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  1. #1
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    stocking of 2-year old trout

    The excerpt down below was taken from NJ DF&W Fall 2005 Stocking Schedule.
    My questions follow.

    Commencing this year the fall stocking period has been shortened to a two-week period (the third week of stocking has been eliminated). Surplus trout (averaging 5 to 6 inches) traditionally stocked during the third week of fall stocking, had to be stocked months earlier to free-up growing space in the hatchery raceways, as the hatchery transitions from the production of one-year old trout for this fall, to larger, two-year old trout for the fall and winter of 2006. Broodstock trout (approximately 1,000 three-year old rainbow trout, averaging 17-18 inches) will be stocked during the first and second weeks of fall stocking.

    The majority of the 47,750 catchable trout being stocked this fall are one-year old rainbow trout averaging 9½ inches. However, approximately 13 percent of this total (6,000) are larger 2-year old brown and brook trout, averaging 14-15 inches. These larger trout were reared to test the ability of the hatchery system to produce two-year old trout for the 2006 fall and winter trout stocking programs.

    1) Does anyone know how the transition at the hatchery is progressing?

    2) Is the hatchery going to be stocking 2-year old trout exclusively from now on, or only for fall stockings, or only for the Fall of 2006?

    3) Will the Fall 2006 stocking only consist of the 2-year old trout? Does anyone have the numbers?

    4) Are the two-year olds only browns and brookies?

    5) Were there any reports of consistently larger trout being caught last fall/winter? Fall stockings have traditionally consisted of small trout in the 10" and less range. Apparently 6000 larger trout were stocked, which I wasn't aware of. The high water from flooding rains deterred a lot of fall trout fishing last fall, myself included.


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    I think

    That all the large trout went into lake's last year(Big ol Bo Who). They don't really explain how they will stock them this year, have to wait till they put out the fall schedule.

    tying flies,thinking of lies to tell the wife about where I'll be, when I'm out fishing with a buddy

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    Quote Originally Posted by smittin
    That all the large trout went into lake's last year(Big ol Bo Who).
    If that was the case, then that is SO wrong. Its not like they have to worry about the trout surviving the winter in rivers. Those not caught in the fall would hold over nicely and produce some nice fish in the spring time, much to the surprise of the early season crowds.


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    My understanding is that this is a Fall program that intends to be permanent. They are getting away from stocking smaller surplus fish and transitioning to fewer but larger fish. Some of the larger (2 year olds) were stocked last Fall and more will be stocked this year. Not sure how long the transition will take but I suspect that the number of 2 year olds stocked this year will likely be considerably more than last year. I caught a few of them last year and they were nice, solid 14-15 inchers. I also expect they will continue to stock excess breeders in the Fall also.


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    The creeks got the large fish too. The water was OK most stocking days - the flood affected the fishing more than the stocking.

    The 2 year old fish will be for the fall stocking only, although the spring stocking gets its share of surplus breeders. I forgot if regular fish will be mixed in the fall stocking, but there will be less fish stocked in the fall. There is only so much space in the hatchery and letting some fish get to 2 years old means less 1 year olds

    This is all part of NJ F&G's effort to increase angler satisfaction and reverse the huge drop in license sales. Hopefully the change from quantity to quality will get more people fishing.


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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffK
    This is all part of NJ F&G's effort to increase angler satisfaction and reverse the huge drop in license sales. Hopefully the change from quantity to quality will get more people fishing.
    Interesting. I wonder what they based this hypothesis on? Has some other state done this and they followed suit? I'm not convinced that most NJ anglers would buy into this. Maybe for the first year of stocking. After enough skunkings you risk discouraging that angler from purchasing a license next year.

    Were other alternative ideas brought up to reverse this trend?

    I'm sure I'm not the only one that thinks this effort is a gamble. What happens if it goes south and has the reverse effect? Is the future of the program at risk?

    Why not expand the facilities (and all the logistics involved with it) to increase production which would give you the ability to do things such as:

    - Weekend stockings

    - Multiple stockings per week

    - Staggering stocking days (1st week on Mon, 2nd week on Tue, 3rd week on Wed, etc).

    - Improve the quality of stockings. Float stock as much as you can to spread anglers out and improve quality of fishing. How often do you arrive at a stocking location at 4:45pm only to find that there are already 10 people that have been waiting in your hole since 4:00pm. And you know that the all of the fish are in the same spot that truck dumped them in. Move the fish, move the fishermen.

    - With float stockings you can eliminate the 5pm start-to-fish time

    - Fewer stockings but continuously from Oct thru May (sometimes it hits 60F in February...perfect for a day on the river)

    - Move opening day up or possibly eliminate the concept (year round season)

    - New contests. I caught a tagged fish once. Got a patch. Woohoo. How about a free license the next year? Or a chance to enter and win a bigger prize?

    - How about some advertising on local cable TV stations?

    I'm sure there are a lot more things that can be done to attract anglers that have lost interest in the sport.

    IMHO, the current program is too static and predictable. It needs to be modernized to take into account today's realities.


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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffK
    This is all part of NJ F&G's effort to increase angler satisfaction and reverse the huge drop in license sales. Hopefully the change from quantity to quality will get more people fishing.
    That is an excelent point Jeff. I wonder if decreasing the number of stocked fish would help incourage the Catching & Releasing of trout. However this could be a double edged sowrd stocking of larger trout might also tempt the average angler to want to keep the trout mistakeing a stocked breeder for a trophy trout.


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    Interesting points. First I think 99% of people view a stocked breeder as a trophy trout and either don't care about the wild/stocked distinction or kid themselves that that 18incher is really a monster wild or holdover fish.

