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Bear Lake Cutthroat Adipose Clip

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Bear Lake Cutthroat Adipose Clip
More than 170,000 cutthroat trout got a fin clipped and the ride of their life at the Kamas State Fish Hatchery recently.

These clipped cutthroats will soon be stocked into Bear Lake! If you catch a cutthroat with a clipped fin at Bear Lake, you can keep it. All non-clipped cutthroats —which are fish that naturally reproduce in the lake — must be released to help the lake's amazing cutthroat population grow.


Location: Lake Katchabigun

Once you know everything about anything its what you learn afterwards that counts.

Skunked, we never get skunked its the fish getting skunked as they just kept missing our lures.
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Re: [k2muskie] Bear Lake Cutthroat Adipose Clip In reply to
I wish they would let us just keep two cutthroats regardless of fin clips. I'm so sick of having to release Cutts up here after catching them in 40-100 feet of water and watching them go belly up. The birds pick them apart when we let them go. At least if we could keep any 2 cutthroat then we wouldn't be wasting the ones that won't survive. kills me to waste a good fish because it has all its fins. They all spawn the same (native and hatchery fish) when it's all said and done.

Just my opinion though...

Mike
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Re: [gmwahl] Bear Lake Cutthroat Adipose Clip In reply to
Not that I have a dog in this fight since I don't fish for cutthroats, but I was wondering along those same lines Mike. If the purpose of not keeping the native cutthroats is to keep the strain pure why are they planting cutthroats that will breed with the natives? If the plants are from BL then what difference does it make to keep either? Waste of fish when they go belly up if you ask me. Maybe they just want to keep the state birds well fed.
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Re: [gmwahl] Bear Lake Cutthroat Adipose Clip In reply to
Okay, I have to respectfully put my 2 bits in. I have fished Bear Lake for many years and we have released hundreds and hundreds of cutthroats over the years from all different depths from my boat. I have only had a handful go belly up. I think Scott and his crew are doing a great job managing that lake. It used to be that about 80% of the cuts had a clipped fin. Now it has completely reversed. About 80% are native.
I usually do not even take the fish out of the water. Just lean over the boat and give the lure a shake.
The DWR understands that there will be some mortality on fish that are released but when released properly most of them make it.
You can also use descender if the fish is having a problem getting back down.
Not looking for an argument, but this has just not been a problem on my boat.
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Re: [jazz] Bear Lake Cutthroat Adipose Clip In reply to
Ok, I should clarify what I said a bit. I live here in Garden City and fish for cutts and lakers year round. I've caught thousands of fish out of here (not counting ciscos) and yes, most make it, but one or two always seem to get hooked too deep while trolling or jigging (especially while jigging) and now it seems like yes, 80% of the cutts we catch are natives now. It just sucks that most of the deep hooked fish are natives and have to be tossed back. There is literally no difference in the size, fight, or genetics of the native and stocked fish, so why worry about preserving the wild hatched fish when the clipped ones still spawn in the same spots as the natives and produce native offspring.

Scott is a good friend and I will agree with you 100% about him doing a great job here on bear lake....I can't think of a better biologist and he puts his heart and soul into our fishery. We are lucky to have him here. He and I have talked about this before and he expressed that he has no fundamental issue with natives being kept if it were legal to do so. He told me that with all data gathered by Utah and Idaho F&G that they estimate only about 6000 Cutts get harvested from the entire lake each year anyway, so it can definitely sustain some harvest (8×19 mile lake) Apparently Idaho F&G needs to be convinced that the regulations could change without negatively affecting the Cutthroat population. The limit is only 2 anyway, so it's not like there would be a slaughter on them. Better than 9 out of 10 boats on the lake are not fishing anyway and out of the 10 percent that are, most get the skunk or only catch 1 or 2 anyway. Very few of us are consistently successful and wouldn't make much of an impact, if any.

I'm not really seeing too much effect from depth as much as I am seeing mortality from deep hooking fish, but occasionally a deep fish is exhausted by the time we get it to the boat and doesnt make it. It would be nice if we could put those fish to good use and keep them if it makes no difference in the scheme of things to the population of pure cutthroat trout in bear lake. After all, a big cutthroat is awsome on the grill and I love keeping a few from time to time.

That was my point....

Mike
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Re: [gmwahl] Bear Lake Cutthroat Adipose Clip In reply to
Smile I appreciate your point of view and understand it. Unfortunately it is what it is until they change the regulation. Sounds like you love that lake like I do. Happy fishing Fishin'.
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Re: [jazz] Bear Lake Cutthroat Adipose Clip In reply to
Yup, I'm happy no matter what and sure enjoy being fortunate enough to live on Bear Lake. Happy Easter to you and yours!

