Fate of stocked trout: 5 things learned from 4-year study (No. 3)
Editor’s Note: This is the third of five “things we learned” from our 4-year study to investigate the fate of rainbow trout and Apache trout stocked into several of Arizona’s popular stream trout fisheries.
As part of this project, AZGFD biologists conducted nearly 5,000 angler interviews on six different streams (Canyon Creek, East Fork Black River, East Verde River, Silver Creek, Tonto Creek, and West Fork Little Colorado River) during the trout stocking seasons (April to September) of 2013–2016. From these interviews, biologists estimated total harvest (number of stocked trout kept by anglers), angler effort (total time spent fishing by anglers), and angler catch rates. Our biologists also implanted trout with radio transmitters, in order to track their movements and determine how long they survived in the streams.
Check back each day this week as we reveal the entire list. AZGFD’s Zach Beard, Ryan Mann and Andy Clark contributed to these posts.
3. Anglers spend tons of time fishing for stocked trout!
If fishing a high country stream in Arizona is a therapeutic experience, and we believe it is, then anglers who fished during these surveys should have an advantage in the mental health department.
Anglers have spent thousands of hours casting lines and catching fish on these scenic stretches of stream.
Depending on the stream, anglers each year spent around 3,600-13,800 hours fishing and caught around 1,900-14,300 trout.
In general, anglers kept a large proportion of the stocked rainbow and Apache trout.
Return-to-creel rates are estimates of the percent of fish stocked that were ultimately caught and kept by fisherman. These rates are used by managers to measure how good a fishery is performing. In most of our trout-stocked streams, our goal is for as many trout as possible to be harvested by anglers.
Arizona return-to-creel rates on par with nation
Our state’s return-to-creel rates are similar to those from other streams all around the country:
- We estimate that usually greater than 25 percent our fish stocked were harvested by anglers.
- Nationwide, most stream fisheries stocked with trout generally have return-to-creel rates of between 30 and 40 percent.
- Canyon Creek had the best return-to-creel rate at 66 percent in 2014 — higher than most return-to-creel studies documented in the entire nation.
Check back tomorrow for No. 4.