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lake trout/ lake char


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#1 Guest_Gambusia_*

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 04:15 PM

There is a lake near me that has been stocked with lake trout ("lakers")

In 1998 it got 40,000 3" lakers

In 2001 it got 22,000 6" lakers

Lake Trout Stocking: 2001 - 22,000; 1998 - 40,796

Would any lake trout still be alive in that lake?

Thanks

#2 Guest_ashtonmj_*

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 04:49 PM

Lake trout live DECADES and grow very slowly. Could they still be alive, yes that is relatively young for their possible lifespan, but have they survived/was mortality very high is a totally different aspect. Just a quick tidbit I found...a nine year old fish in Lake Superior ranged from 60-75 cm (23-30"). Not a very hefty fish...

I'm guessing by your location the lake is in extreme western NC. Tennessee stocks lake trout into Watauga but the fishing doesn't appear too good. It started in 1990 with about 40-100K a year at 8-10". The state record was 20lbs in 1994 so not too shabby but its a fairly cold unproductive lake, so really well suited for them. Don't hear alot about them being caught though so I'm sure the fishery doesn't preform as well as other reservior fisheries like for rainbows and browns.

#3 Guest_Gambusia_*

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 07:19 PM

It's Calderwood Reservoir on the NC/TN line.

I've heard that Watauga produces plenty of 3-7 pound lakers.

I believe it's been stocked since the 1980s.

#4 Guest_ashtonmj_*

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Posted 20 January 2008 - 08:09 PM

Yeah but a 3-7lb lake trout is nothing. We saw several in that range in our gill nets during the begining of a study last summer. Lake trout from the Great Lakes and great white north (Canada) live for 50+ years and top 50+ lbs. I've personally been on board when 30lb+ fish were caught in Wyoming. Tennesse very rarely stocks Calderwood with lake trout, primarily Chilhowee and Watauga. The lakes really aren't big enough, don't have enough habitat, and probably lack the forage base, which was why forage has been stocked in the past also, to support a lake trout fishery comparable to the Great Lakes, Canada, and west.

Watauga has only been stocked since 1990. TWRA Region 4 Link

#5 Guest_Gambusia_*

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 09:20 AM

The trout stocking summaries only go back to 1990.

I do believe Watauga and Dale Hollow Lakes were stocked with lake trout in the 1980s. Dale Hollow is no longer stocked and I believe those fish are now going to Chilhowee and South Holston.


Most of our southern mountain lakes are pretty infertile and forage bases are generally not large.

IIRC the lake trout come from the Dale Hollow National Fish Hatchery.

I also believe Arkansas has stocked lake trout

#6 Guest_Gambusia_*

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 09:24 AM

From the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission:


Lake Trout

Lake trout were first stocked in 1986 in hopes they would provide trophy trout fishing opportunities in deep, cold, well-oxygenated lakes like Bull Shoals and Greers Ferry. Twenty-five pounders are common in their native northern habitats, but their growth potential in Arkansas is unknown. The head, fins and dark body are completely covered with irregular white spotting. The tail is deeply forked unlike other Arkansas trout.



#7 Guest_Gambusia_*

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 09:40 AM

More:

A wild population of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) may exist in Greers Ferry
Reservoir. This species was stocked in the reservoir in the 1980ís. Since then no
stocking has occurred but anglers occasionally catch lake trout of all sizes. No
population data or formal management exists for this fishery.



#8 Guest_ashtonmj_*

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 09:41 AM

The summaries only go back to 1990 for Watauga because that is when TWRA started stocking the lake...!!! Yes Dale Hollow was stocked during the 1980's and was abandoned shortly afterwards and I may have even heard of a few trial and errors else where (Chilhowee and possibly even Watauga), but it was not until 1990 that other lakes in Tennessee began getting a consistent stocking programs because they shifted what few fish they raise to the eastern TN lakes.

#9 Guest_mikez_*

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 03:07 PM

Forage is really critical for a quality lake trout fishery. The forage needs to be abundant and it needs to inhabit the same deep water/cool temp niche the lakers occupy.
In New England where lakers can and do reproduce, the most common scenario is an overabundance of stunted, skinny, poor quality lakers. Massachusetts [where they are introduced] as well as Maine [native] has reduced size limits and increased bag limits in an effort to improve the quality of laker fishing and/or reduce competition with landlocked salmon. For a number of reasons, smelt populations are very low compared to historic levels and, around here at least, smelt seem to be the forage of choice of both lakers and salmon.
Smelt are prone to die offs in high temps so I doubt they would do well in the south. I'm not sure what forage would fill that niche down that way.

