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Author Topic: Bull Trout Stocking  (Read 2195 times)

Offline RuralMT

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #30 on: Feb 07, 2019, 05:59 PM »
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I advocate that the Bull Trout is not an endangered species, it is being used as a way to eradicate other non-native species just because there is a cynical group that feels that all streams, rivers and lakes in the West and mountains should be reverted back to total natural environments for their fishing pleasure.

I'm glad you said it!  I'd love to see one of those fellas make the native-only argument to say...oh I dunno...a native?

I agree though.  It's effectively a perpetual excuse to regulate and control.  And you're spot-on regarding the ratio of fish pulled from Koocanusa.  I've fished it fairly regularly since I've been up here and I've yet to catch or see a rainbow landed, but have caught and released plenty of bulls. 

Offline RuralMT

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #31 on: Feb 08, 2019, 10:23 PM »
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His manager said they don't generally stock brook trout west of the Divide because they will interbreed with bull trout. The former fisheries manager said "Did you ever hear the one about the horse and the barn door?"

My apologies on not commenting on this earlier WooleyBigger, but holy cow this hits at the crux of my argument.  Did he really say that?!?  If folks in the FWP really think this regarding bull trout then holy hell are we wasting a lot of money.  (In case the rest of the readers aren't aware, that's a reference to trying an obvious solution after it's too late).

And folks, I'm sorry to keep this post alive but this is absolutely something every license-holding Montana angler should be considering.  If you haven't connected the dots, there's been several highly-viewed posts as of late regarding the management of our resources.  (Canyon Ferry/Upper Missouri River, trout stocking in Eastern Montana, the war on Noxon's walleye, etc.)  Your money is being spent by others...don't you want a say in how it's spent?

Offline coldcreekchris

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #32 on: Feb 10, 2019, 12:50 AM »
 just cause you can't  catch and eat a certain species to your liking..you wanna destroy 1000's of years of natural balance...the short sided blah blah about bull trout...is ludicrous...PRISTINE streams ..keep clean....I don't want to hear your spiel bout the gov..did this or that...native species deserve repect ..no matter fish ..insects..,trees..or plants....just cause you don't wanna eat it...f off..its a part of a balanced ecosystem..,.open your eyes...and try not being so self serving and viewing the world how it somehow makes your own world better...jokes on you..all the  crap you b***h about is your own judgement....and  in the end..will be your own demise...fish out with cawk out...

Offline Quantoson

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #33 on: Feb 10, 2019, 08:31 AM »
Motivation for TU is well documented.  They are funded by ultra left wing environmental extremist.
https://www.activistfacts.com/organizations/trout-unlimited/

While Trout Unlimited began as a conservationist organization and presents itself as such, changes in leadership and foundation funding have seen it move towards the anti-business environmentalist position. TU makes efforts to stall and block development of America’s mineral resources, running a well-funded campaign against mining in Alaska and pushing over-burdensome regulation of natural gas extraction in Pennsylvania. TU also endorsed the highly controversial “cap-and-trade” proposal before Congress.   ;D

If they have their way, eventually all non-native fish species will be eradicated and you need a expensive stamp, by draw or lottery, to have the opportunity to fish.  Unless you are a licensed guided and member of the organization.

The Canadians don't realize yet.  If you look up the SARA and COSEWIC reports, they are attempting to list the most abundant trout, (Bull Trout) in Canada as a species of concern, COSEWIC trying to list it as endangered.  From BC to the East and all the way up to the Northwest Territories and beyond.