    All F&G departments are in trouble since young people aren't taking up hunting and fishing in sufficient numbers to keep the license sales up (PA and NY fishermen are down too, but not to the extent of NJ). F&G people aren't primarily marketing types, but here are a few things they do. The computerized data from license sales will help track market trends and they may send reminders to people who stopped buying licenses. Combing through the current paper receipts isn't practical. They support about 100 kids fishing derbies (mostly on their own time). They run all sorts of classes at Pequest Hatchery and keep bulking up the regulations with fishing info. The stocking days and all sorts of public access points are now described on the website. The number of WMAs along trout streams has grown rapidly over the last few years. Actually fishing has been good over much of Jersey lately. All of this hasn't stemmed the loss of fishermen.

    Stocking more, float stocking, etc are mostly pipe dreams at the current time. The hatchery is down something like 20 staff members now and the existing guys are pulling crazy hours (for pretty paltry pay) to keep the current stuff going. Basically keeping current service going in a decreasing market is tough and I doubt anyone will invest in new staff/facilities. TU has paid for a fishing educator in the summers the last few years to help out. They will cooperate with groups to float stock/lug buckets - but if you aren't at the spot when they come they wouldn't wait. Some groups simply move fish to their private "honey hole", but that is the risk of letting clubs spread the fish. Also, changing trout production schedules takes a year or two to do. This current move to 2-year old fish took a few years to get up to speed with having to keep everything going with a fixed hatchery space. They wouldn't mess with the spring stocking and fall stocking was the time to experiment. The thought is if word gets around that big trout are around maybe a few more people will give it a shot.

    One way to raise money and get more Federal matching funds is to institute a saltwater license, but that is not politically viable.

    Keeping people fishing is a complicated thing that depends on societal changes. Structured kids activities, more time at work, video games, and the urbanization of NJ are things that work against fishing. Contact F&G with good ideas - they are looking for them. However, realize that their resources are stretched tight and any change will come at the expense of something else. Someday trout stocking may end in NJ if current trends keep up.


  9. #9
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    Actually I'm told that a salt water license in some form is on the way. The reworked Magnuson Act requires salt water fishermen to register and a fee is attached. Those groups working on the act are trying to have the fee eliminated. My memory of the details is fuzzy but I think this is scheduled to take effect in 2010 and although it may not be called a license that's essentially what it is. Whether or not this all results in more much needed revenue for Div of F+W remains to be seen.


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    Many people I know stopped buying NJ licenses as the stockings, especially the fall, began including smaller and smaller fish. People don't like to catch dinks. If you want an example, how many guys are driving hours now to fish the upper D. as the current action is primarily fishing for juveniles? ...answer... not many at all. First word that big fish are rising again, the upper D. will again be a zoo. If the fall salmon, steelhead, browns run was comprised of 6" - 12" fish, do you think Pulaski would be the annual circus it is? Are the articles, hype and strongest memories of fishing the Rockies for 10" cutts...or big rainbows and big browns? How about New Zealand, Chile, Argentina -- anybody travel that distance for a dink? What about the salt...do you guys drive to the shore to catch small fish? Big fish = people fishing. Whether their program will succeed or not, I don't know but I don't think there can be any argument against the fact that most anglers would rather catch a few quality fish over a bunch of dinks. The balance is that you need to stock enough fish to ensure that getting skunked isn't the norm, or interest will be lost due to that as well.

    "The thought is if word gets around that big trout are around maybe a few more people will give it a shot."

    I think there are more than enough case studies that make that "gamble" one with high odds of success. That is, unless the trend they are battling has nothing to do with the fish and everything to do with people simply not having any interest in fishing.

    I could really care less as I don't fish NJ, but their plan seems very sound to me.


  11. #11
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    Talking Fall Stocking

    JeffK,
    You've made some very good points. I would like to share with you a couple of other observations. First, I think the Spring and Fall stockings are very different events. People are keyed up to go trout fishing in the Spring. The volume of anglers in April especially is enormous. The Fall stocking is a little trickier but I think fly fishers take advantage of it. Fall is a busy time for many people and the cumulative loss of daylight (EDT back to EST) makes it tougher for people to get out and fish. Why drive an hour to fish an hour? I would rather see the fish stocked sometime in September although this year I think that has been moved to November which is good. That brings me to my next point: What is "trout fishing"? To those of us on the site that means fly fishing by and large. To a great deal of the angling public it means catching and killing their limit of trout or more on worms, powerbait or whatever. I would end this by saying that what we need to do with the kids is to teach them to fish the right way by teaching conservation and a respect for all aspects the resource we are so fortunate to have.


  12. #12
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    Small Can be Fun

    Quote Originally Posted by JW1970
    People don't like to catch dinks. .... If you want an example, how many guys are driving hours now to fish the upper D. as the current action is primarily fishing for juveniles? ...answer... not many at all. ... If the fall salmon, steelhead, browns run was comprised of 6" - 12" fish, do you think Pulaski would be the annual circus it is?... anybody travel that distance for a dink?
    JW:

    I know in your post your remarks were towards "stocked dinks", however, there is a contingent of fly fisher's like myself, who do travel long distances and stay for up to a week fishing small streams for a chance to catch ("dinks") brook trout. I would rather walk in the woods and fish a small mountain stream with a 2 wt, than catch a King Salmon, or a LLS any day of the week.

    I agree, Pulaski is a zoo, and that is the draw to many. The sheer fun of being there and watching the horror show! I am like many here, I don't like to be crowded when fishing, but up there the combat fishing is all part of it, and if I didn't like, I wouldn't go, but I do.

    I can't speak for the upper Delaware, however, again, there appear to be a number of fly fisher's who travel up to Roscoe knowing they are not going to land a large trout.

    As always, on your side.

    AKS


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