Chat Rooms (0 Chatting)  |  Search  |   Login/Join
* For the benefit of the community, commercial posting is not allowed.
Boundary Waters Quetico Forum
   Fishing Forum
      Great news for trout lakes     
 Forum Sponsor

Author

Text

10/30/2020 10:32PM  
Finally after much thought and prodding the DNR will stock trout in remote lakes by helecopter(sp)-survival rate is much better and less fish end up in the woods DNR
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next
10/30/2020 10:37PM  
Trout stocking via helicopter means more fish for anglers
Anglers will have the opportunity to catch trout on remote lakes in northeastern Minnesota following helicopter-based fish stocking efforts this fall.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources typically uses trucks to stock fish, but traditional methods can’t be used in some of the state’s difficult-to-reach lakes. In those waters, airplanes have been used for years to provide aerial stocking.

But recently, pilots in the DNR Enforcement Division’s Aviation Unit – which assists other agency divisions with creel counts, wildlife-population surveys and habitat-improvement efforts, in addition to its typical enforcement work – created and constructed a helicopter-based system that makes stocking more effective and efficient.

“The main benefit of using a helicopter, from a resource perspective, is that more of the stocked fish survive, so there are more for anglers to catch,” said Chris Lofstuen, the Enforcement Division’s chief pilot. “At the same time, flying over remote lakes in often challenging terrain presents a certain amount of risk to our pilots. Among all the other benefits of using helicopters, one aspect is most important – they’re safer.”

Since the helicopters can hover 5 feet above the water and drop fish into the water, the survival rate of stocked fish is about 100%. When they’re stocked from an airplane, which drops fish from 100 feet above the surface while traveling 100 miles per hour, the survival rate is about 85%. Also, the possibility of spreading aquatic invasive species is mitigated because helicopters don’t land on the water.

 
Zwater
distinguished member(594)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/30/2020 11:09PM  
Great news, more trout!

Then they can spend more money eradicating deer populations due to one deer testing positive from a deer farm for CWD.
 
ericinely
distinguished member (102)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/31/2020 07:59AM  
This is fantastic news! Thanks for sharing
 
Heyfritty
member (44)member
 
10/31/2020 01:43PM  
Fantastic! Do you think the DNR will eventually announce which lakes? If so about when?

Fritty
 
10/31/2020 02:38PM  
Heyfritty: "Fantastic! Do you think the DNR will eventually announce which lakes? If so about when?


Fritty"


Its the same ones as always, they just changed the method of stocking rom a plane to a helecopter(sp)-you have much higher survival rate. There was a year or two stocking stopped due to disease in the hatchery and they killed all there trout. Now they get eggs form I believe the Feds hatchery and another strain from out east-I am talking brook trout. In the BWCA it is close to 100% brook stocking.

Some they still hike in.
 
thebotanyguy
distinguished member(772)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/31/2020 03:32PM  
I wonder if the future will see stocking with drone delivery. Yes, I know civilian use of drones is prohibited in the BWCA, but exceptions can be made for government agencies.
 
10/31/2020 06:41PM  
thebotanyguy: "I wonder if the future will see stocking with drone delivery. Yes, I know civilian use of drones is prohibited in the BWCA, but exceptions can be made for government agencies. "

Water is pretty heavy it would have to be a pretty big one, maybe? How about for dropping water on fires?
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(885)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
10/31/2020 08:02PM  
Did I miss something? The helicopters are cool but isn’t this precisely why they’re unable to stock in the bwca, because helis aren’t allowed? I didn’t see any mention of this changing?
 
10/31/2020 08:43PM  
thegildedgopher: "Did I miss something? The helicopters are cool but isn’t this precisely why they’re unable to stock in the bwca, because helis aren’t allowed? I didn’t see any mention of this changing?"

No, the Mn DNR has a special permit, there may have been a year or two there were talk of not being able to use them. Mn DNR for years balked because the helecopter costs more than the plane for stocking, but Ontario and other places have shown survival is so much better BY CHOPTER and the fish actually get into the lake. Sometimes in the past on small lakes the plane would miss it target.
 
missmolly
distinguished member(7035)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
 
11/01/2020 07:13AM  
I'm thinking of starting a new thread called, "Why flying trout?"
 
Savage Voyageur
distinguished member(13478)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
11/01/2020 07:54AM  
Great news, I wonder if these newly stocked lakes show up on the DNR website? I think I recognize that lake.
 