In Vermont, they are closing a rainbow trout hatchery, banned use of bait fishing in several areas, lowered the catch limits for Brook Trout and list areas flies and lures only, to save the native Brook Trout.  LOL.   In Montana, Idaho and Washington they want to wipe out the Brook trout among other species. Irony!  :roflmao:
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Offline Born Late

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #34 on: Feb 10, 2019, 09:14 AM »
In the interest of balance, it may be worth noting that CORE and the linked site, Activist “Facts”, are the creations of inside-the-Beltway professional smear campaign fabricator Dick (speaking of ironic) Berman.
https://www.hatchmag.com/articles/trashing-sportsmen-influence-spurs-smear-campaign/7712361
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Offline Quantoson

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #35 on: Feb 10, 2019, 09:20 AM »
Facts don't represent lies.  Funding sources are well documented no matter how you try to put a spin on the issue.  If you can prove otherwise, please do.  Here is a brief run down of the officers.



TU National President Christopher Wood has donated to Democratic Senatorial candidates and was a member of President Obama’s 2008 Department of Agriculture Transition Team. The Associated Press reported that Wood, a high-ranking policy staffer in the U.S. Forest Service during President Bill Clinton’s time in office, was initially favored to be President Obama’s nominee to head the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Wood was reportedly denied the post because he was a registered lobbyist from 2002 through 2007. (Obama had pledged not to nominate lobbyists to government posts.)

TU’s Vice President for Western Conservation, Robert Masonis, previously worked for the environmentalist group American Rivers; TU’s head lobbyist, Steve Moyer, previously worked for the environmentalist National Wildlife Federation.

Trustee Walter Minnick served from 2009-2011 as a U.S. Representative from Idaho as a Democrat.

Trustee Kai Anderson is a lobbyist for Cassidy and Associates, representing several solar energy firms, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the environmentalist Resources Legacy Fund. Before joining Cassidy, Anderson was Deputy Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada.

Trustee Michael Dombeck was Director of the United States Forest Service during the Clinton administration; Wood was his communications aide.

Other trustees, including Nancy McKinnon, Valerie Colas-Ohrstrom, and Paul Doscher, have worked for or served on the boards of environmental groups including the Nature Conservancy, the Black Rock Forest Consortium, and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.
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Offline Quantoson

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #36 on: Feb 10, 2019, 09:27 AM »
Forgot to mention, hatchmag.com is a fly fishing blog along with several environmental accents.  ::)
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Offline RuralMT

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #37 on: Feb 10, 2019, 10:05 AM »
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try not being so self serving and viewing the world how it somehow makes your own world better...jokes on you..all the  crap you b***h about is your own judgement.

With all due respect CCC, we live in a democratic republic in which our viewpoints are supposed to drive policy.  So yes, I will happily express my viewpoint when appropriate and will smile and point to the First Amendment in my defense.  You seem to imply that we must accept the viewpoints of those in power...I imagine Jefferson, Adams, Washington and the like would have something to say about that.  You call it a "spiel," I call it responsible citizenship. 

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just cause you can't  catch and eat a certain species to your liking..you wanna destroy 1000's of years of natural balance

Please re-read my original post.  Not once did I advocate the destruction of "1000s of years of natural balance."  In fact, I wanted clarification regarding the protection of the bull trout and why our state's policies appear to be contradictory in that regard.  The post is literally about the stocking of bull trout after all.  And yes, I prefer to eat perch over rainbow, but again, you're woefully off-base regarding my palate.  I'm fortunate enough to live and fish in an area where we can harvest one bull a year and find them to be absolutely fantastic table fare.  I'd love for them to restored, I merely wanted to know why our approach to their restoration appears half-a**ed. 

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f off..its a part of a balanced ecosystem...native species deserve repect
Your beloved Georgetown is plum full of non-native species.  Are you showing the natives "respect" by promoting the destruction of the kokanee, brook trout, and rainbows?

Offline Quantoson

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #38 on: Feb 10, 2019, 10:21 AM »
With all due respect CCC, we live in a democratic republic in which our viewpoints are supposed to drive policy.  So yes, I will happily express my viewpoint when appropriate and will smile and point to the First Amendment in my defense.  You seem to imply that we must accept the viewpoints of those in power...I imagine Jefferson, Adams, Washington and the like would have something to say about that.  You call it a "spiel," I call it responsible citizenship. 

