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-   -   Trophy Trout Lake Potential? (http://www.azflyandtie.com/flyforum/showthread.php?t=5393)

Salmo22 01-04-2009 08:34 AM

Trophy Trout Lake Potential?
 
In your opinion, what lake in the White Mountain region (that is not on tribal land) has the greatest potential to become a trophy stillwater fishery? Remember, I'm talking potential - not what is producing the best at this particular time. For the purposes of this discussion, I don't want to consider tribal stillwaters - I'll explain why later.

Like several members of this forum, I'm a life member of the Henry's Lake Foundation (a non-profit) that works to preserve and enhance this stillwater as a trophy trout fishery http://henryslakefoundation.com/. I'm convinced that without the foundation's efforts Henry's Lake would not be what it is today. I absolutely love Henry's Lake and wonder why we can't have something similar in Arizona. Specifically, why can't we form a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation and start working with the AZ Game & Fish to develop a trophy stillwater fishery like Henry's. It would take some political assistance to get the G&F to take this seriously; however, I believe it can be done. The reason I don't think the same is possible on tribal land is specifically because we can't bring the same political pressure to bear that we could on the G&F.

So back to my original question. If you were going to choose a single stillwater in AZ that you believe has the potential (if managed correctly) to become a world class stillwater trophy fishery - which one would it be? BTW, I'm not thinking exotic species for such a lake. I'm of the opinion it should be Rainbows and Brookies (maybe Browns).

I would choose Crescent Lake. Other than size, Crescent has many of the atributes (like Henry's Lake) that I believe give it the potential to become something very special. What do you think? More importantly, would you become active in a "? Lake Foundation"? I have several acquaintences currently serving in the AZ legislature and believe they would help. Heck, we could get Dub appointed to the G&F Commission :D

Am I nuts or is this possible?

I would not consider Big Lake simply because I don't think any amount of political pressure will change if from the "put & take" fishery it has historically been. Big lake is just too darn popular with the bait crowd.

CHIEF 01-04-2009 09:56 AM

Big, Crescent, Becker, Lee Valley, and Luna are the only choices but if I were to choose one it would be Becker even though the scenery is not much for being in the alpine area but it's big enough so crowds won't be that bad.
There is plenty of food, different drop offs, nice weeds beds, gravel beds, and most of all has in the past produced BIG fish. So this is the one I would pick.
The White Mountain Fly Fishing Club has introduce some changes with Becker and it has done well with getting bigger and better fish. I applaud this group for doing some thing to this lake where as in the past the lake was being fished out.

CHIEF

aztightlines 01-04-2009 10:32 AM

I will put in two cents and say I agree, Crescent is the best choice.

Big Lake should and will remain the most popular destination (I love fishing that lake, with all the barking dogs, yelling kids, tourists), but I think Cresent has the best chance of becoming a trophy fishery.

Alpinefly 01-04-2009 02:01 PM

Many possibilities !!!
 
Good possibilities. Crescent has all the pluses for trout to grow big (love fishing Damsel nymphs in this place & fond memories of large Brookies). One big problem is over growth of weed that needs to be controlled, shallow, & Winter Kill. Big Lake can be a trophy factory (the trout like to munch on these lobster size craw fish whole & that adds to good trout growth, along with other great food for the trout). The lake is deep and large with nice structure & places for trout to hide. The negative is high fishing pressure that it receives along with the put & take ethic (instead of catch & release). Too many bait boys showing up.
Becker is indeed a trophy factory, but again the fishing pressure it will receive can turn into a negative. Luna has had fish kill in the drought times, and hopefully will come back in a positive matter. Lee Valley, I would even like to see full return of Grayling in this lake as well. It has many possibilities.
In all it comes to fishery management, and I believe we all can have a big say so in how such management is handled !!!!;)

Mr.Smith 01-04-2009 02:12 PM

What about Carnero? Slightly off the beaten path, known to produce good fish and it is quite a bit bigger than Lee Valley. I think the biggest problem with the lakes already suggested is that they are too easily accessed. Easy access = easy stocking and easy promotion for the put and take crowd. Carnero would be an easier sell to get special management as "we" (C&R artificial lures/flies guys) pretty much already "own" it.