#10 Guest_ashtonmj_*

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 03:30 PM

Blueback herring and alewife were introduced as forage bases with varied success (and impacts) in these lakes. In the case of Dale Hollow, alewife are a dominant forage base now, and has resulted in a pretty good reservior fishery for rainbow trout even though other conditions like habitat and temperature might not be ideal. Interestingly, almost every rainbow we caught or sampled had a slugo or similar style soft plastic bait in it's belly along with numerous alewife. A good friend of mine is finishing up his thesis work on these res. trout fisheries in TN.

#11 Guest_dmarkley_*

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 03:48 PM

So why do state agencies get so upset over "invasives" and yet they do things like this? Stocking lake trout where they have no business being?

Dean

#12 Guest_ashtonmj_*

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 05:23 PM

Dean, you obviously know that the answer as to why state natural resource agencies have stocked non-native game and forage fish for almost 100 years and the topic has nothing to do with that or invasives. The thread subject is age and demographics of southeastern fisheries for lake trout.

#13 Guest_Gambusia_*

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 06:49 PM

These lakes are not natural anyway so why not stock lakers and see if a fishery develops?

I think the state of TN tried to stock kokanee salmon as a forage for lakers in Watauga but that did not work out.

NC successfully stocked kokanee in Nantahala Lake as bass and trout forage (mainly rainbow)

I think most lakers in TN probably feed on shads, herrings and stocked trout

Would stocked rainbow trout fingerlings be a forage for lake trout?

#14 Guest_mikez_*

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 07:21 PM

Interestingly, almost every rainbow we caught or sampled had a slugo or similar style soft plastic bait in it's belly along with numerous alewife.


I can't tell you how common this is with rainbows. Anywhere that has both largemouth fishermen and trout, almost every rainbow will have at least one rubber bait in its gut. They seem to live and feed and behave normally for a long time. I guess it must kill them eventually but most go on a stringer before that happens.

I don't think alewifes would inhabit the coldest water where the lakers would be. Rainbows have a higher temp threshold than lakers so they probably have an easier time hunting the alewifes.

#15 Guest_ashtonmj_*

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 08:04 PM

I can't tell you how common this is with rainbows. Anywhere that has both largemouth fishermen and trout, almost every rainbow will have at least one rubber bait in its gut. They seem to live and feed and behave normally for a long time. I guess it must kill them eventually but most go on a stringer before that happens.


You hit the nail on the head with the situation seen in the example I gave. In the spring rainbows and smallmouth are in the same creek arms and the smallmouth fisherman throw slugos and when they break em off, well it's more likely a toothy rainbow than a 9lb smallie. Actually we caught rainbows well into the year that just had severly degraded soft plastics and it didn't seem to bother them though a comparison of growth rates between fish that ingested plastics verus those that didn't would be interseting.

Yes the kokanee stockings in Tennessee were failed. Don't know what was found in lake trout in Watuaga because I left before that part of the study but what was mentioned are typical food for larger lake trout.

#16 Guest_Gambusia_*

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Posted 21 January 2008 - 09:42 PM

I guess they would eat whatever they could swallow

#17 Guest_Troutgirl_*

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 02:29 AM

It's Calderwood Reservoir on the NC/TN line.

I've heard that Watauga produces plenty of 3-7 pound lakers.

I believe it's been stocked since the 1980s.


The first "Lake" Trout that Tennessee stocked back in 1986 were Ohrid Trout from Macedonia. I think that was a one-time thing in Watagua and Chilhowee Lakes. I don't think that worked out well. I never caught an Ohrid Trout and I fished Chilhowee extensively in the late 80's. Ohrid Trout could be mistaken for very odd looking Brown Trout, I'd guess...? I know I never caught one. I've never caught a Brown Trout in Chilhowee. There must or might be a few...? They are certainly below Chilhowee's in it's tailwater below going into Tellico Lake. There I've caught them in the recent past. Ohrid Trout are a threatened species from Ohrid Lake in Macedonia. Tennessee was one of the places chosen to try and help the species survive. Several other states got them too.

