The Nets Do the Talking on Canyon Ferry (by Downrigger Dale)
By angelamontana

Posted: April 21, 2016
By Downrigger Dale: Tuesday April 21st, 2016 at Canyon Ferry Reservoir
thecrewThis week the Captain and I met up with FWP Fisheries Technicians Adam Strainer (see the group picture, he is on the right), Chris Hurley (in the middle) and Casey Jenson (on the left) at Canyon Ferry. They were kind enough to let us tag along while they checked their fish traps. These two traps can deliver some valuable information about the annual Walleye spawn on Canyon Ferry. There were two fish traps on the reservoir. One on the East Shore between Pond 1 and Duck Creek next to Plow Point and the other one was located on the West Shore about a mile south of the Broadwater Boat Ramp. These traps were placed on the reservoir on April 4th and will be removed May 10th. These are live traps that are checked every 48 hours and all fish are released after study.

These two traps can tell some very interesting stories not only about what the Walleyes are up to, but also about what else lurks about in the waters of Canyon Ferry Reservoir. As our gracious hosts pulled up the nets in the first trap we stopped at, which was the one located on the east shore we saw a rare site. It was a large Burbot, or Ling as many folks call it (see the fish in the top right corner of the picture below). fishingnets Adam also pulled out a small Stone Catfish and held it in the palm of his hand ( see picture) something I had never seen and had no idea existed in Canyon Ferry. There were of course a few male Walleyes in that net which Adam and the boys tagged before they released. Adam said the number of Walleyes caught in the nets this year are lower than usual. Adam explained that was not due to a reduced number of spawning Walleye but rather that the unusual warm temperatures in February which, in his opinion, got the fishes biological clocks to start ticking sooner than normal. Thus the Walleye spawn started before it was possible for the FWP to be able to place the fish traps out in water.
We then traveled to the trap located on the west shore. There Adam explained that they have usually found more Walleye and more females in that trap. It did not take the Captain and I long to put two and two together and realized that this could mean the west shore could be the better place to fish right now if you are wanting to increase your odds of catching the tasty Walleye.
Also found in the nets were several nice sized Rainbow Trout, Carp, Suckers, Perch and to our surprise a Blue Gill, another fish I had no idea existed in Canyon Ferry.
For more information on the 2016 Canyon Ferry Reservoir walleye spawning survey, click here.
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