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Sigh – How Grand Is the Grand Plan?

I’m being taken to task in another forum – even being accused of a “bass whacker” and someone that has garbage cleaned up after me, for suggesing the “Grand Plan” is fraudulent, and should not be applied as any sort of model to the Conestogo River.

Here’s the “Grand Plan” official report, for public consumption. It’s a PDF file – and you can read it yourself.

There are two things, that in my opinion, are not written in BIG BOLD letters on everypage:

1. The “Grand Brown Trout Fishery” depends on annual stocking 20 to 25 thousand fish annually.

2. There is no evidence of any sustainable Brown Trout reproduction in the Grand Tailwater

As far as I’m concerned, all else is commentary.

The fact that through some cooperation with some agencies and some interested parties, along with the fact that 25,000 brown trout have been stocked annually for 15 years should make the Grand a “success story” or some “model” to be copied is utter bogus to me.

That’s not to take away from my own enjoyment of brown trout fishing on the Grand River tailwaters.

But tell me – why should such a “model,” that will require the annual stocking of fish forever, be something that should be copied in other tailwaters of Ontario where river water quality is poor – but there IS reproduction of natural native species – without much help – or even stocking of those species – be a model to adapt or accept?

Go read the “Grand Plan.” Tell me in your opinion, how “grand” it is, with the historical but brief admissions that natural brown trout reproduction evidence is limited and probably zilch for all intents and purposes.

Tell me why that same plan should be adopted for introduction to the Conestogo River tailwater system – where if adopted, there would be this enormous focus on Brown Trout, and quite likely the requirement to annually stock the Conestogo forever, in order to maintain that Brown Trout fishery, while ignoring what is already there, and native to Ontario, Smallmouth Bass?

Tell me why asking these questions motivates some to accuse me of being a “bass whacker” and someone who leaves garbage behind, to be picked up by “trout bums?”

If there was some hope that Brown Trout in the Grand River tailwaters would become a self sustaining fishery, without the need for constant stocking forever, well, let’s call that hope what it was: A great experiment that failed.

I would challenge anyone to prove that the same results as far as great growth rates – couldn’t have been obtained with natural fish species such as brook trout – couldn’t have been had.

But that’s not really my point.

My point is, attempting to use the same flawed model in regard to the Grand Tailwaters – the annual stocking of thousands of non-native fish over and over and over every year – is flawed if it is to be applied to other fisheries – when those other fisheries already have species of fish that naturally reproduce – can be caught on the fly rod, but will likely lose any focus or help if some plan like the “Grand Plan” is applied to those fisheries.

Specifically to the Conestogo, why aren’t we asking for more smallmouth bass stocking to bolster present natural stock, and instead, are trying to create a new “Brown Trout” fishery – a fishery that is not natural and never existed on the river, in it’s prime?

And if it’s a “trout” stream you want, then why not stock with Brookies – yeah.. I know.. not really “trout” – but natural to Ontario nonetheless – and while we’re rebuilding the river, we can stock with what should naturally be there, instead of creating an artificial fishery of imported brown trout?

How does asking these questions make me a “polluter” or someone inclined to leave garbage behind to be picked up by self described “trout bums” who fail to disclose their own financial interests in Brown Trout guiding?

Forgive me for my suspicions that there are some who would want to turn Southern Ontario’s best smallmouth bass and/or brook trout streams into their own financially positive but non native brown trout water. That will possibly require annual stocking, forever.

If you’re interested, the discussion thread is here.

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