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In general rainbow are best able to utilize copepods because they have a finer gill raker structure than other species of trout and char. I have seen populations of westslope cutthroat that feed almost exclusively on copepods, but that is unusual. When rainbow are feeding on copepods they are often out in the middle of the lake where you need a raft to access them.
You are correct that lakes in Oregon are stocked by air and that many lakes have been stocked by air in Washington. Last I checked in on Oregon high lake stocking was decades ago, but at that time they were using helicopters. Most high lake air stocking in Washington was done with fixed wing aircraft. WDFW used to have a Beaver with a hole cut in the bottom to drop fish through. But they sold their planes to the State Patrol some years ago.
Fixed wing aircraft are only useful for stocking larger lakes. It is just too easy to miss small lakes. Really, you could stock any lake with a helicopter, but there are a couple issues. The most obvious is cost. Less obvious is a restriction in designated wilderness that limits the ability to air plant lakes that weren’t air planted prior to wilderness designation.
One major advantage to hand stocking lakes is that it puts someone on the ground at the lake who can evaluate how the management plan is doing. We’ve seen major issues in California where they were air planting in lakes whether the lakes needed fish or not and the over-stocking was contributing to the decline of the mountain yellow-legged frog. Thanks to our hand stocking program, survey program, and some very dedicated WDFW biologists the state of Washington was way ahead of the curve in reducing quantities stocked and identifying lakes with reproducing populations that should not be stocked.
All that being said, WDFW is talking about bringing air stocking back and that would bring some welcome relief to volunteers who have been stocking some of the larger lakes.
Derek, it is so great to hear from you! Myron was a Trail Blazer from 1934 to 1939. 1934 was the very first year the Trail Blazers stocked fish so he was basically there from the very beginning. We don’t have any records of Myron going to My Lake, but we do know that he helped stock the Melakwa Lakes in 1934. If you remember any old stories Myron told, or have any old photographs we would love to hear and see them. Let us know how your trip to the remains of the cabin goes.
The governor released his budget this afternoon and we have good news. Revenues were better than projected and none of WDFW’s proposed cuts were adopted.
I have a potential stocking opportunity this coming Saturday, if you are available.
By mid-October the stocking season is just about over, but there are normally a handful lakes that are stocked late in the month.
I’ve hiked and fished high lakes a fair amount in the Bitteroot Mountains south of Missoula. It is really nice country with some great fishing. I’ve never fished rivers, only high lakes.
And Bozeman should put you close to some nice high lakes, too. I’ve never fished anything super close to Bozeman, but I’ve hiked many of the wilderness areas just but further afield. You can’t really go wrong.
Airplane Lake is on Sierra Pacific land. Sierra Pacific does allow recreation on their lands without a permit. The Duffey Lakes are on Forest Service land. If you can approach via Sierra Pacific land then access won’t be a problem. Coming in from the Proctor Creek Road on the other side is a bit trickier. Weyerhaeuser does require a permit and that road is gated by highway 2. There is a catch. The FS has a right of way on that road so as long as you don’t get off the road you can travel it with a bicycle. Once on FS land you can go wherever you want.
Thanks for posting that. It looks great.
I’ve been keeping busy by finally getting my old slides scanned.
I don’t need any flies right now, but I’m interested in your new flying ant pattern. Can you post a photo? It isn’t often that I manage to arrive at a high lake with a full on black ant hatch in progress, but when I do a black ants are all they will eat so I always make sure I have ant patterns along.
Those sculpins are in Bertha May, too. WDFW even experimented with helicoptering in keeper sized RB to see if they could get better survival.
Heh, that was me who stocked Bald. We went in via Sauk. There is no trail. I don’t think I’d try hugging Sutter Creek no matter what. You could try one of the ridges to either side.
The stocking records are back on the WDFW high lake pages. They must have had a technical problem.
There is a survey list in the private HL forum. Let me know if you are not able to access that.
It looks to me like WDFW intends to have more information on those high lake pages so I’m guessing the stocking records will be back at some point.
There is no single person at WDFW to contact about individual high lakes. You have to contact the fish biologist who is responsible for the area where the lake you are interested in sits.
It is worth keeping in mind that in many ways the stocking records give a distorted view of the high lake fishery anyway. Lakes with reproducing fish typically don’t get stocked so if you just go by what is stocked you’ll be missing out on a lot of lakes. When I go out of state I never look at stocking records ahead of my trips. I will check them afterward to compare with what I found. But I don’t like the sometimes false bias that checking stocking records gives me when I explore a new lake. On my last trip to the Beartooths in Montana the two lakes that produced the largest fish for us were both lakes that were supposedly fishless. Had I paid attention to Montana’s high lake website I would have skipped fishing those lakes. On a trip to Idaho we were catching fish over 18″ out of one particular lake. We later ran into a party who had camped at the lake but hadn’t bothered to fish it because the biologist told them it didn’t have any fish! I think there is a lot to be said for just getting out and exploring.
Joshua, if you PM me with the details I can probably get info on the stocking status of that lake. Trail Blazers can make stocking requests to WDFW so we can be a good way to get those requests done. I should note up front that WDFW won’t stock waters with no previous stocking history.
I’m not seeing any stocking data there, either. I haven’t paid too much attention to WDFW’s site, but it looks like they changed the database they are using to list the high lakes at some point.