CONSERVATION CORNER BY:
By: Miguel Ferrera
BROWNS LAKE PROJECT
Browns Lake is a beautiful 87 acre Westslope Cutthroat trout mountain lake at an elevation of 3450′ in Pend Oreille County. Several of our Conservation Committee members will be making trips to Browns Lake to begin our long term project of assessing the fishery and needed site improvements. Tentative dates for this month are May 5th, May 11th and May 18th.
The Spokane Fly Fishing Club has a long history of involvement at Browns Lake. A few years ago, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife didn’t have enough Kings Lake cutthroat trout and they stocked it with rainbows. Since then via spawning we have a mix of cutthroat, rainbows, and cutbows. WDFW would like to return it to a cutthroat trout fishery someday.
Our project is to assist WDFW in determining the numbers, size, and types of trout in the lake. We will count spawning fish, number of Reds, status of creek spawning area, assessment of trail system condition, educational signage, and viewing platform.
If anyone is planning to fish Browns Lake this year (or knows someone who will be) we would really appreciate the fish catch information. I can provide a WDFW angler diary, or the information can be emailed or called in to me. We need: Date, Name, Water, County, Species (WCT, RB, Cutbow), Length to nearest 1/4″, Released or Kept, Hours Fished, and Total Catch. At the end of the season, all of this information will be given to Bill Baker WDFW District 1 Fish Biologist in Colville Wa.
Assistance with this is greatly appreciated! If you can help, contact Miguel Ferrera at email@example.com, 509-263-2534. Thank you.
TROUT IN THE CLASSROOM – MAY 27TH
Spokane Fly Fishers and Trout Unlimited will have volunteers at Liberty Lake to introduce elementary students (150 5th grade kids) to fly casting. This program is sponsored by Trout Unlimited. It starts with volunteers delivering trout eggs from the hatchery to schools. Fish eggs hatch and are raised in temperature controlled tanks in the classrooms and in Spring the kids get to release the fish into a lake. After the release, the students have an outdoor education day. SFF participates in the fun part of the day, fly casting.
We don’t have enough volunteers to participate in more than one or two of these events, and we need early notice from the schools that want us to assist. If we plan ahead, we should be able to assist 2 schools with the casting part of this program each year.
A big thank you to the volunteers involved this year.
AMBER LAKE WATER ACCESS IMPROVEMENT
On Feb 24th and 26th, SFFC worked with IEFFC and WDFW on improving the water access at Amber lake. Years of use and erosion had taken its toll. We shoveled, wheelbarrowed, and raked 16 cubic yards of crushed rock, went over it with a gas powered compactor, pried and moved large boulders out of the way to clear an area for boat trailers to launch on the left side of the unsafe concrete ramp. Large rocks were delivered and placed about 6′ apart to the right of concrete ramp to keep boat trailers out. That area is for launching inflatables and the old concrete ramp can be used as a staging area.
This was a good cooperative effort from SFFC, IEFFC, and WDFW.
A big thank you to everyone involved on this project.
Spokane Fly Fishers initiates, participates in, contributes funds and supports several Conservation and/or Educational projects or events yearly:
In February, 2016, we worked with IEFFC and WDFW, providing labor and some funds to make a big improvement at Amber Lake water access.
In April, 2016, we will be doing a site assessment of Browns Lake and beginning a long term project for us there.
In May 2016, we participate in a couple of events that involve a lot of kids.
1 – Kid’s Fishing Day, a one day event that other clubs also help with which is sponsored by WDFW.
2 – The outdoor part of “Fish in the Classroom” – a two day event, where we work with students showing them the joy of casting.
Later in the year, we assist the fishery with fin clipping.
More details on all of these events will be announced; however, some of them occur with very short notice. To insure that your volunteer opportunity is not overlooked, there will be sign-up sheets at the April meeting and you will be called when you are needed.
And so it goes. Along the way we enjoy camaraderie, fly fishing, and a sense of accomplishment.
BROWNS LAKE SUMMARY/CONSERVATION PROJECT
By: Miguel Ferrera
Results of meeting with Karen Honeycutt (US Forest Service) and Bill Baker, Washington State Department Fish & Wildlife (WSDFW) on February 2, 2016.
Today Browns Lake is a closed system (small drainage which feeds a lake with no stream coming out of the lake). The water goes underground and resurfaces as Cee Cee Ah Creek. It is a cutthroat trout fishery. In the late 1970’s SFF conservation effort did stream improvements for spawning, created areas for reds (spawning beds), developed trails, and constructed educational signage and viewing platforms. Spawning beds had some success; WSDFW continued to stock the lake with Kings Lake cutthroats. A number of years ago WSDFW didn’t have enough Kings Lake cutthroat and planted rainbow trout. Via spawning there are now some cutbows (cross between cutthroats & rainbows). WSDFW would someday like to return it to a Kings Lake cutthroat fishery but do not have funds to do so in the foreseeable future. WSDFW has accomplished some research on zooplankton (food) in the lake. The lake does not have a high level of food source.
An assessment of current fishery status and a count of spawning fish are needed (volunteers needed from SFF): number of reds, number of fish spawning (spawn occurs sometime from end of April but usually peaks mid-May), and status of creek spawning areas. Creel counts are needed: size of fish, type of fish (cutthroat or cutbow), and number caught. Assessments of the condition of the trail system and educational signage and viewing platform are needed as well.
The Forest Service encouraged SFF to apply for grants available from USFS (projects under $10,000). They have grant money (50/50 match) for projects making improvements to USFS
JOIN THE CONSERVATION COMMITTEE
April 20th Conservation Meeting at 5:30 PM prior to the Board Meeting.