Dub 01-04-2009 02:54 PM

Jeff....you're reading my mind
 
Hey Jeff....You are reading my mind. I was going to bring it up on this forum about forming a White Mtn Lake foundation but wanted to run it by AZG&F when I meet with them this month concerning Crescent. Then I got to thinking if we go WMLF then guys from the rim would want to know why they weren't included, then the Flagstaff guys, etc. so I was going to mull it around awhile before I said anything.
I am a member of the HLF as well and see what can be done when a concerned group of anglers get together to bring about better fishing. It is because of the last few years fishing HL and then some of the lakes in Utah and Idaho that got me going on the petitions.
AZG&F has already done some research on possible better solutions to some of our lakes. I don't know if I should say much because if things don't happen then I don't want to hear any negative feedback later. I was told I would have an audience with one of the local AZG&F guys down here along with several of the reps in the White Mtn's. When this will happen depends on their scheduling but I know Crescent is one of the lakes at the top of thier list along with Becker.
I personally think Crescent is the best choice to start with, but Carnero, Luna, Lee Valley all have potential. The shallow weedy basin lakes are the richest and ones that need help sustaining water. They grow fish the fastest but are the first to suffer summer and winter kills.
I will keep everyone posted as soon as I hear anything. Lets' think hard about forming some sort of foundation that can help AZG&F and the Tribe as well. Money talks and when you have some money to back up your ideas they tend to listen a little bit more. I learned this being a member of the UAAF. We raised a lot of money to plant bass is the Salt River chain lakes and AZG&F was all over it. Let's do it.

dub

Alpinefly 01-04-2009 03:49 PM

Agree !!!!!
 
Beautiful idea...I'm all for it !!!!!:cheers:

Salmo22 01-04-2009 04:11 PM

Dub for AZG&F Commission
 
Knowing about your petitions (I think I may have signed twice) and all the discussions you've had with the AZG&F, WMAT, and others; I figured you were already headed in this direction.

Like you, I don't think we would be as effective to try and cover too much ground in the beginning. That is why I mentioned picking one lake. By focusing our efforts and money on a single project would have the best chance to succeed. You are right about raising some money to get AZG&F's attention. Once we had one home run we could then analyze changing scope.

One of the reasons I picked Crescent was its proximity to Big Lake. Sometimes when you create a trohpy fishery in an area that does not offer alternatives for the put-n-take and bait folks, you end up fighting a losing battle with poaching and regulation enforcement. Look at all the problems with Canyon Creek. With Big Lake nearby, people would have alternative choices. My wife was raised in Alpine and my father-in-law tells me there are several springs that could be developed next to Crescent. As an amateur fisheries biologist ;), I think developing a couple of springs to feed Crescent year round and AZG&F conducting a fall weed cutting would help with winter and summer kills. I also think because Crescent is slightly closer to the valley than Becker or Luna, we could get more people involved in a foundation. Becker and Luna are both great lakes; however, they are a long way from the valley.

At the end of the day, I don't particularly care what lake we choose (Luna is my personal favorite because of my wife living in Alpine). I simply think creating a foundation to raise money to support enhancement projects and establish partnerships with various County, State and Federal agencies would result in real success.

Tell me how I/we can help you. I truly do have some friends on the Legislature and would be happy to ask for their assistance if you think it would be helpful. I really believe we could have a world class trophy trout stillwater in the White Mountains that would rival any in Idaho, Utah, Montana, etc.

You da man!

Dub 01-04-2009 07:41 PM

Jeff.....Try and figure out the best way to go about getting this thing off the ground. I have already talked with TU and a chapter of FFF and they have indicated they would get behind it.
I was just going to take it easy and see what AZG&F had to say about it before I started anything but since you have jumped on it...let's get it rolling.
I beleive once AZG&F sees how much use a good trophy fishery would get there would be many more opportunities come up for future projects. One step at a time, though.

dub

Lucky 01-04-2009 09:14 PM

In order to do everything legal for a non profit it will be at least $1,000 to get non profit status from the IRS. If you want to be a not for profit corporation that is much less costly. The not for profit can't accept or offer charitable contributions.