Please re-read my original post.  Not once did I advocate the destruction of "1000s of years of natural balance."  In fact, I wanted clarification regarding the protection of the bull trout and why our state's policies appear to be contradictory in that regard.  The post is literally about the stocking of bull trout after all.  And yes, I prefer to eat perch over rainbow, but again, you're woefully off-base regarding my palate.  I'm fortunate enough to live and fish in an area where we can harvest one bull a year and find them to be absolutely fantastic table fare.  I'd love for them to restored, I merely wanted to know why our approach to their restoration appears half-a**ed. 
Your beloved Georgetown is plum full of non-native species.  Are you showing the natives "respect" by promoting the destruction of the kokanee, brook trout, and rainbows?

Well put RuralMT.  Very diplomatic and to point.
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Offline Born Late

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #39 on: Feb 10, 2019, 10:42 AM »
Here is a brief run down of the officers.

TU National President Christopher Wood has donated to Democratic Senatorial candidates and was a member of President Obama’s 2008 Department of Agriculture Transition Team. The Associated Press reported that Wood, a high-ranking policy staffer in the U.S. Forest Service during President Bill Clinton’s time in office, was initially favored to be President Obama’s nominee to head the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. Wood was reportedly denied the post because he was a registered lobbyist from 2002 through 2007. (Obama had pledged not to nominate lobbyists to government posts.)

TU’s Vice President for Western Conservation, Robert Masonis, previously worked for the environmentalist group American Rivers; TU’s head lobbyist, Steve Moyer, previously worked for the environmentalist National Wildlife Federation.

Trustee Walter Minnick served from 2009-2011 as a U.S. Representative from Idaho as a Democrat.

Trustee Kai Anderson is a lobbyist for Cassidy and Associates, representing several solar energy firms, the Pew Charitable Trusts, and the environmentalist Resources Legacy Fund. Before joining Cassidy, Anderson was Deputy Chief of Staff to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada.

Trustee Michael Dombeck was Director of the United States Forest Service during the Clinton administration; Wood was his communications aide.

Other trustees, including Nancy McKinnon, Valerie Colas-Ohrstrom, and Paul Doscher, have worked for or served on the boards of environmental groups including the Nature Conservancy, the Black Rock Forest Consortium, and the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests.

A conservation organization is comprised of and funded by people with experience in conservation, outdoor recreation and environmental activism? OMG...I’m SHOCKED.

Are you suggesting that those funding oil, gas, logging and mining interests in opposition to conservation are not employed by and/or invested in those industries? And, the latter is okay but the former is not?

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Offline Quantoson

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #40 on: Feb 10, 2019, 10:54 AM »
A conservation organization is comprised of and funded by people with experience in conservation, outdoor recreation and environmental activism? OMG...I’m SHOCKED.

Are you suggesting that those funding oil, gas, logging and mining interests in opposition to conservation are not employed by and/or invested in those industries? And, the latter is okay but the former is not?

Spin it to please you.  I use real public docs and public disclosure facts which upsets members and administrators of TU and now shows the real intent behind TU.  TU is not interested in pleasurable outdoor experience for the public unless it has been transformed back into time 500 hundreds years.

TU is ultra liberal, supports environmental extremism.  You should read their lobbying records.  Even Obama thought that their efforts were too far left for his administration. 

 
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Offline coldcreekchris

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #41 on: Feb 10, 2019, 11:48 AM »
without getting into politics...which have been explained here very well by others.. my point was that each side of government has its own agenda and lobby and the manipulate the perception of the public to support the agenda no matter the side of the issue....my point is all life has meaning...in balance....my response about the bull trout was not based on political issues..just my opinion that life is needs to be respected..whether its rainbows.....bulls...p erch... we messed so much stuff up..no we have overpopulations of envasive species...management issues...yes the earth's resources are blessed..they build our homes and feed our families....but all needs to be harvested and viewed with the fact that its all connected and our actions matter....finally..... . i guess i could have initially said bull trout are fish too....apologies for that....being buzzed makes the words come out with a little added snark and without buffer...

