Ok, the way I figure it...I have about 2.25 minutes until my ambien kicks in...actually I'm on Lunesat now which sells for $100 a month vs $8.00 for generic ambien. Worst $100 I ever spent!
Anyway, off to Ohio tomorrow to spend Christmas with Christine's family. Always hard to be away from my oldest son and parents on Christmas, but it's also hard to be in more than one place at the same time! Merry Christmas to everyone if I don't get online again for a few days!
Now that that's out of the way....had an interetsing chat today with a retired FWP fisheries biologist. Talked about a lot of things and he had some great insight into how the department is managed. One thing that came across was the obvious point that the Madison, as a fishery, has been hurting for several years, especially the Brown Trout populations. The other point that came along with this was the lack of attention that the current biologist is giving to the biological/ecological factors that could be driving the fish popualtion issues.
You know, stuff like how do the flow regimes, spring scouring, fall scouring, water temps and quality actually impact the fishery. Shock, count, analyze data, report up the ladder, summer break, shock, count, analyze date, report up the latter and maybe make a regulation change every other year is about the extent of the current fishery management.
Kind of scary when you stop and think that we're talking about the river that was "saved" by some very controversial biologists back in the 70's that went against the grain to get hatchery fish out of the system and catch and release instituted. That was crazy talk back then, but they did the research, collected the data, and made changes. Unfortunatley today we're at the state where we have oodles of technology and well over a century of trout management in these fisheries yet it seems like we don't have the folks that can get past the bureaucracy and politics enough to objectively get their feet wet and take a look at the how and why of the problem. Just my opinion here.
Another crazy bit of trivia I picked up was from a study they did some time ago - I'm guessing 20-30 yrs ago - on a mark/recapture study. They had two brown trout that were tagged on the Ruby, just below the reservoir, and recaptured the following fall in the Beartrap on the Madison! These 2 fish were anomalies, but it happened! Got me wondering what effect the water we've had the last 2 years could have on population dispersal within that system! Interesting stuff that we should know more about.
Last little factoid is the Pike situation on the lower Gallatin and Missouri. We've known about them for 10yrs now and there have been no efforts by FWP to go out and get them out of these systems which are very important trout habitats. We've all known they are there and that their effects could be devastating on the trout in these fisheries. Other than a few signs at some put, ins there has been very little done here as well.
Things to mull over and hopefully get a few folks to be more proactive with some of this stuff. Everyone is aways quick to give FWP praise as they are a good agency with the public interest at heart. The fact is that they aren't getting it done when it comes to resource management of out wild trout rivers. Why I don't know!