by: David Coulson 2/28/2012
Over the years Iíve enjoyed exploring the waters of different states and have managed to fish in nearly every state west of the Mississippi (missing Hawaii) and a fair number along the eastern seaboard. With luck Iíll be privileged enough to fish every state in the union in my lifetime. Actually, Iíd like to fish all the Canadian provinces and territories and the Mexican states as well. OK, letís face it fishing as many countries as possible would be fun too.
Before fishing a different state, I spend time researching their regulations. Typically, there are more similarities than differences in the regulations between states. I also bounce around the fish and game website (and state parks) checking out such things as records, angler recognition programs, management, status of the fisheries, and other programs the state offers. Often there are more differences in these areas than the fishing regulations. Needless to say, I also compare and contrast what I find with Colorado. In my view, some things are better, some much the same, some not as good, and some are unique. But all of that adds to the adventure of fishing other states.
Texas has a program that fascinates me, Share-a-Lunker. Started in the 1980ís this program has worked to improve the largemouth bass fisheries in Texas through selective breeding, research, and education. Through these efforts theyíve documented the number of lakes producing bass over 13 pounds from one in the 1980ís to 61 today. Further theyíve had over 500 bass (13 pounds plus) shared by anglers with Texas Parks and Wildlife in the breeding program. I donít know about you, but the idea of having a program oriented to building trophy fisheries is more than a little intriguing.
I think Texasí program illustrates some very important points. If you want big fish (any species) you have to release big fish. Having a hatchery program that breeds big fish can play a strong role in developing trophy fisheries. In order for big fish to survive, anglers must practice good handling techniques. Texas Parks and Wildlife has educational tools illustrating how to properly handle trophy sized bass.
It is likely similar programs could work elsewhere, not only for bass, but other species as well. While the breeding programs might not be practical for all species, fully embracing the educational aspects of Texasís program, such as encouraging anglers to limit the harvest of trophy fish (all species), teaching good handling practices, and being proactive in educating anglers on the benefits of these practices could go a long ways towards improving fisheries across the country.
If youíre not familiar with the program, visit their website. Iím sure youíll find it most interesting.
Blog content © David Coulson
cmarbles, CO 2/28/2012 1:27:52 PM
I would be willing to donate my time to help with a program like this.I feel its long over due.
FishinPox, CO 2/28/2012 1:39:16 PM
I 2nd cmarbles. What a great way to expand our knowledge AND improve our fisheries. Can't think of many better ways to put in some "work" for the sake of our sport.
catchn, CO 2/28/2012 2:23:18 PM
I'd love to give it a shot and would gladly donate time. The flip side to that is the fisheries biologists I have talked to about this program seem to think it is more of a "feel good" type of thing and not really all that practical. The growth rates of fish have so many factors besides genetics that the money it would take to do this would be better spent on habitat improvement, regs enforcment etc. Game and Fish biologist words not mine just sayin. Interesting to think about but nutients in the waters of texas or Cal delta, clear lake have more to do with there big fish than breeding or even forage from what I was led to believe.
Dangly, CO 2/28/2012 3:03:04 PM
programs similar to this have worked in Minnesota, a state with seasonal temp fluctuations similar to Colorado's. I would absolutely volunteer for this program, our fisheries system needs to stop using the "that works there but would'nt work here" excuse and at least try something before deciding that said thing does not work.
bluecollarguy, CO 2/28/2012 3:33:40 PM
Another thing that would be nice would be if they moved a bit faster than cold molasses on making decisions. I'm sure they are strapped for time and funds but seriously, every five years to review regulations?
catchn, CO 2/29/2012 1:22:11 PM
I should have said it was AZGF biologists that I spoke with not CO DOW.
hogsback1971, CO 3/1/2012 7:34:21 AM
Great program wish this state would adopt this way of thinking. Also would like to see the F1 stocked in new lakes like Hess or in the new lake up north they are building, With the numbers of DD's that come out of Texas with out any Trout planting if they started stocking during the winter I think it would be Game over for all those Cali Big Bass in 3-5 years!
bluecollarguy, CO 3/1/2012 7:41:56 AM
F1 strain bass in Colorado? I'm not sure about the hybrids, but Florida strain bass have high mortality under ice from what i recall.
Basscat75, CO 3/1/2012 8:31:13 AM
There are f1 strain largemouth in Ute reservoir in New Mexico, Ute has temps just like P Lo , and they are doing extremely well..
hogsback1971, CO 3/3/2012 6:46:32 AM
There are some private ponds here that have F1's that do fine and the growth rate is incredible.
luckycraft, CO 3/4/2012 11:18:56 AM
I've never heard of any Florida strain here in CO. They do have a poor mortality rate in areas this far North. The FL. strains native range doesn't even encompass the entire state of Florida. We don't need Florida bass......we need "Global Warming" to achieve a longer groing season!!!lol