These costs are assuming someone will set up the corporation and fill out the 1045 application for free. There are quite a few other items that would need to be done.

You will need articles, by-laws, a policy for non discrimination and provide any flyers or hand outs as part of the application process.

Salmo22 01-05-2009 09:09 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dub (Post 56560)
Jeff.....Try and figure out the best way to go about getting this thing off the ground. I have already talked with TU and a chapter of FFF and they have indicated they would get behind it.
I was just going to take it easy and see what AZG&F had to say about it before I started anything but since you have jumped on it...let's get it rolling.
I beleive once AZG&F sees how much use a good trophy fishery would get there would be many more opportunities come up for future projects. One step at a time, though.

dub

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lucky (Post 56566)
In order to do everything legal for a non profit it will be at least $1,000 to get non profit status from the IRS. If you want to be a not for profit corporation that is much less costly. The not for profit can't accept or offer charitable contributions.

These costs are assuming someone will set up the corporation and fill out the 1045 application for free. There are quite a few other items that would need to be done.

You will need articles, by-laws, a policy for non discrimination and provide any flyers or hand outs as part of the application process.

Dub & Lucky:

I've sent an email to the officers of the Henry's Lake Foundation asking for thier assistance and input on creating a similar foundation here in AZ. These are good folks and I believe they will be happy to help us get going in the right direction. I'll keep everyone informed once I hear back.

Lets keep the input and comments coming. Hey Seldomseen, can we get this thread as a Sticky on the General Discussions forum? Thanks.

Seldomseen 01-05-2009 09:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Salmo22 (Post 56583)
Dub & Lucky:


Lets keep the input and comments coming. Hey Seldomseen, can we get this thread as a Sticky on the General Discussions forum? Thanks.

I'm not on the admin team here anymore, but I echo your request.

Good stuff.

-Mike

Fisher4life 01-05-2009 09:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lucky (Post 56566)
In order to do everything legal for a non profit it will be at least $1,000 to get non profit status from the IRS. If you want to be a not for profit corporation that is much less costly. The not for profit can't accept or offer charitable contributions.

These costs are assuming someone will set up the corporation and fill out the 1045 application for free. There are quite a few other items that would need to be done.

You will need articles, by-laws, a policy for non discrimination and provide any flyers or hand outs as part of the application process.

My father in law is an accountant. I could probably get him to donate his time for some yard work.

Lucky 01-05-2009 10:04 AM

I can handle that with no problem. I just recently did the DFC non-profit application.

Dub 01-05-2009 10:37 AM

Awesome!
 
That would be awesome, Lucky. What do we need to do to get it rolling?

dub

Dana Parmelee 01-05-2009 11:20 AM

Thread made sticky

Salmo22 01-05-2009 12:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dub (Post 56589)
What do we need to do to get it rolling?

dub

I am happy to report that I received a quick reply from the president of the Henry's Lake Foundation - Mr. Phil Barker. Here is what he had to say;

"Jeff -I can certainly help advise you on what works for us. The key to getting started is to file articles of incorporation in AZ for a non-profit 503(c) corporation. It is very straight forward. From there you need to create the bylaws. Again there are some great resources on the web that will describe what needs to be a part of the bylaws. Once you have those together you need to elect some officers and board members. You may already have those persons identified as part of who will sign the articles of incorporation and drive that process. From there you simply need to hold annual membership meetings and election of officers and directors. We do it as part of our annual picnic. We periodically hold board meetings as needed to evaluate project opportunities, approvals for funding and membership statuses.

As far as pitfalls, we haven't had too many. I think the key is your directors and their motivation. There are a also few administrative things that are important. You need to fill a tax return and an annual report. They are both very straight forward.

Just let me know what else you need and I would be glad to respond.

Regards,
Phil Barker
President, Henrys Lake Foundation"


First; I think Dub should attend his meeting with the AZG&F, listen to what they have to say and then ask them about thier willingness to work with a AZ based organization similar to the Henry's Lake Foundation.

Second; assuming that AZG&F would be willing to partner with us, then we need to make a decision regarding our focus. Do we want to focus our efforts on one lake (i.e. Crescent) or broaden the scope to include more of a regional approach. As you know, I vote for one lake so we don't get spread to thin in the beginning - just my 2-cents.

