Facts on Beavers Bend Trout Stocking

I sent this out to my Newsletter, but there are probably some people on here that fish the Lower Mountain Fork River and aren't on my list.

There is currently a lot of misinformation circulating about the Trout stocking program on the Lower Mountain Fork River. A year ago the hatchery supplying Rainbow Trout changed from a privately owned hatchery in Missouri (the same one that supplies the Trout to the Guadalupe River) to one in Nebraska. This summer the stocking frequency changed from every other week to once every three weeks.

From my standpoint as a fly fishing guide and avid fly fisher with over 20 years’ experience on the river, here are my points:
1) Only the frequency of stocking has changed. The actual amount of fish by weight has increased slightly.

2) The Rainbow Trout from the Nebraska hatchery look better and definitely fight harder than the previous fish did, especially when newly stocked.

3) The fishing is very good and has remained so throughout the change in stocking frequency. In addition to fewer days with freshly stocked trout, the "new" Trout don't seem to hang around the stocking point in big clusters and quickly spread out in a more natural population distribution. Regardless of the stocking frequency, The Lower Mountain Fork and Spillway Creek support a healthy population of Trout, both hold-over stocked fish and wild fish, at all times all year. Those anglers who have learned to find the fish at locations other than just the main stocking points are going to do well. Those anglers who only know how to follow fresh stocking truck tire tracks to the fish are going to struggle.

4) The Trout from the Nebraska hatchery don't seem to be as gullible when first stocked as the fish from the Missouri hatchery. This means that some flies and presentations don't work as well as they once did. Those same flies and presentations probably didn't work as well on off stocking weeks in the past. Flies that match the natural foods, when presented properly, will still catch Trout.

5) All of the changes only apply to the stocking of Rainbow Trout in the river. The stocking of Brown Trout follows a different system and is unchanged.

Rob Woodruff
Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide
Lower Mountain Fork River Foundation Advisory Board Member

Stocking Contract Changes
As many of you know, there was a contract problem earlier this year between the ODWC and the new hatchery that got the contract last year to stock our river. Inevitably, there are questions and there is misinformation and incorrect assumptions roaming around out there. Let’s clear up some of these and explain how the stocking has worked this past summer.

The ODWC had to renegotiate a 6-month contract with the hatchery due to an oversight. At the same time, a problem arose with the heat and transporting the trout all the way from Nebraska. The solution came in that the hatchery would start to stock every three weeks instead of every other week. The money saved on fuel on these trips would go towards ice to help the trout survive and a slight increase in the number of trout delivered. This has worked well although there were a few other small problems that popped up and are being corrected.

So, although they are stocking less often, the same “number”, or more, of trout are still being put into the river annually. I have checked this, both from the ODWC and from the hatchery personnel. Period.

Now, I put the word number, above, in quotes because that is how we always talk but that is not the real way the contract works. The contract has always been for pounds of trout and then there are sizes of trout that can be purchased. The contract is for so many pounds. And then within that, it is stipulated that the trout will be split into size percentages. An example is that 90% of the trout will be 12”-14” and the other 10% will be over 14” – or something along those lines.

In the past, the stockings had gotten so consistent that a“number” of trout started to get thrown about. Even if you go to the ODWC it will state the number of trout. Since most of the stocked fish are less than one pound it always looks better to give a number rather than a weight. And the number is a guess too. They guess how many trout are in a net and multiply that by the number of nets that go in the truck. They don’t actually count the fish- 1, 2, 3…. At the same time, the new hatchery is putting in a percentage of bigger fish – as most of you can readily attest to by what you have been catching – or breaking off. This increase in size, therefore, leads to a smaller number of fish to maintain the correct pounds of fish we receive by contract.

The bottom line of all this is that there was a decrease in the number of stockings per year by 1/3. But there was an increase in the poundage of trout we get per year and there was a small increase in the size of the trout we are getting in each stocking.

So, by weight we are getting more trout. By the numbers of trout, it may be a bit more, a bit less, or about the same.

Patrick Waters, LMFRF

[This message has been edited by 87Flyfisher (edited 10/6/2013 7:31a).]
Good info
More info on newsletter??
Same info as in Email Newsletter.
Does the same go for the lower Illinois as well?
How do you get email newsletter?
Oruc- Illinois River is stocked weekly from a different hatchery.

Markandles- Either go to www.flyfishingfork.com and fill in the contact page and click "newsletter yes" or send an Email to WGSFlyfish@aol.com.
My mistake. I saw the contact page but didn't see that checkbox.
last time I went, results were disappointing. a lot of people reporting the same thing? however I did catch record size stocker for me.
Shifty- Some complaints, but equally matched by people who are doing well and catching some really nice fish. My trips have been very good even through the summer heat.

The main reason for the post is there are all kinds of rumors of the fishery being phased out, fish kills, terrible fishing, etc. All of which are untrue. The reason for the schedule change is the hatchery truck was coming from Nebraska under capacity. They proposed that they make fewer trips with more fish and spend the fuel cost savings on ice to keep the trout healthier when it is hot and extra pounds of fish.

love going fishing up to that place. went 3 times this Spring, caught trout on every trip. Best fish of the trip were a 22" brown trout, 8lb bass, and several rainbows up to 18". Thanks for posting the detailed reports.
From the great guidance and tutelage from 87, I always catch. Sometimes it is a nice oak or a gnarly driftwood.
Do stocked fish survive and reproduce as well as the native fish?
there are no trout native to that area. water is too warm.
There are lots of trout that are born in the water and survive. The LMFRF and ODW stock. The LMFRF also planted vibert boxes with egg supplies. I have also seen natural redd, so the fish are mating and surviving. The coloring on the stream born fish are MUCH better and more vibrant than the coloring on a stocked fish.
The fish definitely survive and breed there, i've caught brown trout to 22" and at least 3 rainbows over 20" full of eggs and i know they didn't stock those fish that way.

The water is artificially cooled much like the Texas Trout fishery in Gruene/New Braunfels area. The water is cool year round because water released into the river come from the body of a large deep reservoir directly upstream. Ie. Canyon Lake in Texas and Lake Broken Bow in Oklahoma.

You can send me a PM if you want to know more info about it. One of the fly shops also has a facebook page that makes some good posts/pics/info occasionally.


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