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Back to fishies and froggies

Grab your bear can or camp chair, kick your feet up and chew the fat about anything Sierra Nevada related that doesn't quite fit in any of the other forums. Within reason, (and the HST rules and guidelines) this is also an anything goes forum. Tell stories, discuss wilderness issues, music, or whatever else the High Sierra stirs up in your mind.

Re: Back to fishies and froggies

Postby el cuervo » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:24 pm

Bad Man From Bodie wrote:el cuervo....

Why do you hate fish ???????


Who says I hate fish?

Any chance we can read what these "others" have to write on the topic at hand?

I enjoy native fish in their home waters as much as I enjoy substantiated facts.
Last edited by el cuervo on Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Re: Back to fishies and froggies

Postby rlown » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:35 pm

Let me spin this topic in a slightly different direction. Based on the data that the scientists have put forth, which lakes/basins would you gladly give up as frog habitat?

From what i've read, it seems that they have to be all lakes in the upstream part of a basin, with good downstream fish barriers, natural or otherwise.

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Re: Back to fishies and froggies

Postby Bad Man From Bodie » Fri Jan 02, 2009 4:53 pm

So cuervo....

Bacicaly you are throwing out the The Vanishing Frog, hosted by Animal Planets Jeff Corwin as crap and not sound science ehh???? You are also disputing the data presented in the program no????

Also, what is not "substantiated fact" in the program?

Im off to Lee Vining so I'll have to catch ya later........as for those "others"....what data will satisfy you?
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Re: Back to fishies and froggies

Postby rlown » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:07 pm

Let's not spin this discussion out of control again so Eric locks it. If we want facts that need to be presented, please stick to your facts.

(I'd just hate to see valuable dialog get locked again). I think there is a middle ground between Frog and Fish. Some lakes would be fine to be cleared for Frogs. Other lakes, some we dont really want to mention in a forum, might end up targets because we don't have involvement in the "selection" process for fish removal.

I'm wanting more transparency from DFG and the NPS on the plans are, and more input from the Angling community.

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Re: Back to fishies and froggies

Postby el cuervo » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:19 pm

BM,

If that television show is the "others" you were referring to, disregard my request.

If by others you mean peer-reviewed journals, please post links.
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Re: Back to fishies and froggies

Postby rlown » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:30 pm

el cuervo,

Maybe you could start a constructive dialog by posting your facts. We saw the show, we've read Roland's Blog (good stuff btw for the most part)

Russ

It might help others post resonable rebuttals or agreement.
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Re: Back to fishies and froggies

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:33 pm

Indeed we should stay on track here and stay civil.

Regarding your questions about which basins might be the best to "sacrifice" I must confess I don't have enough information to be able to make informed recommendations. The question concerns not on the distribution of frogs and the fish, but also the conditions of the frogs with regard to the dread chytrid fungus. There is also the problem of accessibility and the ease of coffee canning. There are oodles of overpopulated lakes (we usually think brookies, but I can think of some stunted rainbow and golden lakes, too) that anglers would be more than happy to sacrifice, but these aren't always optimally located with respect to the above criteria. There is also the curious case of the northern Sierra where frogs and trout have managed to coexist many decades into to the air drop era (and from what I hear the frogs seem to fight off the fungus better, too). Why this is so I don't know, but I know of lakes in Desolation that have had frogs and very good trout populations for decades, whereas in the "High" Sierra the only trout-bearing lakes that have MYLF have either very low population densities or (in the case of one lake I know that has frogs plus a ton of brookies) they have fishless ponds available nearby for the poliwogs to overwinter in (or at least that's the explanation I heard).

In any case, the above illustrates why continued cooperation and communication between the angling community and frog advocates is needed. We don't want to see fisheries wiped out in areas where frogs have little chance of repopulation. For example in the Triple Divide (juncture of Kern-Kings-Kaweah drainages) area (on all sides) there are dozens of lakes that are fishless and have been fishless for decades, but lack frogs. Something else has decimated the frog population here or is preventing it from recovering. This would be a very bad place to wipe out the few remaining fisheries, it would seem.

As for transparency, this is a problem, but I am sensitive to the concern by those on both sides of this (FWS, USFS, NPS on one side, DFG on the other). One of the fears folks have is that public knowledge will lead to coffee canning which would obviously sabotage frog recovery efforts. The flip side of this is it is a major bummer to hike to some remote off trail place and find a former lunker fishery devoid of fish (or in the case of some stories, full of gill nets). The coffee can thing is real and I have received some reliable info on at least one notorious (recent) case in Seki.
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Re: Back to fishies and froggies

Postby gdurkee » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:43 pm

Whoa! What a busy place. And we're keeping it civil (though I imagine Eric's finger is hovering nervously over the "lock" button...).