Third; get started on the paperwork (i.e. non-profit 503(c) corporation, bylaws, etc). I believe we could find several qualified legal minds that would help us get the paperwork done properly.

Fourth; elect officers and board members.

Fifth; establish a strategic plan for the 1st year (i.e. membership drive, fundraiser, enchancement project; etc).

I'll be happy to continue and seek input/comment from the Henry's Lake Foundation. Let me know what questions you think the HLF can help us with and I will communicate them to Phil.

Dana - Thanks for making this a sticky. Let's keep the comments coming and get some momentum going.

Dub 01-05-2009 02:13 PM

Sounds like we are off and running. I am going to let Kirk Young do his thing and work me into his schedule. If I don't hear back soon, I will contact him and remind him of our proposed meeting, but I know he has a lot on his plate right now.
I suggest we not limit ourselves on the overall scope of this plan but limit it to Crescent initially. The way we write up the bylaws can be inclusive of a lot of the WM waters but make Crescent our focus for now. I still plan to include tribal waters. Sunrise is actually as good a lake to work on (if not even better). It also has tremendous potential with a ready made watre source that is just broken for now. I still haven't heard anything from them on this yet.
I met Phil on the lake this past summer. He was fishing the Duck Creek area along with Ron Slocum. Seemed like a nice guy when we talked with him on the water.

dub

Dub 01-05-2009 02:15 PM

Thanks
 
Thanks for jumping on this, Jeff. I suggest you would be perfect for the president of this (hopefully upcoming) group.

dub

Salmo22 01-05-2009 02:48 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dub (Post 56596)
Sounds like we are off and running. I am going to let Kirk Young do his thing and work me into his schedule. If I don't hear back soon, I will contact him and remind him of our proposed meeting, but I know he has a lot on his plate right now.
I suggest we not limit ourselves on the overall scope of this plan but limit it to Crescent initially. The way we write up the bylaws can be inclusive of a lot of the WM waters but make Crescent our focus for now. I still plan to include tribal waters. Sunrise is actually as good a lake to work on (if not even better). It also has tremendous potential with a ready made watre source that is just broken for now. I still haven't heard anything from them on this yet.
I met Phil on the lake this past summer. He was fishing the Duck Creek area along with Ron Slocum. Seemed like a nice guy when we talked with him on the water.

dub

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dub (Post 56597)
Thanks for jumping on this, Jeff. I suggest you would be perfect for the president of this (hopefully upcoming) group.

dub

Dub:

Great ideas on how to write the by-laws. It doesn't matter to me what lake we start with and I like the opportunity to expand our scope over time to improve the potential of many lakes. I also like Sunrise and think it could be absolutely fabulous - hopefully something permanent could be worked-out with the WMT Council.

As far as who is or is not president of this group, I think you've been sniffing too much of your simi dye lately :grillin:

Salmo22 01-05-2009 04:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lucky (Post 56588)
I can handle that with no problem. I just recently did the DFC non-profit application.

Hey Lucky:

Thanks for the generous offer. Give me a PM with your contact info. I'd like to get together with you and Dub and get moving on an application.

Thanks;

Jeff Welker
Mesa

Kelly Meyer 01-06-2009 03:14 PM

Hi guys, I like this thread.

I wanted to give you the regional perspective. I have been talking to my boss Mike Lopez and we have discussed making a trophy lake fishery many times over the past six years. I find it interesting that a lot of points in this thread are in line with our discussion and are mostly spot on.

Our priority at this Time is Becker. Simply because we have already designated this as a trophy water and we are very close to providing the large fish in this lake. The advantage of this lake over Crescent is that it does not winterkill and may just need some minor regulation changes or increased enforcement to provide large trout.

Crescent Lake has probably the most potential in this region to benefit from increased amount of cash and aggressive water quality management. We have been discussing some options to improve water quality in this lake and reduce summer and winterkills. We have been seeing winterkill about every other year and summer kills about as often.

We have funded a nutrient budget study on this lake with Dr Gremillion with NAU with an emphasis on determining how much weed harvesting is improving water quality, the final report will contain recommendations on how to improve water quality.

