Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cutthroats on the South Fork

I have heard from two sources now, but have not seen an official report yet that the cutthroat numbers on the South Fork are down and that the rainbow numbers are up. Both sources have noted that recent electro surveys around Conant have resulted in an increased presence of rainbows in that stretch.

I fish the stretch from Irwin down to Spring Creek or Conant more than any other stretch of the river and in the last couple of years my non-empirical methods of just counting what I am catching had me catching cutthroats at a rate of about 7:1 to rainbows, and the number of rainbows I have been catching was decreasing yearly. My methods must have produced bad results as the electro shocking is showing otherwise (cutthroat have always been a bit easier to fool on a fly).

Anglers, if you fish the SF please keep all the rainbows you catch. Give them to friends, neighbors and colleagues, but don't just release them back into the river.


Anonymous said...

Bad news! Have they done much research on the existing regs for keeping rainbow/cuttbow (are many people actually keeping as many as they should)? It apparently isn't working?

jabberwock said...

I am not aware of any studies but I know not enough people are keeping the bow. The catch and release ethic taught and practiced for decades is hard to get over for many anglers.

Stinkpalm said...

What you heard is true. The past two years show big age-class increases in Rainbow populations on the SF. Anglers killing rainbows will make a small difference, but rainbows will continue to dominate the SF unless something significant is done to address the bigger picture issues: 1) de-watering local cutthroat spawning tributaries and 2) regulating flows to better reflect natural spawning conditions - instead of just demand from farmers.