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Old 02-21-2018, 06:46 PM
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T Gunn T Gunn is offline
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Your chance to support rainbow trout stocking at Lees Ferry

By Jim Strogen
The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is planning a meeting on March 5th in Marble Canyon to seek input from the public on the AZGFD proposal to stock rainbow trout throughout 2018 to enhance angler success in the walk-in fishing area at Lees Ferry. Through AZGFD research efforts, they have noted a decline in rainbow trout numbers in Lees Ferry since early 2014 leading to a dramatic decline in angler catch rates. Although there has been some recovery in number and size of trout in the upper section where anglers travel by boat several miles upstream of Lees Ferry, the approximately three mile long walk-in area below Lees Ferry has not recovered to the extent that AZGFD has hoped for anglers.
One of the complications in managing the trout fishery in Lees Ferry is the need to be sensitive to the endangered humpback chub population sixty miles downriver at the Little Colorado River confluence. Fishermen that fish upriver from Lees Ferry typically use fly rods and release almost all of the fish they catch. Fishermen in the walk-in area often use spinning gear and are much more inclined to keep their catch. This stocking plan in the walk-in area below Lees Ferry has been well studied by AZGFD and they are confident that with the expected angler harvest in that area that this stocking plan will have minimal to no impact on the humpback chubs sixty miles downriver.
Lees Ferry is a top ten destination for anglers in the state according to the latest survey information of fishermen done by AZGFD. It is also a popular destination for anglers from across the nation to experience blue ribbon rainbow trout fishing in an incredibly beautiful location. If you have not fished Lees Ferry, I encourage you to make a plan to fish there!
It would seem that there would be no need for such a meeting that seeks to provide obvious benefit to anglers, but it is very important to give your input to this plan in order for AZGFD to move forward. They need to hear from you whether you think this is a good use of their time and budget. The meeting will be held at the old lodge across from Marble Canyon Lodge on U.S. Hwy. 89A in Marble Canyon on March 5th from 5-7pm.
Attending a public meeting in Marble Canyon on March 5th may not be realistic for many anglers. If you can’t attend, I strongly suggest that you send your comments about this proposal to stock more rainbow trout in Lees Ferry to as soon as possible so that your comments can be included in the public response to this plan. If you would like more information about this plan and the meeting , it is posted on the website in their news section initially posted on that website February 15, 2018.
I appreciate the AZGFD’s attention to the health of the Lees Ferry fishery and their desire to provide the best possible fishing opportunities for anglers. I believe that their efforts to provide a quality fishing experience are also incredibly beneficial to the businesses and residents in the Marble Canyon area that provide services to anglers that visit Lees Ferry. I hope that you will take the time to either attend the meeting, or share a written comment in support of this plan with AZGFD.
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Old 02-22-2018, 08:17 AM
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Ray Redstone Ray Redstone is offline
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Hey Guys,

In my opinion this stocking proposal at the walk in area is another bad idea and a waste of resources for a number of reasons. Yes, fishing in the walk in area was off for a number of years, but lately it has rebounded significantly with a very good ratio of larger and very healthy fish showing up in the mix now. I would say 14 inches is the average fish size right now with the real chance of being able to put a few in the 16 to 20 inch range in the net as well. I would argue that’s a high quality fishing experience that shouldn’t be tampered with by introducing factory fish.

As far as the ratio of fly fishers to spin fishers at the walk-in area, In my experience I would say on average the ratio is 85 to 90% fly fishers vs spin fishers on the water so im not following the logic that the stocking should be implemented to help a relatively small minority potentially have a better fishing experience. Respectfully, most of the walk in area is not exactly an ideal fishing environment for the casual spin fisher in my opinion anyway…

If they AZGFD does move forward with a stocking program they should be triploids so they have no chance of breeding and screwing up the genetic line of the wild and hard fighting strain of rainbow that are present now. The added bonus is triploids can get very big fast and reportedly can fight like Salmon..

