Collaborative Floy Tag Study- Green Bay Trout Unlimited and Peshitgo WDNR
- OVERVIEW: The goal of this project is to study the movement, overall harvest and growth of Brown trout that are stocked in the 10-14 inch range in the lower Oconto River. DNR hatcheries do not produce Brown trout in the 10+ inch range for stocking, since the cost to raise fish to this size would be cost prohibitive to the DNR stocking program.
- BACKGROUND: Overall Brown trout harvest in the bay and tribs have been low since around 2000, even though WDNR has been stocking at relatively similar levels through the years. Reduced fishing effort does not explain the drop in harvest based on creel surveys. What appears to be driving the drop in harvest is reduced survival of stocked fish. In an effort to increase survival of fish for the first few months of their time in the bay when they are vulnerable to predation, WDNR began an intense change to our stocking regime beginning in 2010. As a result, we 1) began offshore stocking spring yearlings, and 2) discontinued stocking fall fingerlings. The goal of offshore stocking was to bring yearlings away from near-shore predators. The rationale behind discontinuing fall fingerlings is that we do not believe they are contributing to overall harvest, since these fish are 5-7 inches and likely don't grow much all winter long when they are vulnerable as prey before the growing season begins the following spring.
- STUDY OBJECTIVES: How long do fish stocked in the Oconto River in the spring stay in the river. Do they tend to return to the Oconto River in the fall or the following year(s)? Or are they returning to other tribs as well (Menominee, Peshtigo)? What is their overall contribution to the total GB harvest? What is their return rate (4% return rate based on # of stocked fish is acceptable)? DNR’s return rate on stocked fish is about 1%.
- RATIONAL: Even though we have seen a drop in the overall harvest of brown trout in the bay, the harvest in the tribs (specifically the Oconto River) has continued to be fairly consistent. Anglers are continuing to successfully fish the Oconto River, and continue to show interest in additional fishing opportunities (i.e. more fish stocked) in the river. We don't just want to stock more fish and hope for the best. A floy tag study can help us get at some of these questions, and provide fish that have a VERY good likelihood of surviving the first summer.
- ADDITIONAL BENEFITS: 1) Provide for a unique stream trout fishery close to Green Bay and urban areas of Brown county.2) Provides a venue that is accessible and one that can be used by anglers of all skill levels, ages, and gender.3) Project and supporters receive excellent public relations and good will from anglers of all age, skill level, and gender.4) Project supporters receive signage at canoe landing access point at Iron bridge.
- PROJECT COSTS: for approx. 1000 10-14” Brown trout= ¾ of a pound average @$4/ pound Project cost of $3200 for trout and delivery also $700-800 for 1000 floy tags= TOTAL COST $4000. LESS MONEY=LESS DATA/FISH
- Green Bay Trout Unlimited has committed to funding the project for $1000. Oconto County Electric Co-Op has committed to $2000 for this year’s project. The Green Bay Chapter respectfully submits the above for consideration and a request for funding from fellow brethren in Trout Unlimited Chapters.
- Thank You, Paul Kruse – N.E. Regional Chair, Trout Unlimited (920) 639-2361 and Tammie J. Paoli- (DNR Fisheries Biologist, Peshtigo Service Center) (715)582-5052