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Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot...

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Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts
Went to Scofield Friday afternoon July 5 with Catchinon. The water was so high that it was hard to find a place to fish from shore. Between the water up in the willows or abrupt drop offs into the lake, it took us a little while to find access. We finally found a spot along the east side south of the dam arm where the highway runs close to the lake.

We got poles in the water, initially fishing organically (night crawlers) and powerbait. I caught one rainbow on a worm, then a cutthroat on a powerboat, both fished off the bottom. I switched one rig over to a silver stBdRd size Jakes with no luck. I traded that for a gold Jakes and finally caught a couple more cutthroat. All in all, 4 fish in about 2.5 hours of fishing. Not what we hoped, but what I would call fair fishing.

All fish were in the 10-13” range. We did have a conversation about why we rarely catch any fish in or above the slot at Scofield. Is it because they get harvested before they get that big? Should there be some slot sized fish stocked? One would think there would be a fair mix of fish in sizes across the slot (15-22”), but we aren’t seeing it. Do we need to be more patient? Were we in the wrong place at the right time?

Does the DWR publish any science-based info on gill netting surveys? I mean ranges of lengths and weights by species?

Don’t mean to reignite the Scofield debate, but do want to catch some bigger trout. Thoughts?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

joatmon
jack of all tackle, master of none
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Re: [joatmon] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
My best guess is because the abundant chubs are eating so much of the available food that the trout have a difficult time growing large enough to switch to a diet of eating fish. The cutts and rainbows I caught in Scofield last year and the year before were not only on the smaller side but were also on the skinny side with large heads.


"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
- Zane Grey
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Re: [joatmon] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
Time to
Poison NOW!!! If any of us 60+ YO anglers want to see any change it’s rotenone time. Pony up DWR and quit wasting time with tiger muskies and wipers. Totally agree with PBH.
Just one more brookie........
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Re: [joatmon] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
Tried to edit and things went crazy. PM me if you would like.
(This post was edited by SBW on Jul 8, 2019, 9:53 PM)
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Re: [kentofnsl] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
kentofnsl wrote:
My best guess is because the abundant chubs are eating so much of the available food that the trout have a difficult time growing large enough to switch to a diet of eating fish. The cutts and rainbows I caught in Scofield last year and the year before were not only on the smaller side but were also on the skinny side with large heads.

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Fishrmn

"I tolerate with the utmost latitude the right of others to differ from me in opinion."
— Thomas Jefferson

"The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits."
— Albert Einstein
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Re: [brookieguy1] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
brookieguy1 wrote:
Time to
Poison NOW!!! If any of us 60+ YO anglers want to see any change it’s rotenone time. Pony up DWR and quit wasting time with tiger muskies and wipers. Totally agree with PBH.



☝︎☝︎☝︎☝︎☝︎☝︎


<{{{{°>


Fishrmn

"I tolerate with the utmost latitude the right of others to differ from me in opinion."
— Thomas Jefferson

"The difference between genius and stupidity is; genius has its limits."
— Albert Einstein
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Re: [joatmon] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
joatmon wrote:

All fish were in the 10-13” range.
One would think there would be a fair mix of fish in sizes across the slot (15-22”), but we aren’t seeing it. Do we need to be more patient?

Do we need to be more patient? YES
Unfortunately, we shouldn't have to wait this long. I mean, it's been 20+ years. And the current plan calls for more patience.

You have to remember that big fish (particularly trout) are the product of FAST GROWTH. When you have a system that is already at (or over!) carrying capacity, growth rates will be slow. Scofield has a lot of chubs. Too many chubs. Chubs directly compete with the trout for food -- in fact, chubs out-compete the trout. This means those trout will grow slow. Slow growth = small fish. This is why many anglers wanted Scofield poisoned. When fish are stocked into a lake after a poisoning, they experience FAST fish growth! Had the lake been poisoned last summer, then restocked with those same 11 -12" fish last fall, you'd be catching 16" trout today vs. the 13" trout. How's that for patience?

You also have to remember that fish are not mammals. Fish do not always get bigger as they age, like mammals typically do. Sometimes fish "grow" smaller. As population density increases, average size decreases. You then end up with a "stunted" population, which means that you have fish reaching sexual maturity at smaller than normal sizes.

So, all of this means that the answer to your question ("do we need to be more patient") is a definitive YES. The current management plan will not work quickly. It is a slow process and will demand patience from anglers.

The problem with anglers is that we are not patient.

Many anglers wanted Scofield poisoned. When fish are stocked into a lake after a poisoning, they experience FAST fish growth because the direct competition from chubs has been removed (or severely reduced). Had the lake been poisoned last summer, then restocked with those same 11 -12" trout, plus wipers, plus tiger musky last fall, you'd be catching 16" trout today vs. the 13" trout. How's that for patience?



joatmon wrote:
Does the DWR publish any science-based info on gill netting surveys? I mean ranges of lengths and weights by species?

