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Old 05-15-2019, 10:05 AM
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12 Western states are participating in this Native trout challenge

I heard about this native trout program at the Native and Wild trout conference at AZGFD in April.

https://westernnativetroutchallenge.org/
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by joe View Post
I heard about this native trout program at the Native and Wild trout conference at AZGFD in April.

https://westernnativetroutchallenge.org/
Thanks for sharing Joe, there sure are a lot of strict rules about where you can and can't catch the native trout that qualify for the challenge.

In Arizona, for example, you aren't allowed to catch native Apache trout on native Apache tribal land...and in Montana only stocked native trout, rather than wild native trout will count.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:22 PM
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BME,

Thanks

For AZ, the WM Tribal land is private land. Public land is the area that applies to this program.
For MT, I was under the impression that they stopped their stocking program of rainbows, browns, and brooks, years ago. They may have to stock native trout in some areas to help recover them. It does sound wrong to me that wild native species do not count if they are not from designated areas . It seems like MT may be trying to bring attention to new native trout fishing areas. I noticed NM is directing anglers to certain areas also.
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Last edited by joe; 05-15-2019 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 05-16-2019, 10:02 AM
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Wild native trout are wild native trout, regardless of what stream they reside in and where its located. Why would it matter if its a national forest or Indian reservation in terms of where the fish was caught? Seems ridiculous considering now through social media this program is encouraging everyone to fish three/four streams in AZ for Apache Trout when there are a dozen other creeks that anglers can target Apache trout. That's a lot of increased pressure in some very small areas that people participating in this program are restricted too.
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Old 05-16-2019, 11:08 AM
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There has finally been an Arizona person to complete Utah's Heritage Trout Challenge (Cutt Slam) so there is hope that someone here will be able to complete this Western USA Heritage Trout challenge. TX may be the 13th state to take part when they re-establish their Rio Grande Cutthroat.
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Last edited by joe; 05-16-2019 at 11:23 AM.
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Old 05-16-2019, 11:28 AM
bgiordano bgiordano is offline
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Originally Posted by Westy View Post
Wild native trout are wild native trout, regardless of what stream they reside in and where its located. Why would it matter if its a national forest or Indian reservation in terms of where the fish was caught? Seems ridiculous considering now through social media this program is encouraging everyone to fish three/four streams in AZ for Apache Trout when there are a dozen other creeks that anglers can target Apache trout. That's a lot of increased pressure in some very small areas that people participating in this program are restricted too.
Joe is right that the Reservation is not public land. It is not managed by AZGFD, it is managed by the Tribe. The decisions on what should count in this challenge were made by the management agencies that are working with WNTI on it. I don't think the Tribe was a partnet of the WNTI challenge. In this case, the only AZ managed streams with Apache Trout that are certain to be pure fish were chosen by AZGFD for the challenge. Some creeks have hybrids and may contain pure fish. But when you are looking at applications, it's easier to narrow down the focus and not have to look at each individual fish someone catches to determine if it counts. By narrowing the streams, managers can more efficiently tell you if the fish is caught in a stream that contains pure native fish. I assure you that AZGFD chose the streams that they can definitively tell you it's a pure fish without having to look at every entry.

Also, consider the flip side. Let's say an angler is allowed to count a fish they catch in any stream that contains that native salmonid for this challenge. So an angler travels to a creek from a few states over and catches a fish but doesn't not have the fish ID skills to identify a hybrid, or even know hybrids exist. They catch a fish that looks, to them, like the native trout they are after. The submit it and then find out that it was a hybrid. Now they've "wasted" a trip on a fish that doesn't "count" towards the challenge. I can imagine the nasty phone calls either WNTI or the regional biologists would get for that.

By having designated streams or lakes for where you can catch these fish is an attempt to minimize those types of issues. This challenge is supposed to fun. Yes, it's not all encompassing. But it's intended to raise awareness of native fish and get people to places they would likely not have traveled to.

Your concern about pressure may be why Montana decided to go with their stocked only restrictions. But also could be due to the amount of hybrid populations a lot of the West has and the uncertainty with fish ID skills. I am not sure on that.

Each state created their own rules and what they wanted to have counted towards to the challenge. They manage the fisheries, so they came up what would be easiest to work with for challenge.

Last edited by bgiordano; 05-17-2019 at 10:39 AM.
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Old 05-16-2019, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by bgiordano View Post
Joe is right that the Reservation is not public land. It is not managed by AZGFD, it is managed by the Tribe. The decisions on what should count in this challenge were made by the management agencies that are working with WNTI on it. In this case, the only AZ managed streams with Apache Trout that are certain to be pure fish were chosen by AZGFD for the challenge. Some creeks have hybrids and may contain pure fish. But when you are looking at applications, it's easier to narrow down the focus and not have to look at each individual fish someone catches to determine if it counts. By narrowing the streams, managers can more efficiently tell you if the fish is caught. I assure you that AZGFD chose the streams that they can definitively tell you it's a pure fish without having to look at every entry.

Also, consider the flip side. Let's say an angler is allowed to count a fish they catch in any stream that contains that native salmonid for this challenge. So an angler travels to a creek from a few states over and catches a fish but doesn't not have the fish ID skills to identify a hybrid, or even know hybrids exist. They catch a fish that looks, to them, like the native trout they are after. The submit it and then find out that it was a hybrid. Now they've "wasted" a trip on a fish that doesn't "count" towards the challenge. I can imagine the nasty phone calls either WNTI or the regional biologists would get for that.

By having designated streams or lakes for where you can catch these fish is an attempt to minimize those types of issues. This challenge is supposed to fun. Yes, it's not all encompassing. But it's intended to raise awareness of native fish and get people to places they would likely not have traveled to.

Your concern about pressure may be why Montana decided to go with their stocked only restrictions. But also could be due to the amount of hybrid populations a lot of the West has and the uncertainty with fish ID skills. I am not sure on that.

Each state created their own rules and what they wanted to have counted towards to the challenge. They manage the fisheries, so they came up what would be easiest to work with for challenge.
Makes sense from the perspective of managing the participants work. Part of the experience in fly fishing I believe is exploring, doing some homework, mapping, scouting and trying to locate fish. All that's basically erased mostly with these maps and precise locations listed. Its fishing afterall.

I see in many states even more details provided as to where or how. I'd sure like to think this challenge broadcasted over social media wouldn't have detrimental impacts down the road.

It is good to see more awareness and dialogue about native trout and their importance coming forefront these days and all the efforts being made by these different agencies and organizations working together to help re-establish better native trout habitats and fisheries.
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Old 05-17-2019, 09:35 AM
bgiordano bgiordano is offline
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Originally Posted by Westy View Post
Makes sense from the perspective of managing the participants work. Part of the experience in fly fishing I believe is exploring, doing some homework, mapping, scouting and trying to locate fish. All that's basically erased mostly with these maps and precise locations listed. Its fishing afterall.

I see in many states even more details provided as to where or how. I'd sure like to think this challenge broadcasted over social media wouldn't have detrimental impacts down the road.

It is good to see more awareness and dialogue about native trout and their importance coming forefront these days and all the efforts being made by these different agencies and organizations working together to help re-establish better native trout habitats and fisheries.
Totally understand. I agree that the exploration/research is a good part of the fun. A lot of anglers don't see it that way. I get several calls and emails each week asking "what's in this creek?" or "which creek has (insert fish species or fish size)?"

I think they wanted to make this as accessible and straight forward as possible for both the management aspect and anglers who don't like that aspect.
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Old 05-20-2019, 10:22 AM
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Tyler Coleman will be in the top 5 awardees with Cameron Cushman in the top 10.
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