Mike
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Re: [gmwahl] Bear Lake Cutthroat Adipose Clip In reply to
I love fishing Bear Lake.

I have never really understood why they would harvest eggs out of cutts spawning on Swan Creek only to plant cutts from somewhere else out of a hatchery.

Are these hatchery fish from the eggs harvested at Swan Creek, and if so is it not feasible to just let these fish spawn naturally? To me it feels a bit like daylight savings time.

I get that other fisheries need cutthroat stock in order to plant in other waters, but at what cost?

I am not trying to stir the pot, just very curious regarding the plan for Bear Lake.

Maybe Scott can chime in.
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Re: [buckhunterhart] Bear Lake Cutthroat Adipose Clip In reply to
I hope I can answer some questions and clear some misunderstanding up.
1) All of the wild cutthroat trout eggs that are collected from Swan Creek MUST go back into Bear Lake with one exception. A few hundred eggs are kept every other year to replace captive Bear Lake Cutthroat Trout brood stock in the UDWR hatchery system. The brood stock then produces the eggs for stocking in other waters throughout the state that use Bear Lake Cutthroat Trout (Strawberry is one of those waters)
2) Only a fraction of the Bear Lake Cutthroat Trout that run up Swan Creek are actually used for eggs/milt collection. The other fish are measured, weighed, tagged and moved upstream so they can spawn naturally in the stream. This was not the case 15 or more years ago. At that time ALL the Cutthroat Trout were spawned. Having the ability to pass fish to spawn naturally is a testament to: A) the habitat projects in the tributary streams (both UT and ID streams) which has improved spawning and rearing habitat; B) fish screens which keep both adult Cutthroat Trout as well as juveniles/larvae out of the irrigation diversions; and C) intricate work with land developers which as now allowed more stable instream flows throughout the year.
3) The UDWR and IDF&G are currently evaluating the fin clip regulation on Bear Lake. It will be two years or so from now before a decision can be made since we do not know the number of fish produced in the streams or just how stable the population of adult cutthroat trout are. We would rather make a mistake on the side of caution before allowing anglers to harvest unclipped fish and potentially have the public harvesting all the large, adult, spawning-aged unclipped fish as part of their 2 fish limit. Bear Lake is water where Cutthroat Trout (and lake trout, Bonneville whitefish, etc.) grow slow and can live a long time. Its also unproductive, nutrient-wise, so Cutthroat Trout may not spawn every year since it takes a lot of energy for that fish to produce eggs/milt. Our tagging efforts show that some Cutthroat Trout may spawn every other year or even every third year.
4) So, why do we have the regulation if we are taking eggs and then stocking back those same fish? Someone asked whats the difference between the wild-produced fish versus the same fish reared in a hatchery. Actually, there is some evidence that the wild-produced fish indeed have a survival advantage over the hatchery-reared fish. This difference may not been large, but right now, again we don't know just how significant that margin of survival is. We hope to have that question answered when the regulation question is addressed.
5) It might feel as if you are "wasting" a fish if you deep-hook it and release it knowing it is going to die. However, even if that fish dies there are several biological uses for that fish. Raptor food, food for other fish (cutthroat and/or lake trout), the nutrients of that fish will be recycled in the Bear Lake food chain which is pretty sparse when compared to other waters. We know there is hooking mortality and that will be factored into any potential regulation change evaluation.

Obviously, I can't reply to all questions on here, but I hope that clears up any confusion or questions some people have had. Thanks for being supportive of a unique lake with an extremely unique fish population!
***BearLakeFishGuy***


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Re: [BearLakeFishGuy] Bear Lake Cutthroat Adipose Clip In reply to
Sincerely thank you for your response to this thread. Very informative and detailed.Smile


Location: Lake Katchabigun

Once you know everything about anything its what you learn afterwards that counts.

Skunked, we never get skunked its the fish getting skunked as they just kept missing our lures.
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Re: [BearLakeFishGuy] Bear Lake Cutthroat Adipose Clip In reply to
Thanks Scott for clearing that up for us.

I know you and I talked about it before once when I was ranting about killing some native fish after they were released and it helped to hear your explanation and your perspective. It will be cool if UT and ID decide that keeping non-clipped fish is ok, but if not I will still have just as much fun catching them anyway. I think that whatever it is that you and your apprentices are doing is working great. I have caught some truly big (up to 29") Cutts during the last 5 or so years and have been catching more of them as well. I guess it also explains why I've been catching so many more native fish compared to hatchery fish in comparison to past years.

I don't know if you hear it enough, but we are lucky to have you on the job up here and I for one am happy with the great job that the DWR is doing for fishing opportunities in this state. I've caught more variety and had more opportunities in the last 15 or so years than I had in the previous 34 years of fishing Utah, so I say keep up whatever it is you do!

Mike