More dollies than rainbows?

fishingyoda

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I remember catching more rainbows 10-12 years ago in valley lakes. Now it seems like when I go ice fishing it's almost all dollies or landlocked salmon in some lakes. Does anyone else think this is the case? I'd much rather get into some rainbows for the kids but haven't had a lot of luck the last few years.
 

Bushwhack Jack

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I remember catching more rainbows 10-12 years ago in valley lakes. Now it seems like when I go ice fishing it's almost all dollies or landlocked salmon in some lakes. Does anyone else think this is the case? I'd much rather get into some rainbows for the kids but haven't had a lot of luck the last few years.

There is a long interesting history about this actually. Make a long story short, supposedly the old fish hatchery by Eklutna used to be responsible for raising the rainbows that were stocked in the valley lakes. Then, about 10 years ago or so (remember when our fishing licenses went up from $20 to $25) that all stopped and fish and feathers began building the million dollar facility (William J. Hernandez) hatchery down in Anchorage. Well, when fish were raised at the Eklutna plant, the waste heat from the hydroelectric facility helped speed up the production of the rainbows because the ATUs (accumulated thermal units) were higher at a lower cost. Hopefully now that we have this new high-tech facility, hopefully fish and feathers will start speeding up production again but then again, maybe not. Maybe they'll just release more fish but not bigger fish. At least this is what a friend of mine who is a retired fisheries biologist in the valley told me.
 

Sid

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have you checked the stocking program by F & G looks like you are on the swing I think SID :proud:
 

FishGod

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There is a long interesting history about this actually. Make a long story short, supposedly the old fish hatchery by Eklutna used to be responsible for raising the rainbows that were stocked in the valley lakes. Then, about 10 years ago or so (remember when our fishing licenses went up from $20 to $25) that all stopped and fish and feathers began building the million dollar facility (William J. Hernandez) hatchery down in Anchorage. Well, when fish were raised at the Eklutna plant, the waste heat from the hydroelectric facility helped speed up the production of the rainbows because the ATUs (accumulated thermal units) were higher at a lower cost. Hopefully now that we have this new high-tech facility, hopefully fish and feathers will start speeding up production again but then again, maybe not. Maybe they'll just release more fish but not bigger fish. At least this is what a friend of mine who is a retired fisheries biologist in the valley told me.

Sorry, but the info you got is 100% false. The rainbows that were stocked in the Valley always came from the old Elmendorf and Fort Richardson hatcheries. Eklutna was a non-profit hatchery, which produced salmon for commercial reasons. Trout and char stocked in various lakes is dictated by what users want and what the stocking coordinator thinks will work best in a particular lake. If you want more rainbows instead of chars in a particular lake than you need to contact the stocking coordinator and voice your concern.
 

wesak81

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i dont know about you, it all depends what lakes u fish, i always generally catch rainbows, always look at the stocking chart, theres only a few lakes that i know and famialer with cause they hold bigger fish, Its a rare day if i go skunked and not catch a rainbow, i normally catch 22-33 inch Rainbows and its mainly what I target and release when caught, remember most lakes if u catch a fish over 20 inches the limit is one and it has to be recorded. good luck!
 

Bushwhack Jack

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Sorry, but the info you got is 100% false. The rainbows that were stocked in the Valley always came from the old Elmendorf and Fort Richardson hatcheries. Eklutna was a non-profit hatchery, which produced salmon for commercial reasons. Trout and char stocked in various lakes is dictated by what users want and what the stocking coordinator thinks will work best in a particular lake. If you want more rainbows instead of chars in a particular lake than you need to contact the stocking coordinator and voice your concern.

Well, I'm not going to get into a he said, she said, tit for tat with you, but what I said was told to me first hand from a fisheries biologist in the valley. So either he was pulling my leg, or he was incompetent (which I highly doubt based on his reputation), or possibly your information is wrong. So where are you getting your information from?
 

Bushwhack Jack

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i dont know about you, it all depends what lakes u fish, i always generally catch rainbows, always look at the stocking chart, theres only a few lakes that i know and famialer with cause they hold bigger fish, Its a rare day if i go skunked and not catch a rainbow, i normally catch 22-33 inch Rainbows and its mainly what I target and release when caught, remember most lakes if u catch a fish over 20 inches the limit is one and it has to be recorded. good luck!

