IMA Fieldwork Collage
Environmental Projects  





Project: Ryegrass Ranch Fisheries Report
Location: Daniel, WY
Date: 1999
The goal of this project was to summarize the present conditions of the Ryegrass fishery and to recommend a management strategy for a sustained, productive trout population.

The Ryegrass Ranch is a cooperatively owned fishing club located on 13 miles of North Cottonwood Creek southwest of Daniel, Wyoming. Intermountain Aquatics was contracted by the Ryegrass Ranch Homeowner's Association to conduct a comprehensive baseline inventory and recommend future management strategies for a sustained, productive fishery. The inventory included a literature review, stream habitat inventory, hydrologic analysis, water quality analysis, macro-invertebrate survey, population estimates, fishing log compilation and photographic documentation. The Ryegrass section of N. Cottonwood Creek had the majority of components needed to support a productive fishery. It was characterized by a high pool-to-riffle ratio; abundant winter habitat; good water quality; stable, vegetated and undercut banks; and an abundant piscivorous food source, however it was lacking suitable spawning habitat. Consequently, the majority of fish found on the ranch were either stocked or migrants from other areas. In 1999, the Ryegrass fishery was not supporting a resident, wild trout population, however numbers were high due to an extensive stocking program conducted by the ranch developers. Intermountain Aquatics recommended that the addition of spawning habitat would greatly enhance the potential to support a wild, productive fishery. Without spawning habitat, the fishery would continue to be dependent on stocked or migrant fish. Relying on stocked fish would limit the establishment of a wild trout population and place the ranch in a helpless situation if stocking permits were not granted in the future. Intermountain Aquatics concluded that with the creation and enhancement of spawning habitat and a tailored stocking program, the Ryegrass section of N. Cottonwood Creek would support a productive wild trout fishery that was satisfactory to its members.