That’s my 2 cents..Ray
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Old 02-22-2018, 10:36 AM
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mynameisjohne mynameisjohne is offline
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agree with Ray AND...

With all due respect to Terry Gunn and all he does for our sport in AZ, I wholeheartedly agree with Ray and am against stocking the Walk-In area of Lees Ferry for all his reasons and more. But I wouldn't stock triploid or diploid or mongoloid trout, either.

I have patronized many businesses in the Marble Canyon area many times each year since 1991. When I am forced to deal with the crowd that follows the stocking truck around, I will stop. And I really wish AZGFD would hold a meeting on this bad idea somewhere closer to a population center of more than 80?

Save the stockers for Woods Canyon and let those of us without a boat or resources for guided trips a chance to fish for Wild Trout!
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Old 02-26-2018, 12:46 AM
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aztip aztip is offline
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I am against stocking rainbow trout at the Lees Ferry Walk In Area for the following reasons:

1) Possibility of degrading genetics of the wild fish already present.

2) They will compete for resources with said wild fish.

3) Most of the anglers who come to the Ferry, even those who fish the walk-in, are looking for a blue-ribbon type wild fish experience and will release every fish they catch anyway.

Glad to see the department is interested in the Ferry, but I feel this is misguided. If they ever stock trout again at the Ferry, I hope they will try to resource a strain of trout that will improve the wild fish population already present rather than stocking than the generic put-and-take rainbows that are perfectly appropriate for most Arizona stockings, but could only do harm at Lees Ferry.
Somebody just back of you while you are fishing is as bad as someone looking over your shoulder while you write a letter to your girl.
---Ernest Hemingway
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Old 02-26-2018, 10:26 AM
Chasintrout Chasintrout is offline
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Posts: 59
I called G&f and they told me the trout would be sterile. I asked if they could sneak in some tigers, he laughed and said good idea but that probably wouldn't fly.

Last edited by Chasintrout; 02-28-2018 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 02-27-2018, 10:37 AM
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almostlost almostlost is offline
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Just because the ferry is not rebounding quick enough we have to force it? The walk in hasn't been great for a few years, so What? Nature takes time. It's getting better now and the wild fish will be stronger than ever.

I keep hearing the term "sport fishery." I think we need to
redefine the term, because wild, resilient fish seam much sportier to me than bloated hatchery stockers that could be weak and carry disease.

We either let nature do its thing by weeding out the weak and finding its balance, or we can keep forcing solutions to a non existent problem.
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Old 02-28-2018, 08:41 AM
Litespeed1 Litespeed1 is offline
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I wish there were re-set buttons with associated years that I could press at the Dock.
I would press 1986 and then guard the Ferry from "management" with my snarky attitude until I die.
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Old 02-28-2018, 01:06 PM
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Westy Westy is offline
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If AZG&F wants to help the Lee's Ferry trout fishery by stocking then plant some brown trout otherwise leave the sterile hatchery bows for the bass lakes and put and take areas.
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Old 03-01-2018, 09:53 AM
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T Gunn T Gunn is offline
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I understand the reluctance to stock fish at Lees Ferry. However, for reasons that I will not go into here, everyone who fishes Lees Ferry or plans to in the future should support this small stocking of trout in the lower stretch of the river...this is a very good thing that has been a long time coming. This time the stocking is time it might be a variety of whirling disease-resistant trout that will interbreed with the current population and pass whirling disease-resistance genetics into the rest of the population; even though whirling disease is not currently a problem at the Ferry, it could potentially become one in the future.
For this and many other reasons, I urge everyone to support this stocking for the Lees Ferry fishery.
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Old 03-02-2018, 11:16 PM
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almostlost almostlost is offline
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I've seen some beautiful fish pics from the walk in lately. Obviously there is still lower numbers than there has been for the last few years, but I still don't understand the reason to stock? Arent the fish currently residing there ones who have overcome whirling disease and therefore have years of adapting to the CR and are naturally stronger? I haven't been upriver lately either, but I've read that fishing is quite good, why do we need to stock the walk in? Why mess with nature's tenacity?
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