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Author Topic: 7 Year perch Flux  (Read 1323 times)

Offline mtoutdoorsman

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7 Year perch Flux
« on: Feb 04, 2019, 06:34 PM »
I am just looking for information, not trying to spark debate

This is in regards to Holter but includes other lakes. I also didn't want to hijack Holters thread.
But what is this 7 year perch fluctuation that I keep hearing about. Now I do Know that the life span of Yellow perch is about seven years. But they start breeding around 2-3 years. So wouldn't single year of fish have approximately 5 years of brood the keep cycle stable? I also know that environment can have effects but seems like the current population is health? And why does this seem so prevalent in Holter were Hauser or CF are similar reservoirs but populations don't seem to fluctuate as much or for at least not the past several years. And what about something like HVRR or Nevada res were number are great but few large fish.   
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Offline missoulafish

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #1 on: Feb 04, 2019, 06:40 PM »
Prior to that year class of perch in Holter that everyone has been hammering there wasn't what I'd call a robust perch population in Holter. They were there and you could catch some but nothing like what everyone has been seeing. So you take into account that massive year class and yes they were laying a ton of eggs and there was tons of YOY each season but the shear amount of mouths from that 2011 class very likely ate the majority of each spawn...

Offline mtoutdoorsman

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #2 on: Feb 04, 2019, 08:06 PM »
That does make sense that perch would be eating there own. But what made the 2011 spawn so great for amount and size?
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Offline missoulafish

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #3 on: Feb 04, 2019, 08:11 PM »
Lots of theories but not sure anyone has anything definitive?

Offline BigSage

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #4 on: Feb 04, 2019, 09:07 PM »
Most think it was the enormous water year in 2011

Offline Cold toes

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #5 on: Feb 04, 2019, 09:39 PM »
Populations are driven by 2 major things: birth rate & death rate.

A little more specific: Fertility (# of eggs per female * Age 1 survival), survival to next year

juvenile survival is generally the biggest bottleneck in fish populations and is also the  most sensitive (small change in juvenile survival = proportionally larger change in population size)

from what I've heard and read: 2011 big water year, big carp die off = high juvenile survival. So we get a huge age class that makes it out of the first year bottleneck

Did fishing mortality have an impact? Sure, but I doubt lower limits it would have bought another year. Most fishing mortality generally only 20% of total mortality and arguably compensatory.

Offline Wenger

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #6 on: Feb 04, 2019, 09:41 PM »
That is my thinking. Newly flooded vegetation releases massive amounts of nutrients into time system and thus more of the young  of the year survive. Same thing gets peck rocking.

They been to drop the limits now and let the other year classes fatten up.

Lots of six to eight inch perch in Hoter. As long as they do not get over harvested we should have decent
fishing as they grow up.

Offline coldcreekchris

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #7 on: Feb 04, 2019, 11:20 PM »
without getting into the biological reasoning....seems like most healthy perch fisheries..naturally.. and naturally is without overfishing and other abnormal temps and food fluctuactions...kinda go thru a five year cycle on their own. in specific water.....jumbos for a couple years...don't see the jumbos for 3 or 4 years..jumbos again.....just my 2 cents …

Offline mtoutdoorsman

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #8 on: Feb 04, 2019, 11:29 PM »
 :) Good Info Guys

This does seem to fit Holter well. What about lakes that have great population but little size. I have seen in the past few year HVRR has crazy numbers of perch but mostly small. I have heard people call them stunted, but most of the fish seem health. Or is it predator-prey thing.
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Offline wingnutty

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #9 on: Feb 04, 2019, 11:55 PM »
Population dynamics of fish are pretty complex and can very a lot between bodies of water and especially between different types of waterbodies (lakes, reservoirs, ponds, etc.).  I find the perch/northern pike dynamic is pretty interesting.  With an over-abundance of small 'stunted' perch, lots of people say "throw in northerns" (bucket biologists dont just say it, they do it).  But adding northerns these systems often doesn't solve the stunted perch problem.  Sometimes it seems you end up with a nice balance of northerns and bigger perch, other times you still have stunted perch along with northers and still other times you end up with very few perch and tons of stunted northerns.  It's an interesting dynamic and obviously very site-specific.  I'd love to know more about if anyone can point to published research I'd find it interesting. 

