Ok...I was just about to give up all together on our King Salmon in Lake Chelan THEN Bam! We boated a real nice 12 lber..If you look at the Adipose Fin on this Salmon it is Not a Hatchery Triploid Salmon but a "Natural wild salmon" which the Parents spawned in the Stehiken River or another Tributary that feed Lake Chelan.
I do hope a few people read this report because I need to fill everybody in on some Real details on the Triploid Chinook Program here on Lake Chelan...The WDFW have been stocking Triploid Chinook in Lake Chelan for years now and have been Clipping the Adipose Fin from these fish to Identify them as hatchery Stocked Chinook. So you would think that one of us Guides or a Fisherman would catch an adipose fin clipped Chinook out of Lake Chelan. I am out on Lake Chelan more than most and can tell you that I have not caught 1 adipose Fin Clipped Chinook Salmon from Lake Chelan! All the Chinook that I have been catching over the last few years have been coming from Natural Spawning Chinook. My question is why? Now I do feel that I have answers to this. Last Year the stocking of the Triploid Chinook were stocked at Millbay Boat Launch by Planting Truck. I had heard of the Stocking that took Place so for my own curiosity, I decided to do a little Trolling in front of Millbay for laketrout just to see if by chance the Laketrout would be feeding on the Baby Chinook that were stocked 2 days before. We used the Ace Hi-Fly trolled on the bottom and was not long before we hooked our first laketrout and were Graphing good numbers of Fish on the bottom in front of Millbay. Then we caught another! Ok now I had some confidence that the laketrout were in fact feeding on the little Kings but could not tell for sure until I opened the Belly's up and look at the stomach content of the Laketrout. At the end of my 4 hour boat I proceeded to clean our catch. With my curiosity bugging me so much I dug deep in the Fish box to pull out the First laketrout of the day that we caught in front of Millbay
I was absolutely Blown Away at what I found in the Stomach. Now this Laketrout weighed 6lbs and some change. This 1 Laketrout had 18 Baby Adipose Fin Clipped Chinook in its stomach. I do have to say that some of the fish were digested beyond visual recognition but with the baby's that I could recognize, I am assuming they were all Baby Chinook.
After my findings, I contacted the Local Biologist and filled him in on this Huge Issue. We chatted about what us fisherman and Guides could do to help this fishery out. My suggestion was to Scatter Plant these baby's all over the lake by boats and coolers to give the Baby Chinook a chance of survival instead of Backing a Planting truck down a Boat Launch and releasing the fish right in the mouths of the Laketrout. He did tell me that this is a great Idea!!!! So I made contact early in the year to let them know that I would be willing along with other Fisherman with boats and coolers to meet them at Millbay. I thought that our Plan was to net some of the babies into coolers and the boats would Scatter Plant the fish all over the lake.
I had not heard anything on when the Chinook would be ready for stocking, so decided to stop in and chat with the Bio.
Come to Find out they had already stocked them By Planting Truck at 2 Boat Launches with Millbay Boat Launch being 1 of the Launches.
OK. I have calmed down enough now which has allowed me to type this story/report to let you all know why the Hatchery Stocked Triploid Chinook Population has not worked.
Now who is with me on wanting the Chinook Fishery Back in Lake Chelan. What do we do to get the Chinook Population back in Chelan so we can have a Salmon Derby Again? Obviously what WDFW is doing now is not working with what I have found!!! This was a huge event that brought Numerous Fisherman to our Lake which boosted our economy and also Created License Sales for WDFW. I am not sure why WDFW is not focusing on this Program to try to increase this Fishery. If you had fished Lake Chelan before and were lucky enough to catch one of these Land Locked Gem Chinook from the Years past, I can almost guaranty that you want this species back in the Lake. All the Talk about how good the fishery was for the Chinook from our Locals and how good they are for table fair, This Should be a Priority Fish for Lake Chelan. I thought that this might be the year for a Change but obviously with stocking the Chinook in this same manner, WDFW don't want to change. What Do We Do? Joe Heinlen
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