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drew03cmc

White Paper long term effects?

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Guys, I've been thinking about the 2009 MDC Smallmouth White Paper. I was curious of 2 things, first, does anyone have a copy? I can't find it online anymore and second, what have the long term effects been as a result of the decisions made? I know that I've personally hit a few streams in the past few months that were deemed too damaged, too far gone or had a species of conservation concern in them. In each of these, I've found good numbers, decent size in a few, great habitat and easy access for the most part. 

I'm wondering on the streams that are near you guys that were included in the SMA program, have there been positive changes in the numbers, size, access or habitat? 

In my limited experiences in the past few years, I've noticed that, not only has my catch rate gone up in recent years, especially when wading, but I've caught more on the baits I've heard about, not always relying on soft craws or small jigs. Again, I want to start a discussion on this after reading the White Paper thread again Monday on the way back from Mack's Creek. 

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1 hour ago, drew03cmc said:

In my limited experiences in the past few years, I've noticed that, not only has my catch rate gone up in recent years, especially when wading

Do you mean just in the Special Management  Areas or in general?  

I'm catching more smallmouth and fewer largemouth in the non- special creek I fish most. I don't really know why but I haven't put the blame on MDC, yet. Do fish have population cycles like wild animals?

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19 minutes ago, tjm said:

I'm catching more smallmouth and fewer largemouth in the non- special creek I fish most. I don't really know why but I haven't put the blame on MDC, yet. Do fish have population cycles like wild animals?

Yes fish can have population cycles, though not as dramatic as the lynx/hare cycles taught in ecology classes. I know that one of the creeks that I enjoyed fishing in MO, we would preferentially harvest largemouth bass and released smallmouths. That creek did have a shift in the populations towards more smallmouth bass. Also during that same time period, the habitat changed in a lot of areas with what seems like a reduction in the number of slower water deeper pools. It's possible that the largemouth bass moved further downstream where more of that type of habitat remains and that the selective harvest had no effect on the bass populations.

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25 minutes ago, tjm said:

Do you mean just in the Special Management  Areas or in general?  

I'm catching more smallmouth and fewer largemouth in the non- special creek I fish most. I don't really know why but I haven't put the blame on MDC, yet. Do fish have population cycles like wild animals?

I haven't fished an SMA in years. When wading, give me the smaller creeks and I'm happy. I believe my catch rate has improved due to education and skill improvements, but I cannot prove this. 

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The only difference on the stretch that I am familiar with is that is has more floaters in general. I haven't fished it as hard as in years past but from reports I have seen or heard it's still doing about the same as it was. It's also been a SMA for as long as I can remember.

But thanks for bringing it up because it has inspired me to go take a closer look. 

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The stream I fish the most has a smallmouth management in place and it seems to be working really well. My catch rate of 15" plus smallies has gone up in the last few years. Doesn't seem to matter if there are people floating it or not.

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@drew03cmc, The reason I asked is that I can see no connection between MDC management of special areas and the catch or lack of it in non-management areas like my creek or the ones you fish. Like Johnsfolly said, my stream has changed over time fewer deep slow holes and generally clearer water. Many closed accesses mean much less angling by others. I also think my strategies have changed over time as well, and that I use flies that are smallmouth oriented and fish more in stream areas likely to hold smallmouth. I also catch fewer brim than in the past.

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1 hour ago, tjm said:

@drew03cmc, The reason I asked is that I can see no connection between MDC management of special areas and the catch or lack of it in non-management areas like my creek or the ones you fish. Like Johnsfolly said, my stream has changed over time fewer deep slow holes and generally clearer water. Many closed accesses mean much less angling by others. I also think my strategies have changed over time as well, and that I use flies that are smallmouth oriented and fish more in stream areas likely to hold smallmouth. I also catch fewer brim than in the past.

Did you read the document when it was first released? I am asking because, in my experience, outside of SMAs, numbers are still good, even on some of these streams they excluded for various reasons. In fact, a few of those, the fishing has improved a bit. These stretches were excluded because of a species of conservation concern, lack of access, lack of regulatory support or whatever they decided. 

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No, didn't read the paper, was  unaware of it or the thread you refer to.  I was not even aware that bass had any concerns until they changed the Elk river rules, but I'll bet a nickle that the management or special management has zero effect.  I'm a great supporter of our MDC and it beats the dickens out of legislative fish and game management that other states have, but, all fish and game studies are self justifying and self proven.  The protocols are written to only examine things which are already known and to ignore 99% of all things that might not match the desired output and the samples used are minuscule and only have significance in statistics. .  Over any lengthy time span and in an uncontrolled situation (think natural atmosphere and environment) it is impossible that enough accurate information can be gathered to prove either myself or the writer of whatever study right or wrong.   There are  simply too many variables, any conclusion is but a guess. OTOH, those guys need the work and I'm fishing  less as I get old.  

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I'll even take a crack at why we have BBSMAs and why they are where they are; years and years  of black bass anglers (smb anglers specifically)  complaining to MDC about fish eaters, and how they were keeping the real anglers from catching trophies, caused public surveys to be started and as a result MDC discovered there were not as many fish eaters responding as there were Trophy Hunters, so, in an effort to appease the majority of their clientele they hit upon SMAs and they located them on portions of streams that had the biggest response to the surveys.  Those portions were probably chosen in part for ease of enforcement and in part for visibility of "management". (if they'd intensively manage a area with no access, no one would know about it and complaints would continue) 

Years ago they banned woods fires and had Smokey Bear give shows in schools and now they have learned that fire is essential to the Ozark habitat and would like to burn more areas for restoration, but they are encountering resistance to that from all those people whom they had previously programmed to oppose burning.  Some day they will admit that streams can not be managed, the best policy is let nature (or God ) take its course and for us to make adjustments accordingly. The only stream management we can really impact positively is waste water and runoff pollution.  That is DNR responsibility and MDC can't control that either. 

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