11/01/2020 08:08AM  
Savage Voyageur: "Great news, I wonder if these newly stocked lakes show up on the DNR website? I think I recognize that lake. "

Same old lakes stocked, different method to stocking.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(885)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/01/2020 09:43AM  
Pinetree: "thegildedgopher: "Did I miss something? The helicopters are cool but isn’t this precisely why they’re unable to stock in the bwca, because helis aren’t allowed? I didn’t see any mention of this changing?"


No, the Mn DNR has a special permit, there may have been a year or two there were talk of not being able to use them. Mn DNR for years balked because the helecopter costs more than the plane for stocking, but Ontario and other places have shown survival is so much better BY CHOPTER and the fish actually get into the lake. Sometimes in the past on small lakes the plane would miss it target."


Interesting. I'm referring to this article from last December. I hadn't read any news specifically about BWCA stocking since then, and I still haven't read anything that says the USFS has approved helicopter use in the BWCA. I agree with you, I think it's a vastly superior (albeit more costly) method of stocking, but isn't it still up to the USFS to approve?

"A change in equipment combined with wilderness regulations have conspired to keep the DNR from stocking lakes in the Boundary Waters. The agency uses aircraft to stock remote trout lakes, including those in the BWCAW. But in 2019, the agency’s enforcement division airplanes were no longer available for stocking and fishery managers had to switch to using helicopters. The rotary aircraft are not only more expensive, but not approved by the Forest Service to operate in the wilderness.

The use of helicopters for wildlife management inside wilderness areas has been contentious in other parts of the country. In 2016, advocates successfully sued the federal government to halt plans to use helicopters to put research collars on elk in Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness."
 
outsidethebox
member (48)member
 
11/02/2020 09:29PM  
Well, well, well. So interesting. I think I may have actually played a part in this decision. After my brother and I had our stupendous catch of brookies I called the Finland and Tower stations to congratulate them on their excellent program. They were thrilled to hear this because the next day there was a strategic meeting specifically about the fate of the trout planting program. I know my brother contacted them as well. I may be full of myself here but I would bet that our experience/report was noted in that meeting...actually the Finland manager said he would mention our experience. I'm feeling pretty good about this :)

These were the some of the smaller ones.



 
moustachesteve
senior member (78)senior membersenior member
 
11/02/2020 10:39PM  
Wow, that's great news! Thanks for the info and awesome video link
 
11/02/2020 10:40PM  
outsidethebox: "Well, well, well. So interesting. I think I may have actually played a part in this decision. After my brother and I had our stupendous catch of brookies I called the Finland and Tower stations to congratulate them on their excellent program. They were thrilled to hear this because the next day there was a strategic meeting specifically about the fate of the trout planting program. I know my brother contacted them as well. I may be full of myself here but I would bet that our experience/report was noted in that meeting...actually the Finland manager said he would mention our experience. I'm feeling pretty good about this :)"

The more that speak up will help keep the program viable. I hear also the plane they usually use was out of commission and 5 Stars for MN DNR Conservation Officer Brad Moss the chopter pilot-he spent time creating and making the tanks for the chopter. One dedicated person.
 
11/03/2020 11:02AM  
missmolly: "I'm thinking of starting a new thread called, "Why flying trout?""

This gives the term "fly fishing" new meaning.
 
11/03/2020 12:51PM  
bwcadan: "missmolly: "I'm thinking of starting a new thread called, "Why flying trout?""


This gives the term "fly fishing" new meaning."


Yes and belly flop for the fish diving out of the chopter.
 
11/03/2020 02:41PM  
Was anyone else hearing Ride of the Valkyries while watching that video?
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(885)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/05/2020 01:07PM  
I wanted to follow up with some clarification I received directly from someone at the DNR -- actually one of the pilots. Unfortunately, there is still no agreement between DNR fisheries and USFS to have helicopters stock BWCA lakes. It didn't happen this fall and they don't know if or when it will get sorted out. For now the remote stocking will be outside the BWCA only.

So the helicopters are good news in general -- they seem like a far more efficient and safer way to the job. But it's still not good news for trout fishing in the BWCA, at least not yet.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(885)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/06/2020 12:07PM  
Getting more info still. It's possible that some BWCA lakes were still stocked this year using USFS beaver planes out of shagawa in Ely. More to come.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(885)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/09/2020 02:37PM  
To wrap this up for now, after speaking with 3 different DNR reps-- stocking trout in bwca lakes happened in 2020 using planes, by agreement between DNR fisheries and the USFS. It sounds like stocking was either spotty or didn't happen in 2018-19, but they are trying to make up for it with increased numbers in this fall's stocking, so that bodes well for fishing a couple years down the line.