Offline Quantoson

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #42 on: Feb 10, 2019, 12:09 PM »
without getting into politics...which have been explained here very well by others.. my point was that each side of government has its own agenda and lobby and the manipulate the perception of the public to support the agenda no matter the side of the issue....my point is all life has meaning...in balance....my response about the bull trout was not based on political issues..just my opinion that life is needs to be respected..whether its rainbows.....bulls...p erch... we messed so much stuff up..no we have overpopulations of envasive species...management issues...yes the earth's resources are blessed..they build our homes and feed our families....but all needs to be harvested and viewed with the fact that its all connected and our actions matter....finally..... . i guess i could have initially said bull trout are fish too....apologies for that....being buzzed makes the words come out with a little added snark and without buffer...

Understood coldcreekchris.  Passion for what you want and try to convey sometimes puts people on edge.  That's the fun part for me since I read 'How to Troll Like A Pro'.

The thing I don't understand is 'being buzzed'? ???  Where I'm at there isn't a fly, mosquito, bee or spider.  You may look into the Deet stuff.  Pretty good in the spring and summer here in Pondera County.

Cheers and Well Wishes!

Herb
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Offline Rosiepike

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #43 on: Feb 15, 2019, 11:22 PM »
This forum has gone from being a decent discussion into rambling rant. The initial question was a valid one, and the discussion that followed brought up the logical question of why bull stockings have not occurred. There are lakes where they would do quite well, and they would be awesome to catch through the ice, which brings up the next point. Why should we even try? Well, if you could catch a 10-20lb trout through the ice (on a regular basis), a fish which also happens to be the largest native salmonid in Montana (or the greater Northwest for that matter not counting anadromous fish), what would you do? Go catch 8'' perch? If FWP stocked bullies and they did well in a few select lakes and reservoirs with the right conditions (and people could fish for them), some of bull haters would stay off forums like this one. Why not stock them? See how they do.
And bulls and dollies are not the same fish, though they do look a lot alike and can be called the same thing! They are as different as a bull and a brookie!  Bulls have huge heads; dollies heads are way smaller. Dollies eat eggs and fry; bulls like meat! There are also anadromous bulls in Puget Sound as well as dollies, but I'd take a 20lb bull over a 3lb dollie any day! Let's stock 'em and see what happens.

Offline RuralMT

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #44 on: Feb 15, 2019, 11:42 PM »
I took it upon myself to have a conversation with a FWP biologist, friend, and fellow angler, and this is what he informed me.  Bull trout stocking is completely viable and currently in use throughout other regions of North America and isolated sections of Montana.  However, (and this was enlightening) bull trout can differ in genetics from one drainage to another, meaning the traits that favored survival in the Yaak drainage might differ from those that produced a viable population 40 miles east (say in the Tobacco drainage).  Thus, if you stock a bull with Yaak genetics in the Tobacco drainage, you introduce recessive genes that might hinder the success of the natives of the Tobacco.  (In my mind) This is a fantastic explanation as to why you don't stock random bull trout in Koocanusa Reservoir.  Furthermore, he informed me that Koocanusa's bull trout population is among the strongest in the world; stocking fish would be pointless/detrimental.

However, my friend's next statement keeps this thread alive; I asked him if stocking was to take place, what would be the criteria.  He informed me that to stock bull trout, you would need to stock the genetics native to that system...which, to me, meant that if you're going to stock Koocanusa, you need to collect eggs from fish that live in Koocanusa.  Makes perfect sense to me, but what doesn't make sense is why we're not sampling eggs from across the state and planting the eggs in the regions in which they're viable...say in the streams that feed their historical strongholds.