I have seen the Lake Trout in Chilhowee Lake. The summers of 2007 and 2008 were drought years in this region. Chilhowee Lake is normally a very clear lake and those years it's clear waters were more translucent than even average. At times I could see giant fish, the Lakers I think, below the Highway 129 bridge over Abraham's Creek. Maybe some of the fish were big Rainbows but one day I could see atleast 50 of these big shapes down there. I'd guess some of these fish were as big as 20 pounds. Big Rainbows have always hung around the mouth of this sizable tributary. It's a crossroads of baitfish on the lake. It's by far the biggest tributary.

Two fishermen who caught Lakers told me that the best bait is a 6" Rainbow from one of the little tributary creeks or where ever. I saw a 17 pounder allegedly caught on a small 'Bow. Chilhowee Lake has numerous, small tributary creeks to contribute minnows to the lake. It has a lot of food and Trout grow fast. The Rainbows have always grown fast. I don't see why the Lakers can't follow suit. Lakers grow slow in northern lakes because they're dormant more of the year. They may get more growth days per year at this latitude?

I was on Calderwood Lake last week and think I saw several large Trout, 5+ lb's, but I'm not certain what species. Food is much more sparse in that little, flowing lake. When they generate there's a current the length of the lake. If you go down to the dam and use an electronic fishfinder, you'll alot of images sitting at about 50 feet in the summer. Some of those might be Lakers? Calderwood has been stocked at least twice.

As long as Lakers live, there might be some really big ones in 20 years or so. I've seen hawks and eagles grab sizable Trout out of Chilhowee Lake. I'm picturing fishes they couldn't possibly fly away with. Maybe a fish that eats them...?

#18 Guest_fundulus_*

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 07:36 AM

That's an unfortunately rich story of mismanagement by TN officials, apparently introducing every exotic salmonid into the Tennessee system they could get their hands on. Hopefully no one will be stuck with trying to undo all of that in the future.

#19 Guest_Troutgirl_*

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 12:51 PM

That's an unfortunately rich story of mismanagement by TN officials, apparently introducing every exotic salmonid into the Tennessee system they could get their hands on. Hopefully no one will be stuck with trying to undo all of that in the future.


I don't concur with this at all. The Fontana Dam turns the smaller lakes downstream of it very cold. The water coming out of Fontana rarely exceeds 50 degrees. Cheowah, Calderwood, and Chilhowee Lakes are wonderful trout habitat now. The Ohrid Trout never worked out. I don't know of anybody who caught one. The worst thing that the Lakers could do is become huge and become the vortex predators of Chilhowee and Watauga Lakes. That might peeve the folks who want to catch Rainbows. Rainbow Trout and small, freshly stocked Lake Trout will become the meal of choice for Lakers when they get very big.

I don't think the Lakers are going to spawn much in Chilhowee Lake. They are definitely trying to reproduce in Watauaga Lake. There's a cove they all go to in November. Lake Trout take 8-10 years to sexually mature. Watauga Lake may develope a "native" population? Maybe Chilhowee will too?

I live near Chilhowee. I have a renewed intest in trolling Chilhowee for Trout. Just the thought that I might catch a 5-25 pound Laker pulls me there like a magnet. I intend to catch my first Lake Trout this year even if I have to drive up to Watauga to do it. I will be going to Chilhowee soon.

Besides, the Lakers eating up a whole lot of other fishes, what could possibly go wrong?

Edited by Troutgirl, 11 October 2009 - 12:52 PM.


#20 Guest_FirstChAoS_*

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 12:03 AM

These lakes are not natural anyway so why not stock lakers and see if a fishery develops?

I think the state of TN tried to stock kokanee salmon as a forage for lakers in Watauga but that did not work out.

NC successfully stocked kokanee in Nantahala Lake as bass and trout forage (mainly rainbow)

I think most lakers in TN probably feed on shads, herrings and stocked trout

Would stocked rainbow trout fingerlings be a forage for lake trout?


Sockeye Salmon used as feeder fish? that sounds odd.

As for stocking lake trout, aren't they one of the most dangerous native fish to introduce into waterways without a natural population? Just ask the sunapee trout and the cutthroat trout in yellowstone lake.

On second thought never ask a trout anything, the stuck up fish never answer. :)




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