Hopefully they can strike a deal to use the helicopters and secure the stocking program for years to come. It definitely seems to be a better tool for the job all around. I'd think the speed and precision of the helicopters would allow them to do the job more quickly and with less overall impact to the wilderness than with planes.

 
dele
distinguished member (118)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/18/2020 12:01PM  
Maybe a little off topic, but I'm a little surprised to learn that BWCA lakes are stocked with fish at all.

Doesn't this process of directly intervening in an ecosystem run counter to LNT principles? We're not supposed to be messing with nature's processes in wilderness areas.

Not saying I'm against it - I'm just surprised it's allowed and interested in hearing the explanation of why it is.
 
11/18/2020 02:33PM  
dele: "Maybe a little off topic, but I'm a little surprised to learn that BWCA lakes are stocked with fish at all.


Doesn't this process of directly intervening in an ecosystem run counter to LNT principles? We're not supposed to be messing with nature's processes in wilderness areas.


Not saying I'm against it - I'm just surprised it's allowed and interested in hearing the explanation of why it is."
That is why it is limited to species mainly once found there. Just brook trout and Splake are stocked now.
Think about it tho, by angling we are changing the system some. There has to to be some leeway and actually wish stocking would increase slightly more.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(885)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/19/2020 09:44AM  
dbl post
 
Basspro69
distinguished member(13887)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished membermaster membermaster member
 
11/19/2020 09:54AM  
dele: "Maybe a little off topic, but I'm a little surprised to learn that BWCA lakes are stocked with fish at all.


Doesn't this process of directly intervening in an ecosystem run counter to LNT principles? We're not supposed to be messing with nature's processes in wilderness areas.


Not saying I'm against it - I'm just surprised it's allowed and interested in hearing the explanation of why it is."
There are campsites and trails and latrines in the Bwca, so by that measure all these things intervene in an ecosystem. As a trout enthusiast, I’m for this intervention
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(885)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/19/2020 10:12AM  
My understanding is that the official policy of the United States Forest Service is to recognize that states have jurisdiction and responsibility for fish and wildlife populations in their wilderness areas. They have a policy of cooperating with Minnesota DNR fisheries branch. The two operate under a Memorandum of Understanding that sets out co-management of the BWCA including stocking programs.


Stocking in wilderness areas is not without controversy, but this is where we stand right now. I can see both sides of this coin, but I tend to think a well-managed stocking program in the BWCA is a net positive. In some cases stocking of native predators is used to help control populations of non-native species that have spread. And I think it attracts an audience of good stewards (trout fisherman) to the wilderness that might not have otherwise come.
 
11/19/2020 12:45PM  
thegildedgopher: "My understanding is that the official policy of the United States Forest Service is to recognize that states have jurisdiction and responsibility for fish and wildlife populations in their wilderness areas. They have a policy of cooperating with Minnesota DNR fisheries branch. The two operate under a Memorandum of Understanding that sets out co-management of the BWCA including stocking programs.



Stocking in wilderness areas is not without controversy, but this is where we stand right now. I can see both sides of this coin, but I tend to think a well-managed stocking program in the BWCA is a net positive. In some cases stocking of native predators is used to help control populations of non-native species that have spread. And I think it attracts an audience of good stewards (trout fisherman) to the wilderness that might not have otherwise come."


I agree with this. You can also think of this in terms of giving back some of what we have taken away. We fish these lakes and take away fish leading to lower populations. Why would it be wrong to put fish back in the lakes?
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(885)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/22/2020 02:13PM  
While I am for stocking, I don’t think that’s an entirely accurate statement A1t2o— some of these lakes being stocked have zero or very little natural reproduction happening. So we aren’t necessarily just replenishing what anglers take, but rather putting the fish in for the sole purpose of being taken by anglers. I have no problem with it and I pursue those fish with joy, but I do see the other side as well.
 
11/22/2020 02:21PM  
thegildedgopher: "While I am for stocking, I don’t think that’s an entirely accurate statement A1t2o— some of these lakes being stocked have zero or very little natural reproduction happening. So we aren’t necessarily just replenishing what anglers take, but rather putting the fish in for the sole purpose of being taken by anglers. I have no problem with it and I pursue those fish with joy, but I do see the other side as well."

The lakes stocked with brook trout you could say have zero natural reproduction.
 
GunflintTrailAngler
senior member (56)senior membersenior member
 
11/22/2020 08:51PM  
The lakes stocked with brook trout you could say have zero natural reproduction."