Offline coldcreekchris

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #10 on: Feb 05, 2019, 12:12 AM »
sadly well see how this theory works at kicking horse res and the nine pipes chain...once the pike establish....bucket biologist can suck it....

Offline wingnutty

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #11 on: Feb 05, 2019, 07:54 AM »
sadly well see how this theory works at kicking horse res and the nine pipes chain...once the pike establish....bucket biologist can suck it....

Yes.  With 100% certainty the bass fishing will tank.  Unbelievable that idiots would put such a special fishery at risk. >:(

Offline PerchPounderMT

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #12 on: Feb 05, 2019, 08:22 AM »
The carp/sucker die off helped them to have an epic spawn = population bloom.
https://helenair.com/news/local/hundreds-of-dead-carp-found-floating-in-holter-reservoir-fwp/article_4306bcb8-e8f1-11e2-a5d1-0019bb2963f4.html
and it wasnt hundreds it was thousands,havnt seen one since.
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Offline Born Late

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #13 on: Feb 05, 2019, 09:11 AM »
The carp/sucker die off helped them to have an epic spawn = population bloom.

While the carp die-off may have eventually helped at some level, the 2013 event probably wouldn’t have affected the 2011, 2012, or 2013 perch spawning success.

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Offline PerchPounderMT

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #14 on: Feb 05, 2019, 10:28 AM »
you dont think the lack of carp eating perch fry had an effect on their survival rate?
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Offline Born Late

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #15 on: Feb 05, 2019, 10:59 AM »
you dont think the lack of carp eating perch fry had an effect on their survival rate?

I don’t. If anything, I think it would would be an issue of competition for similar food, not predation.
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Offline Chasinperch

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #16 on: Feb 05, 2019, 12:24 PM »
I would think the lack of carp would be a big reason for the perch explosion,  I could only imagine how many eggs a 20# carp can eat

Offline Born Late

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #17 on: Feb 05, 2019, 01:29 PM »
I don’t disagree about the potential impacts of carp to perch spawn and spawning habitat. But unless carp are time travelers...and I can’t prove they’re not...it seems unlikely a July 2013 carp die-off would have had much effect on the April 2011 perch spawning success.
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Online Turbo jig2000

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #18 on: Feb 05, 2019, 02:31 PM »
I’ve seen and have known many guys that catch carp
(+10lbs) on rapalas in the spring fishing for walleyes at the causeway. Yes catch not snag.
Those rapalas they’re using are 2 3/4”- 3” in size. If there hitting those they have to be eating real perch of the same size. So a huge die off of carp would definetly help the perch population in Holter.
And as for the big water years I don’t see that helping a reservoir that barley fluctuates. Hauser and Holter hold a pretty consistent water level all year. They are no not like canyon ferry or fort peck that have fluctuating water levels. In my 30+ years in Helena I’ve only seen hauser water level down a couple times. That was for work on the dam and doing work to boat docks at black and white sandy.

Offline MT204

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #19 on: Feb 05, 2019, 04:21 PM »
Over on the Cascade Lake Idaho forum (couldn't find it) there was a good read from their Fish & Game on why the decline this year in jumbo perch in Cascade Lake.

Offline Born Late

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #20 on: Feb 05, 2019, 05:00 PM »
https://www.idahostatejournal.com/outdoors/xtreme_idaho/lake-cascade-perch-fishing-to-remain-good-but-jumbos-may/article_13a5a865-0bbf-5ac6-a24b-5b0741a18e25.html

I’ve seen and have known many guys that catch carp
(+10lbs) on rapalas in the spring fishing for walleyes at the causeway. Yes catch not snag.
Those rapalas they’re using are 2 3/4”- 3” in size. If there hitting those they have to be eating real perch of the same size. So a huge die off of carp would definetly help the perch population in Holter

You and I can catch a trout on a pink marshmallow. That does not confirm that pink marshmallows comprise a large percentage of a trout’s diet. Largely bottom-feeding omnivorous fish, there’s little doubt carp could impact spawn and bottom-dwelling perch fry and eat most anything in front of their nose at any given moment but the literature doesn’t support the idea that they fill their bellies with 2-inch+ perch or other species.  I do agree that a carp die-off would help any fish population although not necessarily for the reason you suggest.

