Author Topic: Med Hat Fisheries Round Table  (Read 901 times)

ishootbambi

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Med Hat Fisheries Round Table
« on: March 29, 2012, 07:37:34 PM »
hey guys....although i definitely consider myself a hunter much more than a fisherman, i have been known to drown the odd worm.  last night terry clayton, srd fisheries biologist for southern alberta was in medicine hat for a round table discussion with the general public.  i have a report on what went down for those interested.


a good chunk of time was spent with anglers upset at the commercial guys. facts are that the 2011 winter had a well below harvest considering how much is available. we are down to 5 guys left with commercial licences and a lot of water was unfishable this winter due to unsafe ice. the highest southern water harvest was lake newell with an allowable catch of 200 000 lbs of whitefish.....188 000 were taken.

the usual complaints of how commercial guys are stealing from us all were voiced and how it should be stopped. i think a lot of guys in that room were surprised to learn that whitefish were introduced simply to have a commercial fishery, and that whitefish breed plenty fast enough to keep up to the harvest. another thing that got guys thinking was hearing that if the commercial harvest stopped, there MAY be a danger to the pike and walleye fisheries due to overcrowding and stress, and whitefish potentially eating the eggs of other gamefish.

penalties for overharvest were explained...and most agreed that it was too lenient. also explained is that someone from srd is nearly always there monitoring the commercial fishery on the days it is actually happening. one thing ive always found peculiar is how srd views pike and walleye as gamefish....but whitefish are not....at least in terms of the commercial fishery.
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ishootbambi

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Re: Med Hat Fisheries Round Table
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2012, 07:38:53 PM »
next up was bullshead. there are no plans in the near future to lift the quality fishery title from that lake. support for it is nearly unanimous, but police outpost seems to be split more down the middle. for now police remains a quality fishery, but there are no guarantees it will stay that way. anyway, about bullshead....some discussion about the massive numbers of fish lost over the spillway last spring when water levels rose to heights never seen before. local groups are going to devise a plan to erect a trap of some sort at the bottom with the plan that volunteers may be able to transport the fish back up into the lake. for now, its a long way off, but if something develops on that front, im sure it will get reported here. we were told that any such idea would have to happen down in the creek as the department does not want the lake spillway altered. in the mean time, it has been decided that bullshead will be stocked in fall rather than spring to minimize losses.

also, i had terry confirm the reason that bullshead is off limits during winter. it is to protect the quality fishery. because the vast majority of fish caught are returned to the lake, keeping anglers away in the cold winter months only makes sense. damage to gill tissues can happen fast at temps only barely below freezing. given that the wind howling in this part of alberta is the norm, and most winters reach temps of -20 pretty regular, mortality on released fish during those weather extremes could be significant. same goes for the bait ban. fish taken on bait often have the hook deeper in the throat and mortality is higher.
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ishootbambi

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Re: Med Hat Fisheries Round Table
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2012, 07:39:41 PM »
next topic was reesor. the suckers are outcompeting the rainbows for food resulting in stunted unhealthy fish. the suckers have entered the lake through the inlet canal from battle creek. the grate preventing that is in unknown condition, but its suspected to be faulty. same with the grate on the outlet...unknown condtion. a possible solution is to introduce browns too possibly keep the suckers at bay. it is unlikely that large brood stock would survive the trip that far from the hatchery, so IF it happens, it will be more of a long term plan. IF it happens, there likely will be restrictive limits on the harvest of browns....at the very least until browns have grown to enough size to be a legitimate predator to the suckers. it was agreed that rainbows and browns do coexist in several lakes, so rainbows likely would still be stocked as well as the browns.

i regards to this, terry made it clear that he is not opposed to this plan, and that there is no negative side effects to be concerned with IF brown trout were introduced to reesor lake. he made it clear that it is not on his list of priorities at this time, but if he sees enough interest from local anglers to initiate this plan that it is quite doable.

i asked him straight out....will 100 emails be enough to get your attention?....and his response was that it would likely only take a dozen or so to put it on his list of things to do. if you would like to see brown trout in reesor, send terry clayton an email with your thoughts.
opinions are like sphincters......everyone has one, and they all stink!

ishootbambi

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Re: Med Hat Fisheries Round Table
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2012, 07:40:24 PM »
cavan was discussed next. the biggest problem with cavan lake is trying to keep water in it. i actually knew a little more about the problems than terry did. i explained that cavan is not actually a lake, but an irrigation reservoir. the water users have first rights to the lake and having fish in there is a bonus that we get from it. i explained the political issues involved in it, where the water comes from and goes to, and why the farmers down the hill get first rights to the water.

this was a thread here on AO a while back. with enough political pressure, cavan lake could be kept full of water and the irrigation users would not have to give up anything in return. if anyone wants more details on this, send me a pm and ill get you the up to date info. i havent heard anything new on this front in a year or so, so i wont type what i know as there may be some new developments i am unaware of.

another thing regarding cavan that didnt come up at the meeting was that the medicine hat fish and game association has agreed in the past to donate the money to purchase an aerator for cavan if water levels drop too low and winterkill is imminent. again, that was a year and a half ago, so i suppose i shouldnt say that it holds true today, although i suspect it does.
opinions are like sphincters......everyone has one, and they all stink!

ishootbambi

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Re: Med Hat Fisheries Round Table
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2012, 07:41:06 PM »
sturgeon also were discussed. there is a university student that is working on tracking sturgeon using telemetry tags. there are 123 (iirc) sturgeon that have been tagged locally with the electronic tags. there are several locations all along the river that are picking up the signals from these fish. one fish tagged at koomati (suffield) went all the way to lake diefenbaker over the winter, and appeared to be spawning near the grand forks. thats some miles. another fish was tagged near the forks and a week later was recaptured (by angling) near whiterock coulee. a week later, it was caught again at the rattlesnake hole (olechowski for locals). there were several other fish that really didnt move anywhere. some spent the entire year in a very small stretch of river. there seems to be no rhyme or reason as to why the fish travel, stay or otherwise.

further, 2 local guys have been tagging fish for a few years now. they have tagged (spaghetti tags) over 1200 fish. terry believes the sturgeon population to be in much better shape than what was thought just five years ago, and the population seems to be increasing nicely. from accounts from both terry and the university student, and the two local guys....all age groups seem to be plentiful right from wee little 10 inchers all the way up to the great big lunkers everyone dreams of catching.

from reports by the local guys, srd, and the roomful of local anglers, the rate of catching sturgeon that are tagged seems to run between 10 and 20 percent. very good news on all fronts for sturgeon in the SSR.
opinions are like sphincters......everyone has one, and they all stink!

BruceW

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Re: Med Hat Fisheries Round Table
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2012, 05:29:19 PM »
Thanks for posting, that was real interesting.  I'm kinda like you, some years I question why I even buy a fishing licence, but when times available, I always enjoy fishing.

Was anything said about Spruce or Sherburne(Grassy)? 

ishootbambi

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Re: Med Hat Fisheries Round Table
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2012, 11:50:42 PM »
no discussion on sherburne/grassy, but spruce was mentioned briefly.  it appears that all the walleye are gone, and catching brooks is becoming more difficult.  really very little info on it.
opinions are like sphincters......everyone has one, and they all stink!