A shift away from stocking trout

It seems that the DFG is going to continue to cut back on stocking trout in the Sierras (here’s the link). On top of this, trout are actually being removed from lakes to protect the threatened populations of yellow legged frogs.
I have fond memories of going fishing with our family, and coming home with a stringer full of trout. We caught so many rainbow trout that we frequently tossed them back. I remember being amazed that a farmed rainbow trout could be caught by using bubble gum as bait.
The new approach to balancing a healthy eco-system vs. the interests of anglers is a good change of policy, but I am glad that I was able to catch as many fish as I was able to (made up mostly of stocked trout). I look back at old pictures and just stare sometimes. How many jars of Potski’s, garlic marshmallows, chartreuse Powerbait and containers of earthworms and nightcrawlers did we go through?
As I am writing this, I remember that I don’t like the taste of trout and how laborious it is to pick out all of the bones, and the other issues that the catching of fish entails. For one, fishing was a good way of exploring the ethical implications and responsibilities inherent in taking an animal’s life for sport. What ever we caught, we had to clean and eat- that was the rule.
Cleaning a still gasping trout was traumatic the first couple of times I did it. I learned to respect the fish that I caught, and only keep what I intended to eat from that point on. On that note, I think the last time that I ate a rainbow trout that I caught was when I was over 10 years ago. Like I said, it doesn’t taste very good (unless it comes from cold water, or if it is coated in bread crumbs and fried in lemon butter if I remember correctly).

One thought on “A shift away from stocking trout”

  1. I agree…even the lovely, pink-fleshed brookies we catch up in the high sierras (Mammoth, Lee Vining, Ellery Lake, etc.) are not really as yummy as other fresh-water fish. But almost anything sauteed in garlic and butter, scampi style, is deelish! In Montana, some nice people offered to take me fly fishing for trout and added that they like to slice it up lakeside as fresh sashimi! Oh yeah. Sashimi trout with some cold beer. Try that, mountain man!

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