We are also collecting data every three weeks over the winter starting in December of 2007. The information is on rate of oxygen depletion and light penetration through the ice. This should give us information on how much water is needed in the lake to substantial reduce winterkill. Our Phoenix water quality people are collecting quarterly water samples to get a baseline on nutrients in the lake.

Here is a list of tasks that are likely to improve the water quality and or quantity and where we could use money:
1) Bring power to lake and aerate over winter to prevent winterkill, this would also include annual electric bills and maintenance.
2) Treat the lake with herbicide before the main plant growing season to reduce oxygen demand
3) Pump water into lake from wells (could be costly)
4) Chemical treatment to bind nutrients (must be careful not to reduce growth of fish in lake)
5) Improve boat ramps so that we can harvest weeds more regularly (during low water years we are unable to launch the harvester at Crescent and last year with the funding issues we were unable to harvest as many weeds as past years)
6) Study the affect of trout sizes and numbers stocked on impact on the zooplankton in the lake. There is some evidence that summer kill problems are due to trout removing the zooplankton and allowing an explosion of phytoplankton

Before we can try any of these tasks (other than #6) we will need to go through the NEPA process through the Forest Service. I would suggest including all possible tasks at Crescent in one NEPA process as that way we can start with the most biological and cost effective first and work down the list until we control the problem without having to initiate NEPA for each task. This NEPA is also an opportunity for funding assistance as we have found that we often have to pay the Forest Service to do the NEPA if we want it done in a timely manner.

Now, it is time to talk about the elephant in the room. Even if we address water quality problems, Crescent will not be a trophy water without regulation changes. The tasks listed above are important for the lake whether we manage as a trophy water or not. We will be looking to move forward with these tasks but your guys help would definitely speed things along. However, we will not be able to provide trophy fish unless we reduce mortality from harvest and poor water quality. Will you guys be willing to help with the lake even if there are no regulation changes or is that going to be a requirement?

This is a very opportune time to discuss long term management of Crescent Lake. We are starting a planning effort on half the lakes in the region from Carnero Lake east to the state border and south to Luna Lake (including all the lakes in this thread: Becker, Carnero, Crescent, Lee Valley, Big and Luna). We will be setting management emphases for all these waters, including which will be managed as trophy waters. The goal of this planning is to meet the needs of our anglers and customers by looking at each individual water and it’s biological potential and setting specific objectives of catch rates, sizes of fish and angler satisfaction. We will be deciding which lakes make the most sense for more restrictive regulation and which may require less restrictive regulations. This will be done in a way to divvy the resources so that we can provide for everyone’s needs. At the end of this planning process we will be making recommendations on regulation changes (or not) that will have to go through the agency, public meetings, and commission meetings to go into effect.

There will be an opportunity through this planning process for your concerns to be heard and we welcome them. The timeline for decision on whether the lake will have a trophy lake management emphasis which can be taken up the agency chain of command will probably be this June (we will probably be looking for public input a couple months before that). The timeline for setting any regulation changes in motion would be spring of 2010 since we are on a two year regulation cycle.

Seldomseen 01-06-2009 03:45 PM

That is a good read Kelly and very encouraging.

We do have to talk about that elephant.

What is the expected completion date of the Gremillion study?

Thanks for the post.

Flats Man 01-06-2009 03:49 PM

Kelly,

Thanks for the insight. Very interesting stuff! Sorry I missed you last week in the office. I popped in to get 09' licenses and you were not there... Hopefully you got my "hello" from the gal up front.

That said, I really like the action menioned above. Please keep us in the loop on any meetings and ways we can help. We should start a savings towards the commong goal of trophy trout lakes! Thoughts?

gilafisher 01-06-2009 03:51 PM

Thanks for the input Kelly. I think with the connections this message board can bring to the table the money should not be an issue, but I'm not sure how many will be interested in giving their money over to a lake that doesn't have any special regulations. As soon as the word gets out that Cresent is producing large fish every bait chucker from Big Lake will come over and fish out Cresent.

rmflake 01-06-2009 04:00 PM

I will be watching this thread so I can see what I can do to help. Lots of interesting stuff in here.

