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 Author: bobstockdale
PostPosted: Sat Jun 09, 2018 4:51 am 
The Gila Trout is native to the Gila, but due to logging, thinning, increased fire, and climate change, it's no longer suited to its environment, and cannot compete with Rainbows, Browns, and Brookies. Environmental changes have pushed the Gila Trout back to the coldest, most shaded headwaters above the barrier falls.

New Mexico Fish and Game has built a small industry around killing everything else in a vain, misguided attempt to reintroduce the Gila Trout. They're not just killing the trout; they're killing much of the aquatic ecosystem. For several reasons, the hatchery trout that they reintroduce don't do well. They never seem to get all Rainbows out, so the reintroduced Gila Trout and the Rainbows quickly hybridize, so Fish and Game quickly poisons them again. The hatchery trout aren't conditioned to hide from the floodwaters, and tend to get washed downstream. When they put in an artificial barrier, the Gila Trout that wash downstream in the floods end up beating their heads against the wall trying to get back upstream. Consequently, there's no trout in many of the streams in the Gila.

The increasing pace of warming in the Gila is rapidly decreasing habitat suited to the Gila Trout. Their loss of habitat is a done deal, and it won't be back anytime soon [as in centuries]. Until their habitat is restored, reintroducing the Gila Trout is a lost cause. Fighting change can be a very counterproductive thing to do. After 20 years of failure, you'd think Fish and Game would figure it out. Funny how a paycheck alters one's perception of reality. All their wasted time and effort just contributes a bit more to the degradation of the global environment that is most of the reason the Gila Trout ain't making it. Amongst those of us who trout fish in the Gila, I've yet to meet anyone who wasn't disgusted with the program. I'd rather catch a Brown. I'd actually rather catch a Brookie, but Fish and Game poisoned the last of them out of Whitewater Creek, and now they don't live in the Gila.

Last year I sat on a jury. Fish and Game had showed up at someone's home with a massive military style show of force; machine guns in people's faces and the like. They were looking for someone who had allegedly poached a deer. Oops, wrong address. They knew him, but he didn't live there. While they were there searching the place, Fish and Game noticed a pile of antlers and busted the guy for poaching, without a shred of evidence, justifying their actions by citing a law that said that [except for sheds] it's illegal to possess antlers that don't have a tag on them. It was a two day trial, with the entire front of the courtroom filled with a dozen racks of deer antlers. It turned out that, except for a rack and a half of unknown origin that someone had given him, they were all actually legally hunted. Deer hunting was a family tradition and they played by the rules. Some of them were his children's first kill. If the guy hadn't bragged about how well he knew the rule book, he would have gotten off completely, but we called him on the antlers that someone had given him. I wouldn't have, but it wasn't worth wasting any more time. Let's just get this fiasco over with. Across the courtroom, the Fish and Game guy was sitting, facing the jury. The look on his face would have frozen a forest fire. It was obvious to me that the wrong person was on trial. About half a year later I met the person with the antlers. He didn't particularly mind paying the fine, but when they tried to take his hunting license, he went ballistic and countersued for harassment. It turned out that Fish and Game's perception of the law on antler tags was quite vague in both its time limit and procedure. He was expecting to make a quarter million.

New Mexico Fish and Game needs a massive overhaul.

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