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Muir Lake - Tim Doskoch comments


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I recently talked to Tim, and commented on the continuing efforts to roust the poache..uninformed at Muir, and a little report on some of the fishies.

 

His reply was both well written, and quite informative regarding the future of our fishery, and our role in that stewardship.

 

Attached below are my original mail to Tim, and his response - and it is posted here with his permission.

 

Cheers -

 

Greg

 

 

-----Original Message-----

From: Scratchley, Greg [mailto: <<SNIPPED>>]

Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 8:35 AM

To: 'Tim Doskoch'

Subject: RE: NLFT.org link

 

Thanks Tim!  (By the way - the baitfishers were out in force yesterday at Muir... I donned my 'lone-ranger' hat again and runned off a few.)

 

The fish are still lookin good - and the parasites appear to be lessening - I only had 1 with a boil yesterday out of six.

 

Interestingly enough - biggest fish was at the end of the day from the dock while waiting for my buddy to come in from the water.

 

16 1/2 and he looks to have survived a heron/cormorant in the spring - BIG chunk taken out of the back (Adipose fin right to spine) and grown over.  Speaks well for the overall health of the lake when big dogs like that are around.

 

Hope to see you out there soon!

 

Cheers -

 

Greg

 

 

----Original Message-----

From: Tim Doskoch [mailto: <<SNIP>>]

Sent: August 16, 2004 8:17 PM

To: 'Scratchley, Greg'

Subject: RE: NLFT.org link

Greg,

 

Not a problem. What do you mean by out in force? Was there like 3 or 4 (or more) or did they refuse to stop bait fishing? So far everyone I have caught bait fishing has cleared off as soon as I explained the rules.

   

I might sound a little philosophical when talking about birds and bait fishers but I am always forced to look at the big picture.  We have had 20,000 fished stocked in the lake in the last 2 years and we are always going to lose some to poachers, birds or hooking mortality. However, all three losses combined don't compare anywhere near to a month or two of anglers following the 5 fish-any size-allowing natural bait regulations that are found at other potholes. As long as the catch rates and growth rates are good, things are running well.

 

I love to watch the Osprey flying over the water, sure they take some fish but they work for it. I haven't seen any cormorants out at Muir and I don't think the herons are into the trout - I think they are more into the minnows and frogs. The Herons I see out there really concentrate on the shallows close to shore. I have seen osprey at Muir and they can gouge a fish pretty deep when they try to grab it so it would not be surprising to see a wounded fish. Come to think of it I have seen one or two wounded fish there myself.

 

Getting back to growth rates, we actually have an agreement with the biologist to revisit the stocking number if growth rates start to decline. After all, there is only so much biomass in a lake and it will only support so many fish. So if 5700 a year turns into too many he has agreed to reduce the amount. I would hate to get into a situation where the lake becomes over grazed and the fish start taking 5 - 6 years to get to 60 cm instead of the 2 -3 years that is projected. I sometimes think that people forget the first stocking was in May of 2003 with fish that averaged 10cm. The fish from the original stocking may well average 37cm by the end of October - a scant 18 months after the initial stocking.

 

Then there is the other side of the coin where people are going to start complaining next year about those 60cm fish getting harvested. While it will be a shame to see them go, keeping too many of them around will stunt the growth rates of younger fish. To me the lake will be in its prime when we can go there for an evening and catch 3 or 4 fish that are a fat 50cm. Hell, I drive to the Bow for that kind of fishing.

 

To make the lake a trophy fishery one would have to reduce both the fishing pressure and the number of fished stocked. This would allow for very fast growth rates while reducing mortality - say about 5 or so anglers per day on the lake. I don't even think that we have the growing season for such a fishery and the only ones I have heard about are in southern Alberta where the guy charges $300 - $600 a day to fish C&R. Besides the whole idea is for the project to be public and get people thinking about how being proper stewards makes for better fishing.

 

Think of what we have accomplished with Muir, it is becoming apparent to people that by angling in a way that allows for safe release and by not fishing strictly for harvest; we can experience high catch rates. By next year we could have similar catch rates and fish that average double the size of those 20cm put and take fish.  Again we are teaching people that by acting as stewards of the resource there are more and better fish for all. Then while we take away bait fishing, we add an education centre that shows people how to use artificial lures to catch trout. So now people that thought trout mostly were caught on worms and marshmallows learn about all the different animals that trout feed on. Eventually they will realize that they also have to be stewards of the habitat as well. Its all good.

 

I can go on and on about this stuff - but hey I have had my head wrapped around this project for almost 4 years.

 

Just so you know - we should have additional signs explaining the regulations installed at the lake before the end of the month - 3 on each side of the lake. They will be modeled on the signs that are found at most entry points to the C&R foothills water.

 

Hopefully they will take away those 'I didn't read the regs' excuses.

 

Cheers,

 

Tim

 

 

 

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I agree with your sentiments regarding safety confronting abusers. Most are harmless - and any that might be a problem - well... I tend to be very brave when I'm in my tube (WAY out of casting reach.)

 

:)

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We actually have a report a poacher sign at the lake now. However it is positioned to catch people coming down the walk of fame and education centre. Posted Image

 

We might reposition it next spring, it is a time, vlounteer and money thing.

 

I think the signs that Mike is going to install over the next little while will go a long way to getting rid of the poacher problem. I can safely say that 100% of the poachers I caught have changed their ways right directly.

 

Please remember that the goal of the project is to change people i.e. to educate them so they think differently about fishing. I am not sure which is a bigger challenge: Getting bait guys to stop thinking about filling the freezer or to get C&R types to stop fixating on size and body count. They are both interesting challenges.

 

Cheers,

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