Bad Man: Thanks mucho for posting the link to the Discovery program. That was outstanding -- I don't have cable and had wanted to see that. A really good example of science reporting. I did, though, miss reference there to science which would contradict any of either Roland's or Vance's research. At the end, they talked about climate change being a contributor, but that didn't seem to contradict anything on either the role of Chytrid or fish. Temperature, if it's a factor, only seems to enhance the effects of Chytrid, if I understood it correctly (as well as Roland's comments on his blog).

Also, just as a side-note on porcupines. I followed up from your comment a few months ago. Our Park's Chief Scientist has been hearing anecdotal stories about possible porcupine decline. The problem is no one has a handle on it enough to start a study (or money...). I think it's fair to say that of the species in California that have been endangered or considered endangered, each has received an enormous amount of scientific and press attention: bighorn sheep; peregrine falcon; even a kangaroo rat, if I remember right. In fact, the attention given the yellow-legged frog is pretty impressive considering it's not a cuddly and furry animal. Increasingly, I think such attention is appropriately proportionate to the perception that it's a wider problem (in habitat destruction or as an indicator species) than just the species in trouble. That's what's happening here. As I've said before, it's not just about the frogs. It's about the Sierra ecosystem.

I wish I were in Lee Vining right now... .

Russ: good to get us on track -- the fish froggie brouhaha has happened here before and we have a tendency to get excitable.

From what i've read, it seems that they have to be all lakes in the upstream part of a basin, with good downstream fish barriers, natural or otherwise.


Roland has a pretty good essay about the criteria required. Also, this spring, I think Sequoia Kings will publish their EA on the proposed lakes for fish removal over the next 30 years. If I'm in the frontcountry when that happens, I'll post it here. Here's Rolands thoughts on criteria:

In these projects, site selection was straightforward: choose sites that (1) are in close proximity to existing frog populations, (2) contain high quality frog habitat, and (3) have the appropriate characteristics to allow fish population removal using mechanical means (gill netting, electrofishing). Criterion 1 ensures that mountain yellow-legged frogs will be able to recolonize the restoration site following fish removal. For Criterion 2, high quality habitat is generally characterized as lakes deeper than 3 m (10'), located at elevations below 3600 m (11800'), and surrounded by other suitable habitats including fishless lakes, ponds, marshes, and low-gradient streams (see Knapp et al. 2003 for details). Criterion 3 requires that there are no upstream fish populations and that fish from downstream locations are prevented from moving into the site by natural barriers on the interconnecting streams.


The full essay is here:
http://anuranblog.blogspot.com/2008/12/frog-restoration-state-of-science.html

Another essay with his thoughts about the role of climate change is here:
http://anuranblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/more-about-climate-change-and-amphibian.html

And researchers spreading chytrid:
http://anuranblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/frog-fable-1-frog-disease-is-spread-by.html

Actually, read all three of his Frog Fables.

Finally, Giantbrookie's comment that the angler community really needs to engage in this problem in a reasonable way is an excellent point. Totally opposing all attempts to restore frog habitat won't work. The angler community has to accept that it is in no way an either/or equation. The tendency to paranoia, by some, that the government is out to destroy your fishing is just not going to get you a place at the table with any credibility or subsequent influence.

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Re: Back to fishies and froggies

Postby el cuervo » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:45 pm

giantbrookie wrote:The flip side of this is it is a major bummer to hike to some remote off trail place and find a former lunker fishery devoid of fish (or in the case of some stories, full of gill nets). The coffee can thing is real and I have received some reliable info on at least one notorious (recent) case in Seki.


Who on earth could be moving fish around?

Bad Man From Bodie wrote:... I for one can almost guarantee a fishless Odell Lake minus some coffee can efforts (Shhhhh).


With irresponsible behavior such as that alluded to by BM, can you blame the state/fed people for keeping the list of lakes hush-hush? gill-netting takes years and costs a lot of money and effort.

As George wrote, if fisherman want a seat at the table, then they need to act in a manner deserving to be listened to.