WMF 01-06-2009 04:17 PM

Kelly thanks for the heads up, and effort it involves now, and will involve in the future!

For those of us who haven't seen it, HLF (Henrys lake foundation) is a good bench mark on what successful cooperation, and management can provide for anglers. In this link look down to the part about the aeration during the winter. It gives a good idea what could help if we get a lake that winter kills....
http://www.henryslakefoundation.com/news.php

Kelly Meyer 01-06-2009 04:52 PM

The Gremillion study is past due. It is mostly is a nutrient budget and the model has been done, they are still doing some of the analysis.

My guess will be that the winter aeration and spring herbicide treatment will be critical.

troutramp 01-06-2009 05:49 PM

good luck explaining to the residents of springerville\ eagar that they can not fish thier lake with a worm and bobber I know there are regulations already in effect but just like chevlon, canyon creek , and other places enforcment is going to be cruciual, come to think of it at any lake designated

Seldomseen 01-06-2009 05:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by troutramp (Post 56667)
good luck explaining to the residents of springerville\ eagar that they can not fish thier lake with a worm and bobber I know there are regulations already in effect but just like chevlon, canyon creek , and other places enforcment is going to be cruciual, come to think of it at any lake designated

That is the elephant.

troutramp 01-06-2009 06:23 PM

trophy lyman walleye nobody fishes it!!!! just kidding, actually carnero is interesting because there are springs in they are maybe easily developed, but the dam would need to be raised to make it deeper that could be an expense so could wells springs ect. If becker is decided on it will be poached the people in that area are hard nosed and not easily convinced, all else considered i think it is a great lake because it could be done with little expense, and is already producing great fish. Luna has gone through one improvement years ago, but it might be too far out of the way, but it already produces great fish on occasion with little to no regulation. there is no "perfect" option here, I love the idea though. btw

Salmo22 01-06-2009 06:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kelly Meyer (Post 56648)
This is a very opportune time to discuss long term management of Crescent Lake. We are starting a planning effort on half the lakes in the region from Carnero Lake east to the state border and south to Luna Lake (including all the lakes in this thread: Becker, Carnero, Crescent, Lee Valley, Big and Luna). We will be setting management emphases for all these waters, including which will be managed as trophy waters. The goal of this planning is to meet the needs of our anglers and customers by looking at each individual water and it’s biological potential and setting specific objectives of catch rates, sizes of fish and angler satisfaction. We will be deciding which lakes make the most sense for more restrictive regulation and which may require less restrictive regulations. This will be done in a way to divvy the resources so that we can provide for everyone’s needs. At the end of this planning process we will be making recommendations on regulation changes (or not) that will have to go through the agency, public meetings, and commission meetings to go into effect.

There will be an opportunity through this planning process for your concerns to be heard and we welcome them. The timeline for decision on whether the lake will have a trophy lake management emphasis which can be taken up the agency chain of command will probably be this June (we will probably be looking for public input a couple months before that). The timeline for setting any regulation changes in motion would be spring of 2010 since we are on a two year regulation cycle.

Kelly:

Thanks so much for your comments and insight. Opportunity is the very reason I'm pushing the idea of forming a organization similar to the Henry's Lake Foundation. As a life member of the HLF, I am very acquainted with the partnerships and successful projects they've helped to foster. I believe we have a large number of stillwater fly fishers that would support an Arizona based foundation to improve the lakes in the White Mountains. I also believe that forming such a foundation will help to focus and organize all the good ideas and intentions.

How do you suggest we stay informed on the AZG&F's plans/efforts? Also, how do we best create a partnership between our (hopefully soon to be) foundation and the appropriate agencies? Your recommendations on how to create these connections would be sincerely appreciated.

Regarding the elephant in the room - I believe enforcement will be an ongoing challenge no matter what happens in the future. For all the great aspects of Henry's Lake, they have their own enforcement, regulation and multi-user issues. That being said, I would prefer to work on resolving enforcement challenges for a group of trophy stillwater fisheries, rather than do nothing because the enforcement issues are not completely resolved.

