Back Country Horsemen of America; Stocking Fish

So That Is How Those Fish Get There!

By Tom Nix

We tied eleven jugs onto to our pack stock, containing 3,020 Cutthroat Trout, and traversed 28 miles to release the trout in Fryingpan Lake

Over the course of September 14 through the 18 we made a fish stocking trip north of White Pass. On the 14th Del Sage and I hauled six riding and pack animals from greater downtown Sequim to the White Pass stock camp on Hwy 12. We camped at the stock camp that evening. We arose early, had breakfast and got the stock all saddled and waited for my son, Jeff Mix, to arrive from the Tokul Creek fish hatchery.

He arrived about 9 a.m. with eleven jugs containing a total of 3,020 cutthroat trout. They ran about 346 to the pound. We made up the pack stock loads and tied them on and off we went. We traveled north on the PCT 2000 line and made our first stop at Dumbbell Lake. Next was Snow, then Bill and finally Fryingpan Lake. When we arrived at the lake, we unloaded the jugs of fish for that lake. We placed the jugs in the lake to acclimate the fish to the lake’s temperature. The fish out of the stock pack were about 42 degrees and the lakes were about 53 degrees.

On our way to the release location, we crossed the Goodwin Meadows Bridge we helped build about 4 years ago

After being acclimated to the lake we emptied the fish into the water and watched as they became accustomed to their new home. We experienced no mortality during the stocking process.

That afternoon we made camp at the Goodwin Meadows Bridge that we helped build about 4 years ago. We had two camps of archery hunters nearby. All of the stock were in high heaven as they had about a 100 acre meadow to feed in. We heard elk bugling all night long.

We released a total of 3,020 Cutthroat Trout into Fryingpan Lake in the heart of the William O Douglas Wilderness, lying to the east of Mount Rainier National Park, Washington

That evening and all the next day it rained some, and then a lot. We moved camp to Long John Lake accomplishing some trail maintenance and corridor trimming along the way.

The fishing at Long John was great and produced a nice 18 inch Cutthroat trout for dinner. Monday we were greeted with clear skies and great fall weather. We broke camp and headed back to the trailhead. When the skies were clear, we had some noise pollution from fast/low flying military attack jets as they flew about 500 feet off the ground, turned around Tumac Mountain and swooped down through the Bumping River valley.

Over the course of the outing we met about 30 PCT through hikers, about the same number of archery hunters, rode past 8 archery camps, and contended with about 12 ground bee nests which made our stock swish their tails a lot. The entire journey of over 28 miles and 9 different trails we traveled were in great to fair shape with the PCT being the best maintained.

Once we stepped off the PCT we had the whole area to ourselves. The fall colors were in their best form. The meadows were golden; the huckleberry bushes were bright red, green and maroon. We saw Elk tracks, heard and saw them all over the place. We make this trip every 2 years. So, get your rides ready for 2020.

And folks think all we do in BCHA is trail riding and trail maintenance.
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