"Legal" stocked fish

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meandermeadows
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"Legal" stocked fish

Post by meandermeadows » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:10 pm

I went to the monthly Trailblazers meeting last night. It was fantastic! They had a slide show where members shared pictures of their trips from this past year. LOTS of big fish were caught last year, it was really inspiring!

One of the things that people commented about from time to time was whether or not a fish was "legally" stocked. Several of these were cutthroats that people believed had developed reproducing populations in the lake in question.

I assume what they meant was that these fish were stocked outside of the WDFW guidelines, so someone loaded the lake on their own. My question is this: are there guidelines as far as what you should do if you catch fish that were not legally stocked? Are you supposed to keep the fish and not put it back in the water? Should it be reported to the WDFW or another agency? I am planning on fishing alpine lakes this coming year and I want to make sure I am not doing anything harmful to the environment.
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Larry3215
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Re: "Legal" stocked fish

Post by Larry3215 » Fri Jan 06, 2017 6:27 pm

Interesting question. I dont know how you could tell if a fish was illegally planted or not though. Im pretty sure you can only keep a fish - no matter what kind it is or how it got there - if its listed as legal to keep at that time from that body of water.

meandermeadows
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Re: "Legal" stocked fish

Post by meandermeadows » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:28 am

Well, for the sake of argument, let's say cutthroat trout are legal and in season in the area of question, even though the Trailblazers have never stocked cutthroats in that particular lake. It would still be legal to keep one, even if no one knows why it's in there, no? I guess now we have two questions that need answering ;)
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Toni
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Re: "Legal" stocked fish

Post by Toni » Sat Jan 07, 2017 1:39 pm

Cutthroat are native to Washington. Several lakes have native runs.
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He said, “Throw your net on the right side of the boat and you will find some.” When they did, they were unable to haul the net in because of the large number of fish.

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The Quadfather
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Re: "Legal" stocked fish

Post by The Quadfather » Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:34 pm

One way to look at is, that remember... lakes that do not show up in the regs, fall under 'general freshwater rules'
Realize that almost none of the approx 1600 alpine lakes are listed in the regs, thus general freshwater rules, 5 fish limit, etc.
When a lake has 'Special rules' therefor is in the regs. then sometimes you have things stating a species is not available for retention. (Kokanee in Sammamish for instance)

A lot of people are confused as to why the regs don't show a certain lake. Well... that means general rules.

meandermeadows
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Re: "Legal" stocked fish

Post by meandermeadows » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:42 pm

That makes sense that it would fall under the general rules.

I posted this same question on the Trailblazers site and one member replied that if you catch a fish in an alpine lake that has not been officially stocked, then you should retain the fish and report it to the WDFW. He mentioned that there are several lakes that have been illegally stocked with brown trout as an example
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jonb
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Re: "Legal" stocked fish

Post by jonb » Mon Jan 09, 2017 9:06 pm

Follow the rules and regs first, if you can retain a non native species and want to then go ahead, but you are NOT obligated to! Brookies are found in many many alpine lakes around washington, they are absolutely not native, but perfectly ok to release. Ive done so several times in the past as well as kept some too.

The trailblazers are a good group who do great things in washington state, but they do not make or enforce the regs. If they tell you to do something, it is by your choice, not law.
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dwh4784
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Re: "Legal" stocked fish

Post by dwh4784 » Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:26 am

In the Spokane River where I like to fish we have a selective gear, catch and release only fishery to protect the native redband rainbow trout. Well, all the same rules apply to the smallmouth bass (and pikeminnow for that matter) they consider invasive. I'd rather catch smallies anyway, and you wouldn't eat anything out of this water, but this (to me) shows that looking for logic in WA fishing laws is going to leave you frustrated and potentially ticketed.

meandermeadows
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Re: "Legal" stocked fish

Post by meandermeadows » Tue Jan 10, 2017 1:37 am

Just to clarify, I was in no way suggesting that keeping said fish was a law, nor that the Trailblazers have any governing or legislative power. I was just asking if there was an etiquette related to the practice that I may not know since I am a fairly new angler.
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zen leecher aka Bill W
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Re: "Legal" stocked fish

Post by zen leecher aka Bill W » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:16 pm

Some of those lakes might have been stocked prior to the TrailBlazers/Hi-Lakers keeping records. One might check out the Ernie Wolcott books and go over that stocking data. I don't know which group toted those fish to the lakes. Might have even been WDFW themselves.

There would have been no illegal plants of trout in those lakes. That would be hard to fathom. What I would expect is that the planting documentation may have been haphazard.

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