Offline Rosiepike

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #45 on: Feb 17, 2019, 09:14 PM »
Stocking bulls that are genetically coded to the region where they're stocked makes a lot of sense. I'd call that "smart stocking" and would like to see some follow-up from a FWP biologist on why they can't do it, but I'm pretty sure the answer has to do with resources (they know how but are tied to too many other interests) and the somewhat founded fear that if fishing opened up in certain areas, people might get the idea that the fish have recovered everywhere. At the very least, it make sense to keep some eggs, fry, and broodstock from various regional populations for arguably MT's coolest native fish (a fish which also might disappear in the state in the next century). And as someone pointed out in an earlier post, Westslopes are stocked extensively throughout the region. Why not experiment with localized bulls in a couple of optimal sites? RuralMT: Next time you see biologist friend, maybe ask him if it's politics, logistics, finances, or fear of an misinformed public that keeps the state from experimenting with bully stockings. Thanks!

Offline RuralMT

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #46 on: Feb 18, 2019, 03:59 PM »
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RuralMT: Next time you see biologist friend, maybe ask him if it's politics, logistics, finances, or fear of an misinformed public that keeps the state from experimenting with bully stockings.

Will do Rosie!  He seemed quite eager to chat about it; I doubt he gets to discuss his area of expertise with too many people outside of the workplace. 

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somewhat founded fear that if fishing opened up in certain areas, people might get the idea that the fish have recovered everywhere

This is an intriguing point that I hadn't considered.  As often as you read on here something to the effect of "read the regs...it's your responsibility" it's clear everyone doesn't know them by heart.  I can see how those in power would be afraid of isolated openings and a patchwork of regulations. 

Offline IcemCF

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #47 on: Feb 22, 2019, 11:27 AM »
Great thread! I hesitate to typically weigh in on most heated threads, but I find this one to be interesting and a chance to inform some people... so here it goes.

I wish there were a simple answer to the question of "why doesn't FWP stock bull trout if they are imperiled?" However, like most things it is complicated. First for those that are unaware, here is a brief synopsis of what bull trout are facing. Bull trout are a federally listed species, meaning they are protected by the Endangered Species Act, and are currently listed as threatened. Bull trout numbers have declined throughout their range, that is not to say they no longer exist in many of the historically occupied streams, but rather that their numbers have declined percipitously throughout their range. Leading to extirpation in some areas and largely depressed numbers in others. While we in Montana are lucky that we have 2 populations (south fork Flathead, and Kootenai- kookanusa) that are among two of the strongest bull trout populations throughout their range, the vast majority of populations are exhibiting declines due to threats. These threats can largely be summarized as: habitat threats, demographic threats, non native species threats, and finally climate change threats.

Habitat threats are typically those such as forest practices, livestock grazing,and road and transportation corridor presence and management. Most of the populations that are degraded under this category are those in areas that are in managed landscapes with high proportions of private land ownership. Largely spawning and rearing  habitat has been improving on lands managed by the USFS and by the state over the last 25 years, but residential development continues to be a threat. 

Demographic threats are used to typically describe loss of connectivity resulting in populations being reduced to the point of genetic bottlenecks, or even extirpation. This loss of connectivity is typically brought on by things such as dams and irrigation diversions. Examples here are the impounding of the Clark Fork at Thompson Falls, Noxon, and Cabinet Gorge which have effectively removed the river dwelling fluvial component of bull trout that migrated between Pend Orielle and the upper Clark Fork. Additionally small and large  diversions where bull trout are entrained and are lost down the ditches. Basically, this threat is the loss off connectivity between populations.

 Non native species threats are just as stated, and what typically leads to the most heated discussions. Non native species such as pike, walleye, lake trout, brook trout and brown trout either compete, predate upon, or in the case of brook trout hybridized with bull trout causing declines. Unfortunately, this threat is ever expanding thanks to both a lack of understanding in past management practices and select people that prefer to fish for specific species and  thus move things around on their own.