That’s not necessarily true. While not very common. Brook Trout are able to spawn in lakes.
 
11/22/2020 09:13PM  
GunflintTrailAngler: "The lakes stocked with brook trout you could say have zero natural reproduction."


That’s not necessarily true. While not very common. Brook Trout are able to spawn in lakes."

Very very rare, there is a couple of lakes with upwelling springs just outside the BWCA they get a small hatch off. Within the BWCA, most would be without brook trout a few years after stocking was stopped. A few may hatch for awhile than the lake would be devoid of trout. There is zero sustainable natural Brook trout lakes within the BWCA I know of.
 
dele
distinguished member (118)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/25/2020 01:54PM  
Chiming back in late, thanks for the responses. I don't think stocking can be compared to installing trails and latrines - adding biomass to an ecosystem is a different thing than building primitive, limited infrastructure. Presumably these trout are affecting insect, bird, amphibian, and other populations in the places they're stocked. Trails and latrines don't do that. Nor should stocking be seen as a direct counter to the fish we humans harvest, which are mostly walleye, SMB, northerns, and lake trout, not the stream trout being stocked.

In any case, as I said, I don't oppose the stocking, I just think it's an interesting exception to an otherwise pretty consistent policy. I'm no purist - I love to fish and I recognize I too am changing the ecosystem when I do that. Thanks to previous posters for providing the context and rationale behind the stocking policy.
 
outsidethebox
member (48)member
 
11/25/2020 06:32PM  
dele: "Chiming back in late, thanks for the responses. I don't think stocking can be compared to installing trails and latrines - adding biomass to an ecosystem is a different thing than building primitive, limited infrastructure. Presumably these trout are affecting insect, bird, amphibian, and other populations in the places they're stocked. Trails and latrines don't do that. Nor should stocking be seen as a direct counter to the fish we humans harvest, which are mostly walleye, SMB, northerns, and lake trout, not the stream trout being stocked.


In any case, as I said, I don't oppose the stocking, I just think it's an interesting exception to an otherwise pretty consistent policy. I'm no purist - I love to fish and I recognize I too am changing the ecosystem when I do that. Thanks to previous posters for providing the context and rationale behind the stocking policy."


I agree. It remains a bit of a conundrum for me. So here we were...on this very under-fished lake catching these incredible brook trout that were approaching the end of their life-span...hand-over-fist...and our guide thought we should release them. It is a waste at some level-seems as though sustainability should be in the equation.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(885)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/25/2020 07:06PM  
Dele— in terms of “policy.” USFS sets policy for much of what goes down in the BWCA, but Minnesota DNR fisheries sets policy for stocking lakes in the entire state. They are friendly and cooperative with USFS but DNR has the full authority in this particular case. So don’t view this as an exception to an otherwise consistent policy, view it as an entirely different policy from a state agency that has jurisdiction over fisheries management.

Outside- did you ask your guide why? Did you keep any at all? If they’re stocked that’s kinda crazy to me. Unless the guide just likes the convenience of coming back to the same spot with client after client and selfishly wants to keep numbers high to keep customers happy? I dunno, seems... wrong.
 
11/25/2020 07:55PM  
outsidethebox: "dele: "Chiming back in late, thanks for the responses. I don't think stocking can be compared to installing trails and latrines - adding biomass to an ecosystem is a different thing than building primitive, limited infrastructure. Presumably these trout are affecting insect, bird, amphibian, and other populations in the places they're stocked. Trails and latrines don't do that. Nor should stocking be seen as a direct counter to the fish we humans harvest, which are mostly walleye, SMB, northerns, and lake trout, not the stream trout being stocked.



In any case, as I said, I don't oppose the stocking, I just think it's an interesting exception to an otherwise pretty consistent policy. I'm no purist - I love to fish and I recognize I too am changing the ecosystem when I do that. Thanks to previous posters for providing the context and rationale behind the stocking policy."



I agree. It remains a bit of a conundrum for me. So here we were...on this very under-fished lake catching these incredible brook trout that were approaching the end of their life-span...hand-over-fist...and our guide thought we should release them. It is a waste at some level-seems as though sustainability should be in the equation. "


I agree with your guide, yes maybe a year or so left in there lifespan. But before you went there someone else I am sure was there and released their catch(had a lake caught brook trout as large as 23 inches-what purpose would there to kill that trophy when some youngster may get a thrill of a lifetime., so you had a chance to catch a trophy. Brook trout are real easy to fish down and out. Yes each lake differs on what should be done.
Actually statewide trout stocking is much more successful than many stocking programs including walleye fingerling stocking. Look how many recreational hours and pristine fishing memories they give you.
Also I never heard of a underfished lake in my life. Like I said I bet lot of the fish you caught were caught before in that lake.
Fish and lake in Yellowstone and we catch cutthroat 26 inches plus-yes a catch and release lake-but I had a chance to experience it.
 
