal and may not have a place in the discussion. NPM are native fish living now a very human regulated salmonid fishery due to the dams decimating the native runs.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  4. Yes . . . but.

    It's hard to know just where the 'native' CCTs in the Snoqualmie forks originally came from. As the dominant true trout in western Washington (at least above barrier falls), one could make a pretty good argument for them having been here pre-contact. But even then, that leaves open a pretty important question, namely: How did they get into the forks to begin with?

    Extending the question to post-contact, it's been documented that not only were the forks stocked with a variety of different fish post-contact, but so too were many of the high lakes, the outlets of which form tributary streams that feed the forks. How many of the fish now resident in the forks can trace their ancestry to fish planted later?

    My hunch is that virtually all the RBs, EBTs and WSCTs in the Snoqualmie system are non-natives, as are *some* of the CCTs (at least those that are descended from planted fish).


  5. Fair enough, without study the origin of the upper Snoqulamie fish is unclear.

    But to argue that large waterfalls act as a barrier to all trout (leaving those streams "barren") is just flat out wrong. More examples, Bull Trout in the upper Noocksack, Cutthroat in Yelowstone Lake....
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  6. Absolutely. It's quite likely that trout were swimming in water that eventually became the Snoqualmie forks before the geological and glacial events that created the present-day landscape. It's an all-too-familiar human conceit that assumes things that are now have always been instead of stepping back and looking at our environment through the lens of a geologic, not human, time scale.

    For instance, the last remnants of the Vashon lobe of the Cordellian ice sheet which covered our area in ice up to a couple miles deep, were still here as recently as 13,000 years ago. The impacts of such a massively heavy amount of ice are too numerous to list. But it's almost certain that those glaciers blocked rivers and streams from their former channels, rerouting them - and the fish that lived in them - into new courses as they slowly and irresistibly ground the land beneath them into new and different shapes.

  7. Perhaps so. While it's easy to focus on brook trout because of their locust-like tendency to outreproduce native fish and eat everything in their path, let's not overlook the impacts of everyone's favorite fair-haired child (or fish!), the rainbow trout. In his book, An Entirely Synthetic Fish - How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World, Anders Halverson documents how our infatuation with RBs led to them becoming by far the most-cultivated and most-stocked fish in the world.

    It's not a huge stretch to see how that the introduction of RBs into the upper Rocky Mountain West coincided with and perhaps accelerated the demise of the native West Slope Cutthroat. Were RBs similar to brookies in outcompeting a native species to the point where it's now barely hanging on in less than 5% of its original range? Who knows. But I've never heard of anybody throwing RBs up on the bank to die.

  8. I'm curious how brookies could be an invasive species if the WDFW or its predecessors stocked them.

    Sweet corn in WA state is an invasive species but I don't see people pulling corn plants out by the roots in the dead of the night.
  9. Your comparing apples and maize here, Zen. Sweet corn doesn't reproduce by itself and is grown solely as a commercial crop. Brookies once were bred for recreational "commerce," but are no longer. Yet, they propagate themselves in natural habitats, where "we" no longer want them. A better example would be something like Scots broom, or English ivy; both planted once to satisfy human desires, but now recognized as destructive to the environment we want to preserve in some semblance of a natural state for future generations. Significant efforts and expense now are needed to remove both of them; a comparable effort might be warranted for brookies.


  10. Dick, I was looking for an extreme. Are you ready to join the "Sweet Corn Haters" group?
  11. Too bad we can't send them to Ohio, where they want to re-establish their native, depleted population.
  12. I love sweet corn; it's too bad you can't get it fresh here in Seattle, or on the west side, generally. I grew up in upstate New York, where you could buy home-grown sweet corn at roadside stands and be confident that it was no more than 2 hours removed from the stalk when it went in the pot.
  13. Better not hear anyone talking about killing Browns !! If so there's gonna be a fight !!!
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  14. Still beating this dead horse.

    The regs "definitions" indicate that "TROUT":

    "includes rainbow trout, steelhead, brook, brown, cutthroat, tiger, golden, lake trout, Dolly Varden/bull trout, and kokanee, as well as landlocked Chinook, coho, Atlantic salmon, and grayling."

    Aside from some obvious grammar errors I think we all get what the WDFW intends. Ok, so...

    In the "Species Rules" steelhead, eastern brook trout and Dolly Varden/bull trout all have subtext that separates them from the general trout rules. The subtext for Dolly Varden/bull trout indicates:

    "When listed as open under the special rules, count as part of the TROUT combined daily limit."

    This clearly indicates that the subtext in the "Species Rules" supersedes the "TROUT" definition. Otherwise we are allowed to catch Dolly Varden/bull trout wherever "TROUT" are indicated and keep them at the size and bag limit indicated for "TROUT" unless otherwise specified for that subtext species... Instead we are supposed to interpret that the subtext is the rule. Therefor we cannot keep Dolly Varden/bull trout unless they are specified individually. Apart from "TROUT". Under which they are defined!?! Whew!?!

    The subtext for eastern brook trout reads: (More grammar errors follow. Why are these people allowed to make the rules when they border on illiteracy?)

    "In rivers, streams, and beaver ponds: No min. size. Daily limit 5. Anglers may keep up to 5 EASTERN BROOK TROUT, but no more than 5 TROUT total, and no more than 2 can be other TROUT species."

    They have clearly differentiated eastern brook trout from "TROUT". So why shouldn't we interpret that wherever TROUT may be taken, we may take eastern brook trout of any size as long as the total number of trout taken is not greater than five and no more than two are other TROUT species of a size limit indicated for "TROUT" in the rules? Another whew?!? This would seem to be consistent with the WDFW's intention for the subtext regarding Dolly Varden/bull trout, would it not?

    I have no illusions though. There is no telling what their intention is and in the event of an arbitration the decision that generates revenue for the state will dictate any authorities interpretation. So I guess (literally) it's 10" for brookies in the Snoqualmie if you want to be on the safe side.

    How could I have POSSIBLY gotten that wrong?
  15. Browns don't threaten any endangered species. They're a nice adjunct to other inland fishing opportunities! Not the best table fare anyway ;)
  16. If you'd ever had really good sweet corn you didn't put it in a pot. The best corn I ever grew was so tender and sweet that not one ear saw boiling water.

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