Finally climate change, bull trout are unique in that they require colder stream temps than most of the nonnatives. While much of bull trout habitat will exhibit thermal changes due to climate change, this one tends to threaten river (fluvial) populations to a greater extant than those that are lake dwelling and exhibit an adfluvial (lake dwelling with migratory spawning in rivers and streams) life history. Fluvial populations such as those in the Clark Fork and Bitterroot are going to be hit hardest here. Think, summer temperatures increasing to the point of fishing closures which has now become common place. But additionally changes in runoff timing and severity also threaten juveniles and eggs while they are in the gravel. Compounding the effects of climate change, are things like artificial reservoirs and irrigation diversions that either pool water or divert water reducing flow in the mainstems creating rivers that are smaller, shallower and more easily effected by climate change. So that is the background. Next I will try to answer the crux of the question "if they are imperiled, why not just begin stocking them to aid their recovery?"

This one is complex. First, there are very few fish hatchery facilities that are supplied with cold enough water to rear bull trout. That is not to say there aren't a few, but the majority simply cannot do it. That's the easy one :)

Then there is the issue that someone else speculated about, you cannot simply raise these fish and plant them and expect them to recover, without first fixing the habitat threats that I listed previously. While someone mentioned the project in Glacier, that is an ideal situation in that it is a system where bull trout historically thrived (Logging Lake), and actions to remove the threats are occurring simultaneously while bull trout are trying to be recovered in the drainage. This project is focused on removing the threat of lake trout in Logging Lake while simultaneously transplanting bull trout to Grace Lake (which is upstream of a natural waterfall that is a fish barrier above logging lake). The hope is that by creating a population in Grace Lake as a sort of refuge, managers can reduce the threat of lake trout in Logging Lake, then the bull trout population will naturally rebound. A quick history, Logging was perhaps the largest bull trout population in Glacier, within roughly 30 years of being invaded by lake trout that migrated from Flathead, bull trout were all but extirpated. Additionally, as some one else stated it is ideal to translocate bull trout that are either from the same drainage, or "the nearest neighbor" genetically speaking.

Finally, and if you are still reading, comes the most complex issue. The politics. This one is multifaceted. FWP is often challenged with the goal of managing for native species, while managing for the public. Meaning, in the Georgetown example earlier, they are deferring the management of the lake for native species for the management of the recreational fishery that the public wants.

To further convolute the political side. Stocking of migratory species without fixing the threats is exemplified by salmon and steelhead  management. If managers were to simply begin stocking bull trout without fixing the threats you would get a program that is completely artificial and as shown by the salmon and steelhead program...prohibitivel y expensive and unsuccessful. Although in the near term bull trout populations  would increase, the longterm prognosis for bull trout would not be good, and rather than focusing on how to fix it managers would simply be putting a "band aid on a bullet wound" sort of speak. This type of action is usually reserved for dire cases where there is no other option. To complicate this, the government would be litigated endlessly because they would not be "recovering" bull trout, but rather propagating and supplementing bull trout throughout their range, without fixing what ails them. Creating an artificial put and take fishery that niether aides recovery nor addresses the larger issue of the threats.

I hope this helps. This is something that could be talked about for hours, or even days. Great question!

Offline hoofer

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #48 on: Feb 22, 2019, 11:36 AM »
thanks for the book.
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Offline pmmpete

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #49 on: Feb 22, 2019, 11:39 AM »
IcemCF, thanks for the detailed and thoughtful response.

Offline missoulafish

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #50 on: Feb 22, 2019, 11:44 AM »
Yes, what Pete said. Thanks for a great reply!

