Wednesday, May 17, 2006

1st Successful Trout Reproduction


For the first time ever documented in Oklahoma, fisheries biologists have documented natural reproduction of rainbow trout. The discovery was made in the Lower Mountain Fork River trout fishery below Broken Bow Lake.

“Clearly, this new information sets the Lower Mountain Fork River apart as one of the premier tail water fisheries in the nation,” said Barry Bolton, assistant chief of fisheries for the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.


Anglers reported observing trout spawning activity in December and January. A few months later, scattered reports began coming in of very small rainbow trout being caught by anglers.


“All of the trout that we stock are much bigger than a few inches, so we did a small survey with a bag seine,” said Paul Balkenbush, southeast region fisheries supervisor for the Wildlife Department.

In four different locations, biologists caught a total of 17 young rainbow trout.

“Due to the nature of the river – lots of boulders and swift current – there was a very limited number of places we could use our seine effectively. The fact that we were able to catch young trout in every location was very encouraging and leads us to believe that they are abundant and widespread. We are not certain of their age but they were born here,” Balkenbush said. “They may only be two or three-inches long right now, but we can say without a doubt that these are wild fish.”

The Wildlife Department first stocked the Lower Mountain Fork River with trout more than 17 years ago. Since that time the 12-mile designated trout stream has seen many habitat improvements. Additionally, thanks to the efforts of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation, the U.S. Congress passed the Water Resources Development Act in 1996 to ensure that cool water from Broken Bow Lake is released throughout the year to sustain the trout fishery.


Editor's Note: Courtesy of Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation

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