While they may not "publish" gill netting results to the public, they absolutely have the data from those annual surveys. This information would be easy to obtain simply by requesting it from regional biologists that manage Scofield.

The most important information you could ask for would NOT be the lengths and weights of the fish sampled, but rather the condition factor (K factor). This is the metric that tells the biologists how the fish are doing. It is a number that can quickly let any of us know whether the fish are slowly dying, or thriving. It would be even more beneficial if we also had the K factor for the fish when they were stocked last summer / fall, and then could compare the K factor from this spring.

A K factor of less than 1 would mean the fish are in poor health.

that's the info you want.



I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Raymond Stantz

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Re: [PBH] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
PBH wrote:
joatmon wrote:


While they may not "publish" gill netting results to the public, they absolutely have the data from those annual surveys. This information would be easy to obtain simply by requesting it from regional biologists that manage Scofield.

The most important information you could ask for would NOT be the lengths and weights of the fish sampled, but rather the condition factor (K factor). This is the metric that tells the biologists how the fish are doing. It is a number that can quickly let any of us know whether the fish are slowly dying, or thriving. It would be even more beneficial if we also had the K factor for the fish when they were stocked last summer / fall, and then could compare the K factor from this spring.

A K factor of less than 1 would mean the fish are in poor health.

that's the info you want.

I wish the DWR would put the gill net results from the different reservoirs on there website so the public can see them. The post the big game survey data, management plans ect … but I don't know why they don't do the same for fishing. I wish at least they would post the gill net surveys on the more popular lakes, Willard, Strawberry, Scofield or Jordanele
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Re: [joatmon] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
joatmon wrote:
Does the DWR publish any science-based info on gill netting surveys? I mean ranges of lengths and weights by species?

Did you see this post:
http://www.bigfishtackle.com/...et%20survey;#1072027


BFT administrator and moderator

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Re: [joatmon] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
I have many reservations on how they manage certain waters in Utah not complaining but I think they like to play mother nature a little bit to much with all of the steryl fish they are planting. A good stocking program along with mother nature seems to be a better solution. Don't get me wrong I love Wipers but I think multiple steryl species in any body of water is just not the way to go. The reason that I say that is steryl fish grow at a more rapid rate and I think that the forage fish have a hard time in getting good numbers.

Thanks

Randy

"The only bad day fishing is the day you don't go"
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Re: [fish_fanatic] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
fish_fanatic wrote:
I have many reservations on how they manage certain waters in Utah
... to much with all of the steryl fish they are planting.... steryl fish grow at a more rapid rate and I think that the forage fish have a hard time in getting good numbers.


??

Reasons to use sterile fish:

A. population numbers are 100% controllable. If you have too many, you cut back stocking. If you have too few you increase stocking. If they cause an unintended problem, you stop stocking. The risk with sterile fish is controllable. This is assuming that the sterile fish really are sterile.

B. Control "forage" or "non desirable" fish.


The problem with the comment by fish_fanatic is that in most Utah waters those "forage" fish are not necessarily desirable, which is why the hybrid (wiper) is being stocked in the first place -- to reduce (remove?) those fish. "Getting good numbers" of those forage fish isn't what the managment plan is calling for.



One more thing: letting mother nature take her course is usually not desirable either. If you let mother nature take her course, you end up with a situation like Scofield or Yuba. Capr and chubs would dominate, and you'd end up with a fishery that nobody fishes. Remember: Mother nature does not balance. Rather, she provides opportunities for species to exploit. Once a species latches on they don't let go and level off at a balance point -- they continue to go, and go, and go until the system breaks. Mother nature is not a nice person. She's a real witch.



I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Raymond Stantz

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Re: [PBH] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
PBH I respectfully disagree with you on a couple things, 1 that Scoefield is a product of Mother nature and 2 that most forage fish are undesirable. I agree that chubs are a huge nuisance in many waters but in Starvations case it is very hard to find a Chub and I attribute this to the species make up in the lake. Yellow Perch and crappie to me are fantastic forage fish and do well with Walleye. But show me any water where chubs do well with Walleye I can't say I know of one. The truth of the matter is that chubs do well with Trout, Walleye not so much a good example is Jordanelle and Deer creek. Point being is that Cutthroat seem to have more trouble with undesirable forage fish than others and I wish Utah wasn't stuck on them so much. Some of our best fishing waters I Utah have few if any Cutthroat yes I know Strawbery but I am curious about how many fisherman actually target them. From our forum posts it seems that the majority target other species and Cutthroat basically get in the way.

Flaming Gorge is in my thought a water that is a great example of a good stocking program working in conjunction with mothernature.