I am not condoning all that is done by the state/fed people either. The institutional dogma at these agencies is a menace in its own right.
Last edited by el cuervo on Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Back to fishies and froggies

Postby rlown » Fri Jan 02, 2009 5:48 pm

One of the fears folks have is that public knowledge will lead to coffee canning which would obviously sabotage frog recovery efforts.


On Transparency, If the reasons were obvious and published, one normally wouldn't "coffee can". Yosemite NP did not open to planning or announce the lakes they removed in '07 when i found the nets. Their planning site just said, "Status: done". Research was the excuse.. I'm asking for earlier "transparency" into what they're planning.

this is what i want changed. I want a list of lakes/basins targeted and a discussion.. The Aquatic Plan for Yose is a good move forward, but i still want a list of lakes targeted, and i want them publicized at the Wilderness permit areas.

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Re: Back to fishies and froggies

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:07 pm

rlown wrote:On Transparency, If the reasons were obvious and published, one normally wouldn't "coffee can". Yosemite NP did not open to planning or announce the lakes they removed in '07 when i found the nets. Their planning site just said, "Status: done". Research was the excuse.. I'm asking for earlier "transparency" into what they're planning.this is what i want changed. I want a list of lakes/basins targeted and a discussion.. The Aquatic Plan for Yose is a good move forward, but i still want a list of lakes targeted, and i want them publicized at the Wilderness permit areas.
Russ


Coming from the standpoint of one who doesn't coffee can and doesn't plan to, and one who tends to hike to pretty inaccessible places with few available days, I too want information before in advance (before I get my wilderness permit at least), before a high percentage of my few available backcountry days are expended in a fishless death march. This is why I started the fish kill thread on the fishing board here, so that we can have a centralized point of information that is otherwise difficult to obtain. In the peak years when my wife and I fished close to 100 different lakes a year (in 1997 we fished 105) I devoted some time to digging up this info (I had a data exchange thing going with several folks at DFG and my wife and I once stopped off at Roland's place and traded info over some bottles of epic home brew), but I must confess I don't go after all of this with the vigor I did in the old days because I just don't fish enough to justify the time investment.

A final little note concerns how much adventure and the unknown plays into the pleasure we take in the more adventurous backcountry fishing trips we do. By about 2000, I had received enough info, or was aware of enough info, that we could, if we wished, pick up the phone, or send an email to find out about pretty much any lake in the Sierra. I must admit succumbing to this temptation more often than not, and I can say that knowing is great to prevent nasty surprises (such as Mattie), but not knowing has its charms, too. When my wife and I took our trip epic trip from New Army to Shepherd in 1996, there was a comparative scarcity of data available. Sierra South had (and still has) more complete coverage of that region than Cutter, but the coolest thing was being able to guess whether or not lakes had fish by looking up McDermand's archival accounts of the 40's and assessing spawning potential (using topo maps, and in some cases stereo air photos). It is a very nice thing to NOT know whether a lake has fish in it before hand and be pleasantly surprised. This was the case in several epic trips my wife and I made to Yosemite and Seki in 1992-1997. Now it is sad to say that some of the magic of such adventures has been drowned by having too much info at my fingertips. That having been said, it is safe to say that my wife and I had a few more days to burn in the 90's than we have now. I did partially resist the temptation on my one death march in 2008 and the surprises/unknowns did indeed very much enhance that trip (although the best fishing highlights were absolutely in the realm of prior knowledge).
Last edited by giantbrookie on Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Back to fishies and froggies

Postby gdurkee » Fri Jan 02, 2009 6:17 pm

Russ' point that the Wilderness Permit people should have a list of lakes being netted is a good one. For Sequoia Kings, I just wrote our Wilderness Manager suggesting that.

I suspect part of the problem (though I don't know for sure) is that the first round of nettings was, in fact, "research" -- pretty much a proof of concept. That's true in Sequoia anyway. The research has been done and the concept established. The next phase (which starts soon) will require EAs to be published and public comment solicited. This is for the Parks. I know Russ was having problems getting information from DF&G, but I have no idea how they operate. I would think an EA would be required, either by them or the USFS.

So, I could well be wrong, but for Yosemite and Sequoia Kings anyway, no new lakes will be netted (other than the ones already underway) without public comment. If I hear anything different, I'll post it here.

But there's also a practical problem: the person giving the Wilderness Permit. As I'm sure all of you have experienced, it's really variable. Most are good, but I know a few don't quite get it. It's sometimes all we can hope for just to have them talk about fire limits and taking out your garbage. Having them think about adding a talk about gill netting in lakes they've never been too may overload the system... .

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