At first it’ll likely prompt feigned outrage as the bait and hardware crowd wail and gnash teeth, claiming that the real goal is to enjoy the outdoors… That’ll die down once the realization sets in that it’ll mean easy access, flat surfaces for lawn chairs and coolers of beer and a near-guarantee the freezer can be filled without breaking a sweat.Buried deep on the California Fish & Game Commission website is a little pdf titled “Trout Hatchery Production for Angling Opportunity” that suggests opening a raceway or two at one hatchery to recreational angling.
This is only one of a few proposals and changes at California Dept. of Fish & Game growing out of the Center for Biological Diversity’s 2006 lawsuit and subsequent proceedings. Now that I’ve moved up the ethical pecking order to become a catch-and-release fly fisherman and have washed away any lingering odor or memory of ever using bait, it’s easy to write with a straight face that perhaps this isn’t such a bad idea. (Not to worry, this modest proposal still allows for an outdoors experience with the stocking of mutant triploid trout in reservoirs.)
Most of us are guilty — at one time or another — of enjoying the rewards of a 100-plus-year-old stocking program but the commission may be on to something here. It’d be easier to outlaw deadly barbed treble hooks on streams and rivers when the option for Power Bait aficionados is a raceway brimming with
stupid hungry trout.
Though the state is trimming the budget, there’ll be no need for access fees…lure in the crowds, and there’s new income to be found in raceway-side concessions.
Besides the reduction of streamside
competition accumulation of empty Power Bait jars and Styrofoam worm containers, there just maybe a bigger upside for fans of catch and release.
In addition to increasing triploid production for future years, DFG is developing greater capability to successfully produce and stock heritage (native) trout species. Currently, four native species are being produced in DFG hatcheries. Kern River Hatchery is being modified with a water delivery back up system and other infrastructure upgrades for production of the native Kern River rainbow trout. Establishment of a broodstock is expected by fall of 2011. Five heritage species should be in production by January 1, 2012, with 25 percent of overall production to be comprised of heritage species. The feasibility of rearing Lahontan cutthroat trout for the Lake Tahoe basin restoration…
If it means an opportunity for
me everyone to target more of our native species, that’s a sacrifice I’m we’re all willing to make.