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I’m new to fly fishing, but I’ve definitely caught the bug. I read everything that you guys write, but I seldom respond. Thanks in advance for any advise that anyone can provide.

My question for some of you that are wiser than I am is about the brown trout population in some of my favorite streams. I’ve heard some talk about an over-population of brown trout and the Utah Fishing Proclamation briefly mentions the need to harvest some fish. Is anyone on this site knowledgeable about what’s best for which rivers?
 

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One River that I know about is the Ogden river.
The catch and release fishing on the Ogden has become so popular, that the Brown Trout are stunted there. The DWR has suggested that anglers keep some of the Browns that they catch from the Ogden, which wshould help to thin them out and in return promote larger fish.
There are other waters which could use some fish thinning, but I will let someone that knows more about those waters tell you about them.
 

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For a general rule, DWR sets certain "slot limits" on waters that are intended to manage fish populations for the best fishing expereiences. Check the slot limit for where you intend to fish and follow that. If it allow you to keep two fish under 16 inches, and you will use them, then go ahead and keep two fish under 16 inches. Check the regs and let them be your guide.
 

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there are also signs the dwr puts up at some anlger access points on the rivers with this problem.
 

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What I don't understand is if fish are over populated in certain streams, why doesn't the DWR just shock the river and remove some of them. I guess it's easier said then done but I would love to participate in something like that but the problem is it's always during the weekdays.

The reason I say all this is because how many people that fly fish actually keep the fish. I rarely do but if I knew how to cook I might be inclined to keep a few more. Any good recipes guys?! Wrong forum to ask that... I know. :)
 

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jitterbug ive never thought about it like that, but the reason is probably to keep everyone happy. in case they did take some then the fishing became slow for the next season people would probably blame them for that so they probably just stay away from the entire issue. good point though. and yes it is true that most fly guys release their fish. for me it depends on the place. i think the problem is so many fly guys want the fishery to remain good so they release the fish when in turn it may be actually hurting the fishing (where the fish are stunted), but they are so used to C&R they release everything anyways.
 

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I generally don't keep fish when I fly fish because I don't carry a cooler of ice on the river and it is a pain to keep them fresh when you are wade fishing and on the move. When I do keep a few, it is planned out and usually at the request of my folks who like to eat trout.
 

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I actually kind of like having a large population of browns in a stream. I loved fishing the Ogden when I lived there. That canyon had over 5000 fpm. Granted, the fish are a bit smaller, but they are still fun to catch. I think that more anglers around here need to keep the little fish that they catch, and release the trophys. I know that this is sometimes hard to do. I once released a 23 inch brown back into the Weber (my largest fish on a fly rod). I did not even have a camera on me, but I felt kind of guilty if I kept him. Anyways, If we release our large fish, then they will repopulate, and their offspring will geneticly grow large.
 

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ScottyP said:
I generally don't keep fish when I fly fish because I don't carry a cooler of ice on the river and it is a pain to keep them fresh when you are wade fishing and on the move. When I do keep a few, it is planned out and usually at the request of my folks who like to eat trout.
browns are typically hardy fish. on the provo i had one on a stringer tied to my vest for about two hours once while moving up river and when i got out he was still alive.

Pavlik said:
I actually kind of like having a large population of browns in a stream. I loved fishing the Ogden when I lived there. That canyon had over 5000 fpm. Granted, the fish are a bit smaller, but they are still fun to catch. I think that more anglers around here need to keep the little fish that they catch, and release the trophys. I know that this is sometimes hard to do. I once released a 23 inch brown back into the Weber (my largest fish on a fly rod). I did not even have a camera on me, but I felt kind of guilty if I kept him. Anyways, If we release our large fish, then they will repopulate, and their offspring will geneticly grow large.
i definitely agree on letting large fish go on a certain extent. on rivers like the provo they should and that's why they have the two fish under 15" but they encourage you to keep your legal limit. however on the logan higher up (where the cutthroat are) i say keep every brown especially the big ones because of their predatory nature (they eat alot of the cutthroat fry). i know some dont like the way cutts fight but they are native and we have to keep them here.
 

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I'd never eat a brown trout out of the Ogden River. That's the main reason I release them. Water coming out of Pineview needs to be cleaned up somehow and the orange, rusty water that the water treatment place below the dam periodically dumps in the river cannot be good. Septic tank seepage and garbage dumped in the river, like grass clippings with remnant fertilizer on it, has got to be stopped. Who knows what else the canyon residences dump into that river.

