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SMALLMOUTH IN STRAWBERRY, PART II


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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

SMALLMOUTH IN STRAWBERRY, PART II PDF | Print | E-mail

 

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Daily Herald

Last week's column created more questions in readers' minds than I was able to answer. So, since the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday and most people only get one day off, I decided skip the hot fishing tips, and instead try to answer some questions in anglers' minds on the topic of finding bass in the "Berry."

 

1. "Why is it bad to have smallmouth in Strawberry?"

 

It may not be "bad" at all. Nobody knows, and that's my point. Strawberry Reservoir is a known quantity. Since the early 1900s, this fertile body of water has been a prolific producer of giant rainbow trout. You'll remember that I've had my issues with turning it into a cutthroat reservoir.

 

The simple fact is, the DWR really doesn't have as much biological data as one might think. Whenever a new species is introduced (legally or illegally), it's kind of like playing "pin the tail on the donkey" -- the player is blindfolded and can't really predict the outcome.

 

2. "Can't smallmouth bass and trout get along?"

 

Yes, in fact they get along very well in other reservoirs. However, my concerns lie in the long-term affects their introduction might have on the forage base. The cutthroats were introduced to control the chub population and smallmouth bass will be able to assist in that effort, but they will also have a field day with their favorite food -- crayfish.

 

Strawberry produces literally tons of crayfish and, for the most part, the large adults aren't threatened by the trout. But the small crayfish are prime targets for all species in the lake. My fear is that the smallmouth might alter that food supply, and if so, will there be enough to go around?

 

3. "Can smallmouth bass spawn at an elevation of 7,000 feet?"

 

This is a great question. A couple of years ago I spoke with one of the directors of the Strawberry project, Roger Wilson. He told me he didn't think smallmouth could reproduce in Strawberry due to the short summer seasons -- the water temperatures are generally too low.

 

I have other thoughts on the subject. In "Jurassic Park," the character played by Jeff Goldblum made the comment, "Nature finds a way."

 

He was referring to the sexes of dinosaurs, but I believe the jury is out on whether smallmouth could successfully reproduce in a short season. I believe Nature will find a way and they will reproduce.

 

4. "What can we do now that they're in the reservoir?"

 

If you catch one, eat it. They make great table fare and you might help the fishery in the process.

 

Don Allphin can be reached at remaxdoa@gmail.com.

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