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June 08, 2012

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Trout stocked in Fort McCoy waterways

Anglers fishing Fort McCoy waters for rainbow trout this summer will have better odds because of increased stocking efforts.

John Noble, Fort McCoy Fisheries biologist, said the Genoa National Fish Hatchery provided the installation with approximately 18,000 rainbow trout — 3,000 more than usual. Six Fort McCoy locations were stocked: Squaw Lake, Sandy Lake, Big Sandy Lake, Stillwell Lake, Swamp Pond, and Sparta Pond. Larger numbers of trout were stocked at Squaw, Sandy and Big Sandy, he said.

PHOTO: Dan Kumlin  helps stock rainbow trout at Swamp Pond. Photo by Rob Schuette
Dan Kumlin, a maintenance mechanic for the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service at the Genoa National Fish Hatchery, helps stock rainbow trout at Swamp Pond at Fort McCoy. (Photo by Rob Schuette)

“The trout are also bigger than normal, averaging about 10-and-three-quarters inches long,” Noble said. “The Genoa Hatchery staff did a great job. Anglers should have some nice-sized trout to catch this year.”

Noble said some Fort McCoy anglers may be asked about their fishing experience in a creel survey. The survey is used by the Fort McCoy Fisheries Management program to help gather data to make improvements to the fisheries program.

Creel surveys were done on opening day, May 5 this year, and will be conducted at least four times each month.

Contracted employees from Colorado State University conduct the interviews.

Noble said the one-on-one interaction with customers helps the fisheries program learn more about their angling experience and estimate annual fish harvest.

“From the 2011 Creel Survey, 42 percent of the anglers said they did not purchase a fishing permit in 2010. That was up from an average of 31 percent during the previous 10 years, with the survey beginning in 1998.”

“We can usually relate this to a higher turnover rate of anglers as employees.” Noble said. “Soldiers and Families can be here temporarily and get a chance to enjoy some fishing. Another contributing factor may be related to the Automated License Issuance System “ALIS,” which has increased opportunities to get a fishing permit, improving the angling access, and promoting the Fort McCoy fishing season. We are finding some anglers traveling greater distances to fish here. We will see if this trend continues and learn more about our angler demographics.”

The North Flowage was the most-popular destination, with 26 percent of the anglers planning to fish in it, followed by 21 percent at Big Sandy Lake and 20 percent at Squaw Lake.

The Squaw Lake fishery provides a unique recreational opportunity for Fort McCoy visitors, he said. The campground has an ALIS system.

Anglers can purchase Fort McCoy permits and also buy or rent other recreational activities, such as lodging at the Pine View Campground and recreational equipment, including boats, fishing gear, canoes, paddleboats, etc.

Because of the high fishing pressure at Squaw Lake, excess bluegills from the robust population at Stillwell Lake were transferred to Squaw Lake to offset the effects of high angling pressure and limited spawning habitat, Noble said. The Squaw Lake bluegill fishing has been a great bonus to angler’s activity and creel.

“Early season reports indicate fishing is good in all post waterways,” Noble said. “We’re looking forward to a busy year.”

Anglers can purchase necessary licenses and permits at any location, such as retail or sport shops, that has ALIS equipment or at the Pine View Campground, building 8053 (open to public), or at the Fort McCoy Exchange, building 1537 (open to authorized military personnel.)

For more information about fishing opportunities/regulations at Fort McCoy, visit the Fort McCoy public website at www.mccoy.army.mil and click on visitors and fishing and hunting or call the Permit Sales Office at 608-388-3337.

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