Stocking Fish in Lakes- Good or Bad?

     I always thought fish stocking of lakes was a good thing. It helps ensure the species being stocked will have a population in the lake. For anglers fish stocking seems like a great deal if the lake they like to fish is being stocked.

     Saganaga Lake has a hearty population of walleye in it. The state record walleye was taken just up the river from us during spawning season one year. I don’t know the logistics of how the DNR took fish or fish eggs from the Seagull River to be transported elsewhere but I’m pretty sure it happened years ago. How did the removal of Saganaga walleyes affect the fishery on Saganaga in future years? You could ask and maybe find a few lean years of walleye fishing and it could be related to whatever the DNR did.

     I recently read an article that made me really think about fish stocking. At first I thought it was kind of crazy but then I started to think about it. Introducing non-native species into lakes that normally don’t support fish? Transferring water from one lake to another when it could have unknown micro-organisms in it? Isn’t that what the DNR is making sure people don’t do now by draining their boats and cleaning them out?

     Just something to think about. What do you know about fish stocking in your area or up here? Enjoy the read.

Environmentalists Sue State Over Flying Fish

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – California is stocking lakes by dumping nonnative fish from airplanes without permits, an environmental group claims in Federal Court.
     Check out Courthouse News’ Environmental Law Digest.
     Felice Pace and Wilderness Watch claim the California Department of Fish and Game is illegally jettisoning "fish by airplanes and canisters borne by packstock into waters of the United States, including those in federally designated areas."
     Pace, a fisherman and hiker from Klamath, in Del Norte County, claims the state is illegally stocking fish in that county and in Humboldt and Lake Counties.
     He claims the fish stocking harms him "by, among other things, altering the integrity of the waters he enjoys, introducing fish that were historically not present, elevating fish populations to unnatural levels, and adversely affecting native wildlife." 5
     Wilderness Watch, a Missoula, Mont.-based nonprofit, claims its members in the three counties are similarly harmed.
     "Fish and Game or its contractors stock fish or authorize the stocking of fish into certain lakes, rivers, and streams in California. Some species of stocked fish are native to the waters where they are stocked. Some species of stocked fish are not native to the waters where they are stocked. Some species of stocked fish are stocked into waters that historically had no fish. If Fish and Game and its contractors were to cease stocking or authorizing stocking of fish in California, roughly 60 percent of the waters previously stocked with fish would not have self-sustaining fisheries," the complaint states.
     The plaintiffs say the state does not have Clean Water Act permits to dump fish into lakes from airplanes, or to release fish fry "transported in oxygenated plastic bags" by horses and mules.
     They claim that stocked fish "alter the physical integrity of the lakes" by, among other things, changing nutrient cycles, spreading diseases to amphibians, eating tadpoles and competing with native fish for food.
     "Collectively, these impacts result in major changes to lake food webs. The water used to release fish can harbor non-native species of aquatic plants, invertebrates, and fish that is introduced into the lake being stocked," the complaint states.
     The plaintiffs say the stocked fish qualify as biological pollutants under the Clean Water Act because their addition can cause artificial "alterations to the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of waters of the state, and have deleterious effects on species of wildlife."
     Pace and Wilderness Watch say Fish and Game is violating the Clean Water Act, and seek a court order forcing the Department to stop stocking fish until it obtains the mandatory permits.
     They are represented by Julia Olson with Wild Earth Advocates in Eugene, Ore.