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Fish Stocking Project

The fish stocking project started as an outgrowth of maintaining the former Elko chapter of Back Country Horsemen's adopted Secret/Starr trail. one of the reasons to keep the Secret/Starr trail in excellent condition is to provide an alternative to the crowded trails in Lamoille Canyon. one of the featured destinations from the Secret/Starr trail is Boulder Lake. Boulder Lake developed a reputation for large Brook Trout until a severe winter killed the trout. Restocking with Brook Trout turned out to be a problem. Although Brook Trout are having difficulties in their native ranges in eastern states, they are considered by many wildlife managers in the west to be an invasive species The concern was that if Brook Trout were stocked in Boulder, there is a possibility in a wet year, the lake could spill over and reintroduce Brook Trout into 3rd Boulder Creek which has been treated for the exclusive use of Native Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. The solution was to plant a sterile hybrid Tiger Trout that could not reproduce if they found their ways to other waterways. Problem with Tiger Trout is that they are only available in late October or late November Snow usually accumulates too deep to cross from 2nd Boulder to 3rd Boulder in November, NDOW tried to obtain Tiger trout in late October, but that did not happen this year because Brown and Brook Trout started their spawn too late in the fall. NDOW provided Bowcutt trout, and four aerated panniers for hauling fish, Nevada Outfitters and Guides Association provided two more aerated panniers, and saddle and pack horses. ruby Mountain Fly Fishers and Wildlife Habitat Improvement of Nevada provided volunteers. Jerry Williams of the High Sierra Chapter brought a pack and a saddle horse. our plan was to stock fish in Lamoille Lake on one day, then to stock fish in Island Lake the second day. It was snowing when we arrived a the trailhead, so we decided to stock Island Lake first because the trail was not designed for horses. We were also concerned about a partially repaired bridge with railing only on one side over deep boulder banks. we thought that with deteriorating weather we should do the difficult trail on the first, then do the longer rail on the second day. when we arrived the second day, the snow was too deep for a safe trip to Liberty Lake We inted to try it again in 2016.

The estimated cost borne by the Nevada Department of Wildlife to produce the fry by the time they arrived at Island Lake is roughly one dollar per fish. A second 1,500 fish were available the second day, however, creek water was mixed with the fish in the fish tanks. Taking them back to the hatchery would have risked contaminating the fish in the hatcher. Now released them at South Fork Reservoir.

Bristle Chpt. Reports 56 Volunteer hours, with another 20 hours trying to coordinate the project, which does not include NDOW fisheries biologist hours. The estimated cost of the fish is $1,500.

#backcountryhorsement #flyfishing #rubymountains #fishstocking

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