Offline Quantoson

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #51 on: Feb 22, 2019, 06:35 PM »
When he thru climate change in there, I stopped reading.  So I don't know the rest of the content and don't care at this point.  To me it's turned into another liberal rant after the climate change statement.
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Offline RuralMT

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #52 on: Feb 22, 2019, 08:21 PM »
Thank you IcemCF.  Your detailed response is precisely why I started this thread to begin with.  I wanted a detailed answer that Google couldn't readily provide and you came through! 

To further pick your brain, however, did you rank the threats to their recovery in any particular order?  You've clearly given this some thought and/or have a particular expertise in the area so I'm curious.  If you were the bull trout czar responsible for their recovery, how would you prioritize your spending?  Habitat and connectivity sounds like a make or break deal to me.

Offline mtjigalo

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #53 on: Feb 22, 2019, 11:51 PM »
This is getting interesting. Great post IcemCF and great follow up questions RuralMT.

Offline IcemCF

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #54 on: Feb 23, 2019, 12:04 PM »
Good follow up RuralMT. Another complicated question. To view the current Bull Trout Recovery go here: https://www.fws.gov/pacific/bulltrout/Planning.html
And click on "Columbia River Headwaters". Within this document the service (US fish and wildlife service) identifies and ranks the various threats to each bull trout core area. Additionally it lists how to address the threats.   This plan largely answers the core of your question " did you list the threats in a specific order" the service provides all of the relevant information pertaining to what threats are present in which core areas and it ranks the threats. The answer to your question is complicated, but put simply, it depends on which core area are you asking about.

For the second part of your question "if you were BLT czar, how would you prioritize spending" I will answer as if the service needed no collaboration with any other agency, or private entity (politics aside),  the timeline is not affected by the threat of extirpation of core area populations, and that money was not an issue (which all are obviously huge components in reality, but complicate the answer to your question significantly).

If I were czar and all of the above caveats were in place, I would prioritize the habitat threat, then the invasive species threat, and then finally focus on the demographic threat ( think reconnecting everything). My thinking is that you fix the habitat ensuring the habitat is suitable to sustain healthy populations, then remove invasive species to ensure they will not colonize new areas that are currently inaccessible due to barriers, then reconnect all of the core areas.

I am guessing your question however, is more aimed at how would you address recovery without all of the previous caveats. Again, super complicated due to the varying management mandates of various agencies and land ownership, cost, and threat of extirpation. So, I will ask you, what area of the Columbia Headwaters Recovery Unit (think large drainages) are you asking about and I will give you my thoughts. Summarized from a very broad view it would likely go something like this in no particular order: Flathead, prioritize the removal of invasive species that threaten bull trout (first lake trout, then brook trout, then pike) unfortunately this list continues to grow as fish are moved around by anglers; kootenai (this is the kootenai river below the dam) reconnect the river by creating selective fish passage at all 8 dams and try to create as naturalized hydrograph as possible; lower Clark Fork implement selective fish passage at Cabinet Gorge, Noxon (Thompson Falls already has it), remove threats of invasives (first walleye, brook trout, then brown trout, people love the pike and bass fishery to much to go into that); upper Clark Fork clean up contamination from mining legacy, improve habitat including restricting irrigation diversions to the minimal flows needed by the current water rights owners, regulate development to allow natural river behavior including de-armoring  stream banks, remove invasives (first brook trout then brown trout, and to a lesser degree pike).

Again, this is super broad, as each larger unit has multiple core areas within, and for each of those the prioritization of actions to reduce threats would varry considerably.

Offline Wenger

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Re: Bull Trout Stocking
« Reply #55 on: Feb 23, 2019, 03:50 PM »
In short bull trout in MT are screwed. They have as a species survived several drastic changes in climate and either retreat north or expand south as all salmonids do.  We see nature as it is now, a blink of an eye in our planetary timeframe.  In reality we need to enjoy our time with the bull trout or whatever species, do what we can in terms of recovery and habitat as we have with elk, antelope and deer and not get to Debbie Downer about living in perhaps the best spot on earth. And news flash OAC...the earth has far longer than ten years left.

 



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