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Old 10-20-2015, 11:13 AM
M Lopez M Lopez is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Pinetop, Arizona
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All three of those pics likely stockers. The caudal and anal fins look a little off shape in the rainbow pics, but maybe that is only due to being confined in the net. The Apache is definitely a stocker.

Worn fins, especially on both lobes of the caudal fin, the dorsal fin, and often the pectoral fins is a sure sign that the fish is a stocker. You can sometimes see crooked fin rays in fins that have grown back on a stocker that has been in the stream/lake for a long time. But fin wear is not always a sign of a stocked fish. Some hatcheries grow trout with awesome looking fins and occasionally with some decent color. AGFD hatcheries have begun to grow trout in lower densities (which helps reduce fin wear, but more importantly reduces diseases and water quality issues) and using higher quality feed (which should improve color, but more importantly healthier fish).

Regarding the reproduction of stockers in the wild, ALL the rainbow trout raised in an AZ Game and Fish hatchery for the last 4-5 years are sterile triploids. Thus, all reproduction by rainbow trout in Arizona are only from already wild trout, or rainbow trout that were stocked before AGFD switched to triploid rainbows, or stocked from a non-AGFD hatchery. The cutthroat, brook, brown, Apache, and grayling raised in AGFD hatcheries are still diploid and viable to spawn.

And there is no successful reproduction of trout (any species) in a lake in Arizona. They definitely try (except for the triploid rainbows) but the conditions do not allow the eggs to survive. Only where there is a flowing stream into the lake (or entirely in the stream) has there be wild trout reproduction in Arizona.

And I generally agree with SAT, keeping an occasional wild fish won't hurt the fishery, but keeping stringers of them likely will. But it also depends upon the stream. The wild rainbows at Lees Ferry definitely need thinned out, as there is not enough food for them to grow to the sizes that we'd like to see there. But there is nothing wrong with keeping a couple of small wild trout for dinner while backpacking on a remote stream.
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  #22  
Old 10-27-2015, 10:46 AM
Kelly Meyer Kelly Meyer is offline
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Another thing to consider is the species of trout in the system. Also, where was the fish located in refence to stocking locations. In the white mountains when looking at stocked areas there are almost no wild rainbows (they are present futher down on the Black). East Fork Black (99.9% of wild trout will be browns), LCR at Greer (99.9% of wild trout will be browns), LCR at Sheeps (95% of Apaches at Beaver ponds or below) will be stocked (99% of Apaches above beaver ponds) will be wild. Silver Creek, no wild trout. I am not familar with the rim strems but they may have similar rules of thumb.
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