Thanks

Randy

"The only bad day fishing is the day you don't go"
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Re: [PBH] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
"Mother nature is not a nice person. She's a real witch."

They don't call her a mother for nothing.ShockedBlush

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~~~}<(((((((((°< ><=;> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ }<((((°>

"Blessings upon all that hate contention, and love quietness, and virtue, and Angling." - Izaak Walton
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Re: [joatmon] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
 From what I have heard from friends on boats and a few bank tanglers they are doing well on good sized trout. Very healthy trout.

Some may not be happy about the direction the DWR went with Scofield but it has worked at many other waters already. And it is benefiting the trout anglers the most.

Your about to witness the best fishing at scolfield in nearly 3 decades. As soon as the chubs are under control everything else will thrive. And it won't take long with wipers in there. and the Tiger musky will clean up the adults.

Good luck to you next time. Try to find a spot on the west side. trick is don't fish the bottom. You will probably do much better.

fnfCool
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Re: [fishinfool] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
fishinfool wrote:
Very healthy trout.

Any idea what the K factor of those trout was?



I couldn't help it. It just popped in there.
Dr. Raymond Stantz

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Re: [fish_fanatic] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
fish_fanatic wrote:

Some of our best fishing waters I Utah have few if any Cutthroat yes I know Strawbery but I am curious about how many fisherman actually target them. From our forum posts it seems that the majority target other species and Cutthroat basically get in the way.

I target them. I fished it yesterday and we caught 40 cutthroat.


"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
- Zane Grey
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Re: [fish_fanatic] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
"From our forum posts it seems that the majority target other species and Cutthroat basically get in the way."

You have been reading too many reports from kokeaholics, bless their hearts. To each his own. Do whatever you want to do. I like catching a variety of species and enjoy going with those who specialize so I experience and learn different things. Just my take.

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((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~~ }<(((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°> ~ ~ }<((((°>
~~~}<(((((((((°< ><=;> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ }<((((°>

"Blessings upon all that hate contention, and love quietness, and virtue, and Angling." - Izaak Walton
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Re: [PBH] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
I don't think they know anything about the K factor. But they said they weren't the skinny big head ones they have caught in the past couple years they actually looked good. And they didn't catch as many chubs.

Looks to be working.

fnfCool
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Re: [joatmon] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
Thanks for all of the responses. I realize there are differences in opinions on how Scofield should be managed and how the current approach is working. I also appreciate everyone's passion for the reservoir and fishing in general.

I did speak with one of the DWR's SE region fishery biologists today. I asked specifically about the slot and what they are seeing in their gill net studies. He said they see quite a number of trout below the slot, only a few in the slot, then again quite a few over the slot. He attributed that to rapid growth of trout once they reach the slot size. I had read in a Utah State University report that trout become strongly piscivorous (?) when they reach about 14 inches in length or so. Thus the slot starting at 15 inches. I asked him about that and he said yes, they start eating more chubs at that size and put on rapid growth.

As for chubs, he said the numbers in the gill nets now are similar or approaching what they see in other successful SE region fisheries like Joe's Valley Reservoir. He thinks the fishing in Scofield is poised to really improve this fall. They are stocking rainbows again (over 31,000 from 10-12" last year), and also stocked 26,000 larger (10-12") tiger trout this year. He said those tiger trout will start eating chubs now and up to about 4" in size, which will happen late summer. He thinks those tiger trout could be up to 17" by late fall and into ice fishing season.

He said fishing in the summer is best very early or very late in the day, and mentioned speaking with someone who recently caught a couple of trout, a wiper, and a tiger musky from shore near the campground by the dam arm.

While I would still like to see the hard numbers from the survey for myself, I am encouraged by the discussion I had today. I think Scofield is headed in the right direction, just may be a little more time to get back to what it once was. From my experience, it is already much better than just a few years ago. I may need to change tactics or get out on the water to better assess the conditions.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

joatmon
jack of all tackle, master of none
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Re: [joatmon] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
joatmon wrote:

I did speak with one of the DWR's SE region fishery biologists today. I asked specifically about the slot and what they are seeing in their gill net studies. He said they see quite a number of trout below the slot, only a few in the slot, then again quite a few over the slot. He attributed that to rapid growth of trout once they reach the slot size.

Interesting statement. Curious as to why Scofield is so different than Strawberry. My experience at Strawberry is that I catch at least 95% in the slot.


"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
- Zane Grey
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Re: [kentofnsl] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
Size difference between the two bodies of water with one program in it's infancy and the other well past maturity. MayBe
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Re: [Dog-lover] Scofield July 5 - Report and Slot Thoughts In reply to
Probably so and related to that is that the water levels at Strawberry are more stable and as a result I believe it is more productive in growing fish.


"If I fished only to capture fish, my fishing trips would have ended long ago."
- Zane Grey