11/25/2020 08:08PM  
Yes the MN DNR has control of management of lakes as far as seasons etc.. But not completely when stocking is concerned? I guess it would do to adding something new instead of what is already there and under DNR control.
 
thegildedgopher
distinguished member(885)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
11/25/2020 08:52PM  
Pinetree: "Yes the MN DNR has control of management of lakes as far as seasons etc.. But not completely when stocking is concerned? I guess it would do to adding something new instead of what is already there and under DNR control."


I am still learning and respect your wealth of knowledge Pinetree. In my conversations with DNR folks about trout stocking in the BWCA they have characterized this as state aircraft doing state business and basically said they don’t need permission from a federal agency to do so. These conversations are what’s coloring my above posts, but I concede that I may have been fed a crock by the DNR people I spoke with, or maybe they’re puffing out their chests or who knows what.

Interesting take on the guide. I see that perspective as well. Funny you mention the cutties in Yellowstone, since that lake has a fairly controversial history of stocking as well, to the peril of those native cutthroat.
 
11/25/2020 09:41PM  
thegildedgopher: "Pinetree: "Yes the MN DNR has control of management of lakes as far as seasons etc.. But not completely when stocking is concerned? I guess it would do to adding something new instead of what is already there and under DNR control."



I am still learning and respect your wealth of knowledge Pinetree. In my conversations with DNR folks about trout stocking in the BWCA they have characterized this as state aircraft doing state business and basically said they don’t need permission from a federal agency to do so. These conversations are what’s coloring my above posts, but I concede that I may have been fed a crock by the DNR people I spoke with, or maybe they’re puffing out their chests or who knows what.


Interesting take on the guide. I see that perspective as well. Funny you mention the cutties in Yellowstone, since that lake has a fairly controversial history of stocking as well, to the peril of those native cutthroat."


Yes Yellowstone lake itself was wrecked because of lake trout stocked in there by a private individual and I believe they came from Lewis lake south of there.
Those lake trout came from Michigan or Minnesota I believe. Yes eastern brook trout were also stocked out west and 1000 of lakes have become in many words by some infested and have eliminated native Cutthroat. The lake I talked about was not Yellowstone lake itself, this is a back country lake in the park.
Who has authority to do what goes back and forth and I believe there is room for both to argue.
As of now tho, the Mn DNR has agreed not to stock fish species not native to the area. Like rainbow trout. You will see those stocked in lakes right along the BWCA boundary. The plane use I think it goes back and forth what is legit. I think overall needed or not USFS has agreed to let the DNR fly over the BWCA with I think a special permit.
There is a history of DNR enforcement and motor use by them and USFS restrictions of the two going at it in the 1970's thru will say 2000. I think cooperation is pretty good now.
 
outsidethebox
member (48)member
 
11/27/2020 08:18AM  
thegildedgopher: "Dele— in terms of “policy.” USFS sets policy for much of what goes down in the BWCA, but Minnesota DNR fisheries sets policy for stocking lakes in the entire state. They are friendly and cooperative with USFS but DNR has the full authority in this particular case. So don’t view this as an exception to an otherwise consistent policy, view it as an entirely different policy from a state agency that has jurisdiction over fisheries management.


Outside- did you ask your guide why? Did you keep any at all? If they’re stocked that’s kinda crazy to me. Unless the guide just likes the convenience of coming back to the same spot with client after client and selfishly wants to keep numbers high to keep customers happy? I dunno, seems... wrong."
RE the guide's thoughts: I made the same assumption as you have regarding the motives of the guide-to bring other clients for the experience. This would seem to be a new "goldmine" for his guiding. Here, he had never fished this lake other than one time in the winter. And the fact is that we were the ones who knew how to case-out the lake and catch the fish. We were teaching him-not the other way around...but fair enough-he took us there-though at our suggestion. All sides may be legitimately argued. And our, my brother and my, moral high-ground is full of holes here too. I suppose I/we should have caught my/our limit and left.
 
11/27/2020 12:27PM  
 
11/27/2020 12:29PM  
Just fixing the open quote...
 
      Print Top Bottom Previous Next