Fish flesh absorbs that stuff like a sponge. We poison the trout and then they poison us. Look at all the reports around the country about eating fish from certain waters.

The Ogden cannot even sustain itself as a native cutthroat water because the browns are the only trout capable of living in that water anymore. YUCK!
 

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HighNDry said:
I'd never eat a brown trout out of the Ogden River. That's the main reason I release them. Water coming out of Pineview needs to be cleaned up somehow and the orange, rusty water that the water treatment place below the dam periodically dumps in the river cannot be good. Septic tank seepage and garbage dumped in the river, like grass clippings with remnant fertilizer on it, has got to be stopped. Who knows what else the canyon residences dump into that river.

And below the canyon, they pick up things like Marijuana, meth, and maybe even a bullet or two.
 

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pavlik; you theory on large browns isn't correct- Too many fish (too much much bio mass for the river to support) = small fish no matter what spawns.
 

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Fishermen take BIG fish home. Big fish eat little fish. Take out the big fish, you have left, lots of little fish. Imagine that!
 

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James said:
Fishermen take BIG fish home. Big fish eat little fish. Take out the big fish, you have left, lots of little fish. Imagine that!
This theory, although popular among many anglers, is simply not necessarily true. If you have a productive fishery and fish numbers are optimal, the harvest of big fish is replaced by the growth of small fish. In other words, the number of large fish harvested in one year is not more than the number of small fish growing and replacing those harvested fish.

"Fishermen often underestimate how fast trout can grow and overestimate the time it takes to grow a trophy trout. Large trout are most often a function of fast growth rather than old fish. Several good trout streams in southern Utah lack spawning habitat and are therefore stocked with fingerling brown trout. Brownt trout of known ages commonly reach sizes of 18-20 inches in 3-4 years. We have measured brook trout from Boulder Mountain lakes that reached 5 pounds after surviving only two winters (3 summers of growth). Brook trout stocked as 3-inch fingerlings and at a rate of 50 per acre, grow to a size of about 13 inches and 1.0 pounds in a year. If the stocking rate is increased to 100 per acre, growth decreases to about 0.5 pounds in a year. If growth is rapid, then harvest of trout by fishermen is not a great threat to quality fishing. In either Boulder Mountain lakes or brown trout streams, moderate annual harvest of 16-18 inch trout is replaced annually by younger fish quickly growing to this same size. Even if 80-90% of the 16-18-inch trout are harvested, they are replaced each year and there are still some fish left to potentially grow even larger."

Someone asked why the DWR simply doesn't shock the streams with too many fish and move them somewhere else....the reasoning why they don't is simple: it is not cost effective. Such a shocking and transplanting practice would have to be done on a yearly basis and could never cease...on the other hand, if anglers would simply harvest some of the excess fish (regardless of size), trout would have more potential for growth.

Trout growth/size is more of a product of environment than age...the number of fish in a system directly affects the amount of growth because the environmnet can only support so much biomass--either the biomass is made up of lots of small fish, medium numbers of medium-sized fish, or few numbers of relatively large fish.
 

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Jitterbug said:
What I don't understand is if fish are over populated in certain streams, why doesn't the DWR just shock the river and remove some of them. I guess it's easier said then done
Yep. Easier said than done.

Issues arise when thinking about doing what you proposed:

1. What do you do with the fish you shock?
A. Kill them? (this would make too many people upset with the "waste")
B. Transplant them? (You must complete disease certification prior to transplanting fish from any water. This is not any easy process)

2. Will it work?
A. Shocking is not an effective way to remove fish on a large scale. On most streams with an overpopulation of brown trout, this would barley be considered a "band-aid". You could remove a few hundred (even a few thousand) fish, and by the next year through recruitment those fish would be replaced. Man-hours and money would become a significant problem in trying to keep control of the population by electroshocking methods.
B. Is there a more effective method for removing the fish? Yes -- rotenone.
i. Would the public support a complete kill to the stream in question? Rotenone is not selective. It kills everything.

3. Regulations. Regulations may be the best alternative to effectively manage the population of fish. But, with regulations, fishermen determine the effectiveness.
 

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Shock them, kill them, then take them to the prisons, jails and homeless shelters and let them munch down on some good protein. They don't have to ask for turkey donations every Thankgiving!
 
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