Keep the comments coming :)

Salmo22 01-06-2009 07:28 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by troutramp (Post 56667)
good luck explaining to the residents of springerville\eagar that they can not fish thier lake with a worm and bobber I know there are regulations already in effect but just like chevlon, canyon creek , and other places enforcment is going to be cruciual, come to think of it at any lake designated

I am married to a gal from Alpine and I am fully aware of the "entitlement" mindset that many White Mountain residents have. My father-in-law actually believes it is his right as one of Alpine's native sons to ignore G&F regulations.

That being said, I also believe these mindsets can be changed. When these same residents see the $$$$$$$$ start to come thier way from the whacky fly fishers that want to fish a trophy lake and dump some cash in the local economy; viewpoints will shift. Don't kid yourself for one minute, the Henry's Lake Foundation, Henry's Fork Foundation, and other organizations use economic benefit analysis to help support thier efforts to enhance local fisheries. Especially in these economic times, it is part of the program to help the local residents understand how supporting the creation of trophy trout lakes will mean cash in their pockets.

Craig Mathews told me that some of his most ardent critics to protecting the Madison River have become his most valiant allies once they saw how it increased the tourist dollars for the region. It can be done!

WMF 01-06-2009 08:13 PM

I am sure game and fish will have the foresight to look at enforcement when they chose a lake. Enforcement is one of the many key elements that will have to be addressed. I have full confidence that with the constant reminder, and vigilance on our part we can help game and fish in this respect as well. I do believe it will take a while to shift the mind set of some of the locals, seeing as the last time I was at Crescent there were 2 people who headed out as we rolled in, with 3 time the limit on there stringers. Mind set will change with economic data and some stiff fines.... In the mean time there is most likely a lot of work going on and that needs to go on before we get to worry about that! One of the things I look forward to is what fish the will put in said water! Think about how much fun we could have with that!!!

wildcat97 01-06-2009 08:18 PM

one word .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. .................................................. ...........TRIPLOIDS! http://www.highlandoutfitters.com/Im...rd%20Trout.jpg



SINCE THE FISH DON'T REPRODUCE ANYWAYS LETS MAKE THEM HUGE!

Dub 01-07-2009 09:20 AM

Kelly
 
Thanks for the update, Kelly. It is good to see how AZG&F is taking on the task of finally trying to manage the lakes to sustain trout. I'm confident good things will come of this and I am looking forward to see what develops. As far as Crescent being a trophy trout lake...let's get the fish growing to thier full potential before we think about making reg changes. I think it's much more important to get our lakes in the condition needed to sustain our trout and keep them growing over a few seasons before we think special reg's. Believe me I am all for it but I think we may be better served by having not just one but several lakes that will grow big fish. Every year one or (at the most) two lakes seem to get all the pressure because the fish made it through the winter. How cool would it be if we had 5-6 lakes we could choose from to go catch big fish. It is better for everyone involved, including the fish that would get less pressure on them.
One major problem I see that has ALWAYS been a problem is enforcement of the law. You know as well as I do that whenever there are big fish to be caught someone always has to take more than thier share. This would have to be addressed.
Let's make this happen

John

P.S. Widcat 97....something may already be in the works.

troutramp 01-07-2009 10:10 AM

Yes 5-6 lakes would be awesome, if we had a couple of lakes that regularly produced 10lb trout that region would benefit economicaly that helps with the elephant issue, I wish we could include sunrise in the list I met some guys from texas that used to make the trip once or twice a year sunrise would benefit alot if the pipe from ono was fixed. Sunrise still grows huge trout problem is word gets out and the lake gets harvested like a corn field.

Kelly Meyer 01-07-2009 01:37 PM

Lot of things to discuss here:

First, appropriate regulations for the lakes. To me this is the most critical piece of the puzzle, at least for Becker. It comes down to objectives; the regulations at Becker are great if you are looking to grow the fish a little larger and harvest them in the 16 to 20 inch range. However, if your goal is to sustain large number of 20 inch trout year round then the current regulations will not do that. The reason is that the lake sustains fewer trout than we thought. Our creel surveys from last year showed the 18 inch and larger fish in the spring were all removed and only 250 trout were harvested. That is an average of one fish a day! This data makes it obvious that these larger fish cannot be sustained in this lake with any kind of bag limit. We have to rely on more restrictive regulations; we cannot educate them to do the right thing in releasing fish. One of the most amazing results from our survey last year is that 68% of the people who kept a fish would support catch and release regulation at Becker! The larger fish can be sustained but it will require catch and release or a length limit (of say 24 inches).