Wes you are definitely right. There are still plenty of hogs out there, but I do think the guy who started this thread had a point. I remember 10-12 years ago it was much more common to catch larger size rainbows (on average). In fact the name for the rainbows that used to be released from the hatcheries were called "catchables", and when they were released they were probably about 15-20" on average. Now most of the rainbows that are released in the lakes are called "fingerling", "fry" or "smolt", which are usually only about 3-6" on average. Eventually those fingerling and fry will grow to become those hogs you regularly catch, but it just takes a little longer that's all. I know you regularly catch some hogs but I'm not sure how long you have been fishing these lakes in the valley.
 

fishingyoda

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Well I did get into a few rainbows today. I don't know about all these hogs you guys catch. I caught a 16.5 inch bow today and that's the biggest one I've ever caught. I've caught bigger dollies semi regularly but maybe I just don't have the touch for rainbows.
 

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Hunt&FishAK

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Well I did get into a few rainbows today. I don't know about all these hogs you guys catch. I caught a 16.5 inch bow today and that's the biggest one I've ever caught. I've caught bigger dollies semi regularly but maybe I just don't have the touch for rainbows.
almost every stocked lake in the valley, anchorage, and the Kenai has rainbows, big and small and mid sized, but only a handful have char and/or LL salmon. Beer can/ Campbell point in anchorage has all three and it is awesome. It also holds sticklebacks and blackfish. Quite the mixed bag yet very small and relatively shallow. Sand lake used ( before the aholes poisoned it!!!!) had catchable populations of dollies, rainbows, Arctic char, lake trout! And of course pike. After they poisoned it with rotenone, they discovered far more char and bows and of course lakers than pike!!!!!!! Idgits. Sorry, Back on the subject. There are very few lakes that don't have rainbows. Maybe switch up the rigs. Bows tend to hit hardware more. Char tend to hit soft jigs more. That's my experience and it's worked for me.
 

wesak81

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this a nice size bow I caught two weeks ago. Local valley lake.


Sent from my iPhone
 

Sid

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have you checked the Sandlake stocking program every thing but L trout an no pike that is a plus to me SID :proud:
 

willphish4food

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The difference between rainbows and char is warm water. when fish and game had the fort rich hatchery going with free heated water from the power utility, rainbows could grow very quickly to "catchables" which were already frying size. Without the warm water, the same fish only grow to 3 or 4 inches in the same amount of time. So rainbow releases have been mainly the smaller fingerling size for quite a few years. Char do better rearing in cold water, thus the higher frequency of char stocking over the last 10 years. the new hatchery on Ship Creek has a much larger capacity than the old facility did, also warmer water for faster growing. The next few years should see an increase in the numbers of rainbow trout and kokanee catchables being released in valley and anchorage lakes. Not to dispute sources, but this information is readily available from the offices of Fish and Game in Anchorage or Palmer. There is also a hatchery report available on the website, which shows all lakes that are stocked, maps of them, and what, when, and how many fish are stocked.
 

Sid

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F & G said they no longer stock Lake trout, it could be later on but not in the near, as they said SID :proud:
 

FishGod

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Well, I'm not going to get into a he said, she said, tit for tat with you, but what I said was told to me first hand from a fisheries biologist in the valley. So either he was pulling my leg, or he was incompetent (which I highly doubt based on his reputation), or possibly your information is wrong. So where are you getting your information from?

My information is firsthand. I personally stocked those lakes 15 years ago with rainbows from the old Elmendorf and Fort Rich. hatcheries.
 

Bushwhack Jack

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My information is firsthand. I personally stocked those lakes 15 years ago with rainbows from the old Elmendorf and Fort Rich. hatcheries.

Well, I don't know who to believe. If I'm wrong, my apologies. Like I said, I was getting my information from a very well known fish and game biologist who used to work out of Palmer. He is retired now. I suppose it is possible I misunderstood him when he told the story. But from my recollection that is what he told me. I was just repeating what I heard.
 

willphish4food

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Well, I don't know who to believe. If I'm wrong, my apologies. Like I said, I was getting my information from a very well known fish and game biologist who used to work out of Palmer. He is retired now. I suppose it is possible I misunderstood him when he told the story. But from my recollection that is what he told me. I was just repeating what I heard.
Your story was spot on, if you substituted the words "ft rich hatchery" for "Eklutna" hatchery. Its easy for people to misspeak or mis hear something; happens all the time. Heck, moms get their own kids' names wrong all the time. It happens.

Wrong hatchery name aside, the issue was water temperature. Thats been resolved, so the stocking mix should change a bit over the next few years. Can't wait to see more catchables!
 

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