Incentivized Harvest AFC presentation

Published by John Doss on

National Park Service (NPS) Incentivized Harvest Program at Lees Ferry

 The NPS has determined that the number of brown trout need to be reduced to a level that will minimize the likelihood of brown trout traveling downriver and pose a potential threat to the endangered and protected Humpback Chub population in the Little Colorado River and the confluence within Grand Canyon National Park. Larger brown trout are known to eat other fish at a rate 17x greater than rainbow trout.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area remains responsible for providing a quality rainbow trout fishery in the Lees Ferry area since the completion of the Glen Canyon Dam and the establishment of that cold water habitat. 

The NPS, however, is also charged with protecting native species and minimizing the impact of introduced and invasive species. The original plan proposed by NPS was to mechanically disrupt brown trout spawning redds in the river, and then conduct an extensive (6-8 weeks, nightly) electroshocking effort for the entire Reach from the dam down to Lees Ferry. 

To avoid these much more aggressive tiers that could be damaging to the rainbow trout fishery, anglers and the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) were influential in having NPS add an Incentive Harvest (IH) tier in advance of these measures to allow anglers to catch and keep brown trout.

This tier needs and deserves fly fishers’ support. 

Even though we generally release our catch; by harvesting brown trout through this IH program (and earning money for each brown trout turned in) we hope to avoid these more aggressive management tiers. 

Learn more about the Incentivized Harvest plan and how it will benefit the Lees Ferry fishery by reducing the need for more aggressive actions.  

Jeff Arnold, Fisheries Biologist at Glen Canyon National Recreation Area will present information on the program. Scott Rogers, AZGFD Aquatics Wildlife Program Manager- Region II, which includes Lees Ferry, and Jim Strogen, Glen Canyon Technical Work Group Recreational Fishing Representative will also be on hand to provide perspective on the value of the Incentivized Harvest program to protect the Lees Ferry fishery.