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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.
When I did Cheval we went from Crater. It has naturally reproducing CT.
Yeah, that fish looks skinny so it likely comes from a lake with a stunted population.
It is true that the EB in Pothole are healthy. As are the ones in Granite past Bertha May. But they are unusual in that regard. Fish end up stunted because they eat their way through all the available food in the lake. That in turn threatens some native amphibians and can even cause shifts in zooplankton populations.
But even in lakes where the EB are not stunted any EB that can escape downstream pose a threat to native fish populations. If RB can drop down from Bertha May to Pothole it stands to reason that EB can likely fall out of Pothole and down to the Nisqually.
The EB in Pothole are naturally reproducing. They were stocked in there every so often from the 30s through the 60s. EB don’t need running water to spawn so they are especially likely to become established in high lakes if they are stocked there.
They also stocked Bertha May with EB in the 30s, but as far as I know, they are no longer there. Fortunately.
As for the RB, I suppose it is possible it came down from Bertha May.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by Brian Curtis.
I’ve never been in there so I can only speculate. But my assumption has always been that you work you way down through the cliffs from the Summit Lake trail. That is obviously extremely rugged country so you would have be be very careful.