And as for the big water years I don’t see that helping a reservoir that barley fluctuates. Hauser and Holter hold a pretty consistent water level all year.

I agree. I don’t think the water stays high in the willows, grass, etc. long enough to really improve the availability of good spawning habitat. FWP doesn’t yet have an answer but they have suggested it’s more likely related to the flushing of the overall reservoir system resulting in the best possible groceries for 1st year perch survival.
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Offline mtoutdoorsman

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #21 on: Feb 05, 2019, 06:41 PM »
I’ve seen and have known many guys that catch carp  (+10lbs) on rapalas in the spring fishing for walleyes at the causeway. Yes catch not snag.
Those rapalas they’re using are 2 3/4”- 3” in size. If there hitting those they have to be eating real perch of the same size. So a huge die off of carp would definetly help the perch population in Holter.
I am one of those people, and I do target the carp, yet most still don't believe me until I show them a carp with a 4in swim bait in it's mouth
I still don't think carp would target health perch much, but definitely compete with food. Maybe water level had a role in fish were positioned in lake.

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Offline The Linguist

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #22 on: Feb 05, 2019, 07:44 PM »
Water levels at Holter don’t change much in high or low water years. It’s known as a pass-through reservoir for hydro-power generation. So one could speculate the perch habitat doesn’t change much either. Perch blooms are likely to be at the mercy of predators or perhaps water temperature at the time of the spawn.

Offline MT_btagger

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #23 on: Feb 05, 2019, 08:19 PM »
The impact of a high-water year goes beyond additional or improved habitat as a result of flooding. There's also the increased availability of nutrients like phosphorus that get washed into the system as a whole, and this essentially fertilizes the whole food chain.

Some Lakes do go through perch Cycles, where a particularly large recruitment year will go on to impact subsequent years by essentially eating all the juvenile perch until that age class of fish died out.

http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/abs/10.1139/f99-077




Offline The Linguist

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #24 on: Feb 05, 2019, 08:54 PM »
Nutrients are available in Holter even in low water years. The algae blooms in August and September are evidence of that.

Offline Wenger

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #25 on: Feb 05, 2019, 10:03 PM »
Cisco food!  ;D

Offline The Linguist

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #26 on: Feb 05, 2019, 10:15 PM »
Only if they’re top-water feeders eating the scum that collects around Cottonwood Creek, haha.

Offline Wenger

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #27 on: Feb 06, 2019, 01:09 PM »
That scum would not even form if we had mid level plankton and zooplankton feeders like ciscos to utilize those excess nutrients and turn them into perch and walleyes.  The whole system has phosphorus and nitrogen overload from potato and dairy farms upstream from Belgrade to Toston. (That and how how much carp crap?) No body of water that scums over as much as CF, Hauser and Holter do can be considered healthy or balanced.  That manifests into tiny walleyes and fewer perch along with wild swings in populations.  Healthy bodies of water produce consistent levels of recruitment of each species of game fish.  Sadly FWP is dodging the core issue and ripping off the sportsmen who pay their way.   

Offline PerchPounderMT

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #28 on: Feb 06, 2019, 02:04 PM »
I don’t. If anything, I think it would would be an issue of competition for similar food, not predation.
Then you dont know a whole lot about carp.We pick them up on 2" long perch repalas cranking around the dikes of CF on a regular basis.
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Offline PerchPounderMT

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Re: 7 Year perch Flux
« Reply #29 on: Feb 06, 2019, 02:20 PM »
I don’t disagree about the potential impacts of carp to perch spawn and spawning habitat. But unless carp are time travelers...and I can’t prove they’re not...it seems unlikely a July 2013 carp die-off would have had much effect on the April 2011 perch spawning success.
The 2011 perch were still small enough for car to eat.....
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