Law enforcement. Actually law enforcement issues were less of an impact than we thought. We did some undercover work last spring and found compliance for bag limits was 100% and compliance for bait was 94%. This does not mean that there are a few individuals who are bypassing the system. I can tell you this; our law enforcement people have a commitment to this lake. I can think of at least three of them that fish it regularly and want to see big fish in there as much as you or I. They are the ones that initiated the undercover operations. If you do see a violation, do not confront them write down a description and plate on their vehicle and call our hotline. If the game wardens can respond then they will.

Gear type. Our surveys showed that the treble hooks had little impact on mortality of these fish over last year. Mostly because mortality due to treble hooks is size selective. Mortality is lower on smaller fish and higher on larger fish. Anglers who used treble hooks threw back smaller fish that were probably not badly hooked and kept the larger trout. If we made the regulations C@R or a 24 inch limit than the trebles would have a major impact on the fishery.
Suggestions for getting the foundation off the ground and how it relates to the agency. I am not the expert on that but I think that would be a great discussion item when Dub meets with Kirk Young and some of us from Pinetop.

How can you help in the planning process? I think a good description of our planning process would be helpful here. The steps of our planning our:

1) Inventory of water including: current management, fish growth, type of anglers, current angler satisfaction, catch rates, sizes of fish, identifying water quality concerns, native fish concerns.

2) Meeting of expert group to decide management emphasis. We bring together the people who know the lake and the anglers best and have management authority of the lake to discuss management issues on the lakes and decide the best management emphasis. Some examples of a management emphasis would be family fishing were we want to have lots of bent rod time for kids, or trophy fishing where we want certain catch rates of larger trout. This group will be vendors (Big Lake store owner), Forest Service and Game and Fish biologists and recreation people, game wardens, irrigators, representatives from Lyman State Park, and the town of Eager.

3) Meeting of sub group to make sure that the management emphasis is consistent with native fish concerns.

4) Present management emphasis to the public and receive feedback on if they are suitable, make modifications if needed.

5) Write plan including:
a. Current management on size of fish, catch rates and angler use
b. specific objectives we want to reach on sizes of fish, catch rates, angler use
c. Potential tasks we can implement to meet objectives. This would include changing regulations, winter aeration etc

6) Implement tasks and do creel and population surveys to see if we are meeting new objectives

We could use your help a few places in the process. If it looked like the foundation had a good chance of becoming reality, we could use a representative in the expert group (step 2). Everyone is more than welcome to give input during step 4. The foundation can cherry pick what tasks they want to fund or help with in step 5c (and maybe even step 6). Finally, if we need to change regulations based on this process then we could use the groups help in supporting regulation changes during the normal commission process in 2010.

I almost forgot the last and most important part. Thank you guys for your interest in improving fishing up here. I am excited about the pontial of what we as a group can do up here. I am very thankful for the fly fishing community (our local chapter as well as the rest of you guys) for your willingness to volunteer an be proactive in improving fishing for everyone.

WMF 01-07-2009 11:26 PM

Kelly is there anyway to predict how long each step will take, do you put target dates on each step?

Sounds like Becker just needs a regulation change to be on the right track. So Becker in general doesn't consume funds, or require much more effort beyond the regulation change that can be addressed in 2010, correct? If this is the case then John brings up a good point on which ever lake is most suitable for restoration. Special regulations could come after restoration, and Becker's success could prove to benchmark the regulation change for the next lake...

tenpoundlunker 01-08-2009 08:06 AM

I think cresent would be an excellent choice. It would be great to catch footballs out of there again. Another option for that lake to help fund it could be make it a pay to play lake like Earl Park. Charge a $10-15 a day fee to fish it. That would keep the bait-chuckers away (hopefully) and help support the day to day expenses to maintain the lake. I would be more than willing to pay a little for a quality fishery.


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